Touring in support of their new album, Sounds From The Other Side, Tumbleweed hit the Rosemount Hotel this Thursday, November 21, and Mojos on Friday, November 22. PATRICK EMERY checks in with vocalist, Richie Lewis.

A few years ago the members of Tumbleweed were sitting backstage after playing a corporate event.  Despite still being flushed with the success of their reformation, the band found itself at a crossroads.  

“After we’d got back together we were basically playing nostalgia sets, with the material up to Galactaphonic,” says Tumbleweed singer, Richie Lewis.  “We were sitting backstage after playing one of the Coopers After Dark series, and we thought, ‘what are we doing?’  This wasn’t really what we were about.  So decided that we’d get back into the studio and write some new songs.”

Despite Tumbleweed’s original success Lewis felt there was still a “sense of unfinished business” that the original Tumbleweed line-up needed to attend to.  “I thought we’d always missed the mark a bit in the past,” Lewis says.  “We were still writing songs when the band broke up, and we felt that the chemistry was still there between us.”

The ‘classic’ Tumbleweed line-up – Lewis, guitarists Lenny Curley and Paul Hausmeister, bass player Jay Curley and drummer Steve O’Brien – had reformed in July, 2009, for the Homebake festival.  The success of that initial reformation – which had followed a number of years of estrangement – had led to a series of national tours and a re-kindling of the band’s creative and fraternal spirit.  That spirit had buckled over 10 years previous, when – faced with frustrating commercial imperatives and an overbearing industry – Tumbleweed had gradually shed members and lost sight of its original artistic focus.

Regaining that focus was critical to the recording sessions that led to the making of Tumbleweed’s new album, Sounds From The Other Side.

“For us making the album was about fulfilling a creative need,” Lewis says.  “I think after Galactaphonic, and the break-up of the original line-up, Tumbleweed had gone off on a particular direction that had strayed from where we’d been going originally.  So for this album, we wanted to go back to that original path,” he says.

Older and wiser about the recording process, Tumbleweed could – literally and creatively – afford to define their own artistic vision. “These days we take a much more active role in the studio,” Lewis says.  “Early on in our career we had these big US producers, but now we’ve got more experience.  That said, you’re always learning something about the studio, and each studio is different.  Getting back into the analogue studio was great – you get that warm, analogue sound.”

For Tumbleweed, playing music has once again become a subject of passion and pleasure, rather than expectation.

“Now it’s an escape – we all have jobs, families, and lives outside of music,” Lewis says.  “We do Tumbleweed for enjoyment, and we enjoy every time we play because it’s an escape.  Because we’ve been around the block we’ve realised that the differences between us aren’t actually divisive, but the things that keep us together.”