Tumbling Bones
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Tumbling Bones

Portland, Maine, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Portland, Maine, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Americana




"Folkadelphia Session: Tumbling Bones"

Good things take time and effort to become good, however vague a quality that is; think about aging wine or steeping tea, or for non-drink related activities, art. Yes, let’s think about art. Most people are not born prodigious and even more have to labor, sweat tears and cry blood in the process, to reach adept musicianship and a unique “voice.” Most don’t even get there. This formula is further complicated in music group situations because you need something called chemistry. A question of synergy, of “is the whole greater than its parts.” So there are elements of intention and of chance when forming a band. Boy, did we luck out with Portland, ME and Philadelphia, PA based Tumbling Bones. Self-described as four young men playing old time inspired music, Tumbling Bones gives us everything – musicality, imagination, virtuosity, and that incalculable component that pushes their performances to new heights. Tumbling Bones certainly worked hard to release their very first full-length album Loving A Fool. For one thing, founding members Pete Winne and Jake Hoffman have been playing together and touring the world in some form or another as Tumbling Bones for a decade, but it seems as if the addition of Kyle Morgan impelled the band to lay down their songs in the studio. As we well know, intent and chemistry and all other aspects can come to a full stop without capital. Money is for spending and the band continued to work hard, launching a successful Kickstarter campaign. The final result is the aforementioned long player, a testament to the group’s dedication, devotion, and powerhouse performances. What we get is a blend of original compositions and uniquely dynamic takes on traditional tunes. I’m glad Tumbling Bones took their time and lined up all of the pieces before recording a proper album because Loving A Fool is a seriously good debut that will stand up over the years.

We attempted to capture the energy, chemistry, and skillful playing of the band back in March before their show at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. The band returns to that very venue this Friday, June 20th. - WXPN - The Key

""Trouble Around My Soul" - Tumbling Bones"

Because spirituals just sound right on a Sunday. And because I haven’t been able to stop listening to this particular one, Tumbling Bones’ interpretation of ‘Trouble Around My Soul,’ since Sam at Folk Hive introduced me/us all to it a week ago on her latest mix. Enjoy. - Songs for the Day

"Tumbling Bones in Europe"

Tumbling Bones from Portland, Maine, USA, consists of Jake Hoffman, Peter Winne, and Kyle Morgan, who use guitar, upright bass, round-neck resophonic slide guitar, clawhammer banjo, mouth harp, intense trio harmonies and skilled buckdancing to deliver old-time music, blues, early bluegrass, country music of the '40s and '50s, and original compositions with vitality, depth, and passion.

Tumbling Bones made an acclaimed appearance on NPR’s 'A Prairie Home Companion' with Garrison Keillor, and have played innumerable live shows in the USA and abroad. Their debut EP Risk not your soul (2011) reached the top ten on the Roots Music Report's folk radio chart, and their first full-length album is in preparation.

Having toured Britain and Ireland in 2012 and 2013, they are preparing a return trip in the spring of 2014 which will include the Ulster American Folk Park in Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland (which has hosted the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival every September since 1992). Moving to continental Europe, they will join the lineup at the 12th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival (2-3 May 2014) in Bühl, Germany, along with Della Mae (USA) and other acts.
- European Bluegrass Blog

"Schemes From Tumbling Bones"

Pete Winne’s will be a familiar name to folks in bluegrass radio. He worked that circuit for Rebel Records for a time, but is now focused on a rootsy Americana group, Tumbling Bones, with whom he performs.

They have a new 7-song EP, called Schemes. Pete sent along a track which he hopes some of his bluegrass friends will enjoy. It shows that what he did at Rebel clearly stuck. - Bluegrass Today

"Tumbling Bones rolls the dice with old-time country, blues"

New bands have many difficult decisions to make, including what to call it. Instead of wasting time on discussion, one New England-based band actually did, coming up with a slang term that perhaps defines a group that gambles with many musical styles.

On April 27, the Center for the Well Being will host Portland, Maine, folk music trio Tumbling Bones for the next Acoustic Brew concert.

Tumbling Bones fuses old-time country with old-fashioned blues, a sound in contrast to the youthfulness of the the three men — Pete Winne on guitar, harmonica and vocals; Jake Hoffman on banjo, upright bass and vocals; and Sam McDougle on fiddle and drums.

Originally from Bethlehem, Hoffman grew up on a heavy dose of rock ’n’ roll and jazz.

“I became interested in music through my parents,” he said. “My mom is a ballet teacher and my father was a radio nut and Deadhead, so there was always music in their house.” By high school, Hoffman was falling for jug bands, mountain ballads, Delta blues, classic country and bluegrass.

Although their music is mainly rooted in traditional folk, the musicians mix in the contemporary rock ’n’ roll they were raised on into their original arrangements. While the three musicians were normally used to playing on street corners in Europe, now they are getting more exposure performing in venues across the United States, including a performance on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor.

In 2011, the band released its debut album, “Risk Not Your Soul,” which reached the top 10 on the Roots Music Report’s folk radio chart. After releasing a second record, “Schemes,” in May, the trio embarked on a summer and fall tour of the Mid-West, East Coast and Ireland. Now the band has taken to the road again with their spring tour, with newest band member Kyle Morgan.

With McDougle recently accepted in a doctorate program in neuroscience at Princeton University, Hoffman and Winne looked for his replacement and found the perfect fit for their band in Morgan.

“We also brought on a fantastic bass player, Steve Roy of New Hampshire, to add that bigger sound which we have since incorporated into our sets with me and Kyle trading off on bass,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he credits the making of the first record to the formation of the band.

“If ‘Risk Not Your Soul’ never would have happened, then there’d be no Tumbling Bones,” he said. “We got together and threw songs at each other to see what we wanted to play. And because our chemistry and final product were so good, we decided to give it a shot and pursue Tumbling Bones.”

For the band’s newest release, the recording process was much more of a planned project, as compared to the experimentation of the first album.

“ ‘Schemes’ had a lot more pre-meditated construction,” Hoffman said. “It’s got what were our newest original tunes and some of our favorite songs we had been playing for the past year.”

Vocally, the band is heavily influenced by classic R&B and rock and roll, though Hoffman said they usually stay the path of bluegrass, folk, and gospel in their harmonies.

“We bring a little something more modern to our vocal arrangements that we love to throw on top of our old instrumental sound,” he said. “But we also do a fair amount of gospel. The spirituality and weight of a gospel song can speak to the soul whether or not you’re a devout Christian.”

Hoffman said he hopes to inspire people to pick up the traditional music his band plays because it is timeless music that speaks to many eras.

“I feel strongly that we need to keep traditional American music alive,” he said. “One of my favorite things about our audiences is that they’re often heavily multi-generational. We find our music reaches the hearts of all kinds of people whether they recognize our sound or not. I believe that music is a reflection of the time and place in which it is created and at the same time informs the communities that hear it.”

Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2013/04/26/3594683/young-folk-trio-rolls-the-dice.html#storylink=cpy - Centre Daily Times

"Tumbling Bones: New Single, New Visit"

Thanks to Pete from the New York string band Tumbling Bones (USA), who toured here this past summer, for the news that the band have just released a new single which can be heard and downloaded for free here. It's called 'Golden gates of Heaven', and is written by a fellow young Brooklyn folksong writer, Feral Foster.

Tumbling Bones can also be seen on YouTube, and are hoping to make it back to Ireland in late spring/early summer 2013. - Bluegrass Ireland Blog

"Schemes For Going Back In Time"

n this ongoing and new roots revival, there is a fine line to walk, one tip-toed expertly by Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor at the State Theatre a couple weeks back to a sweltering mass of a sold-out crowd. He was an old-time carnival showman, drawing roars with shouted-out references to Monhegan and Camden and Naples and Bangor and just about every town in between as he exhorted the crowd to manically sweat along with him.

I saw him on the corner before the show, with his infant baby on his chest, reminding me of a time when he played for bills on the street in the Old Port (and telling me to review his new album . . .). He didn't search obscure town names on his phone before the gig — he knows the place.

Which is what you have to do with the music to do it right. It isn't enough to just learn the chords and sing the lyrics to songs that have been around for a hundred years (or songs you want to sound that way). You have to know where you are. If you're just recreating a time and place you've never been, you're nothing more than a hollowly crafted character in a cheap piece of genre fiction.

Which can be all right in its own right, actually. Likable kitsch. But that's another thing altogether.

Especially if you're going to do, as the four-piece, all-acoustic Tumbling Bones do on their second release, Schemes, a song like "O'Death," made awfully damn famous as an anguished keen by Ralph Stanley on the O Brother soundtrack. So Tumbling Bones sidestep. Their take is traditionally quick, strummed banjo, high-lonesome vocals, and recorded so it sounds like you just picked it up for 50 seconds on an old radio you were wondering if still worked, before the transistor faded out once and for all.

There's no half-assing, though, a fully a cappella take on the gospel "Trouble Around My Soul." Nor do they play it safe, really digging in on their vocals. It's not quite "Down to the River" as done on the Three Pickers album, but what else is? Just the earnest and unironic attempt is admirable, the room/mic treatment is very tasteful (Highwater Studios in Pleasant Valley, New York), and the bass harmony part is terrifically resonant.

It backs, too, a great original instrumental by fiddler Sam McDougle, in "Five Points." It's classic old-timey, with the fiddle repeating the melody over and over while the other instruments push in closer to the center. The melody's second half starts with a pair of bent-down and drawn-out notes that recall Bela Fleck's better bluegrass tunes, Peter Winne varies his strum on the guitar well, and they've presented it in the right-sized box: a 2:12 firecracker.

Winne's "Where the Palm Trees Grow" is well done, too. In this classic stringband waltz, Winne shows nice vocal clarity and tone in the lower register to open the tune and it avoids overly syrupy throwback by keeping the fiddle in check and not overdoing things with a pedal steel or slide resonator. - The Portland Phoenix

"Incoming... Tumbling Bones"

see URL - state.ie

"Meet Me At The Green Line: How A Cafe Became The Epicenter Of Top Notch Local Arts In West Philly"

“Wind-up-clock tight and a fresh burst of energy.” - Philadelphia Weekly

"Tumbling Bones Release New Single"

We got a note from Tumbling Bones’ guitar man Pete Winne asking us to share the news of the band’s new single and the fact that they’re offering it as a FREE DOWNLOAD to the public.

The song is called “Golden Gates of Heaven” and was written by New York City folk musician Feral Foster.

Clink the link below and get an immediate download of “Golden Gates of Heaven” in your choice of MP3-320, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.

Not your average everyday traditional bluegrass band, Tumbling Bones play a mix of old-time country and old-fashioned blues that belies their relative youth. But their folk music is no museum piece. It is living, breathing music infused with a little of the contemporary rock ‘n’ roll the band members were reared on and reworked into their original arrangements and compositions.

The last half decade has taken them from street-performing on European street corners to venues across the continental United States to an acclaimed performance on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.

The band’s debut EP Risk Not Your Soul (2011) reached the top ten on the Roots Music Report’s folk radio chart. They are currently coming off of a busy summer and fall that began with the release of their second record Schemes in May of 2012 and was followed by tours of the mid-west, east coast, and Ireland.

This September they headed up to Mike Merenda’s (The Mammals, Mike & Ruthy) cabin studio in upstate New York to record the single “Golden Gates of Heaven,” by fellow young New York City songwriter Feral Foster. This up tempo ballad is a poignant culmination of Tumbling Bones’ influences and direction. - Prescription Bluegrass Blog

"A New Spin On Some Old Songs"

Tag: tumbling bones band
January 19, 2012
A New Spin on Some Old Songs

While Brooklyn bluegrass/oldtimey band Tumbling Bones’ ep Risk Not Your Soul reached the top 10 on the Roots Music Report folk chart last year, what they do isn’t museum music. It’s fun oldtime string band stuff by three guys whose passion for it is obviously more than a passing fad. There’s a prejudice against people who might not have grown up playing this kind of music, or might not have grown up where this kind of music originated, and that’s absurd. The trio’s arrangements are original, the energy is unselfconsciously high, and if these guys (guitarists/banjoists Pete Winne and Jake Hoffman and fiddler Sam McDougle) are new to you, they make great party music: exactly what it was meant to be the first time around

The first track is a shambling version of the old spiritual Banks Of Jordan, with lots of percussion and boisterous harmonica – the band leaves no doubt that this was a back-to-Africa anthem in disguise. Their high-energy arrangement of East VA blues is just guitar, shuffling drums and vocal harmonies, while the two fiddle reels here, Sally Johnson (with some especially nice walking bass work on the guitar) and Salt River, trace a line straight back to Ireland. They also do a version of St. Louis Blues with some tasty guitar/banjo textures, and a take on Bill Monroe’s What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul that’s more laid-back slowdance tune than it is haunting.

Since that album came out, they’ve also put out “two singles for streaming” at their Bandcamp, both of which are excellent. Payday at Coal Creek, which they discovered via Pete Steele’s version on the Mountain Music in Kentucky anthology (these guys don’t hesitate to give credit to those who’ve inspired them) is particularly apropros in these depression days since “payday don’t come no more.” The b-side (if you could call it a b-side) is Stone Rag, a swaying fiddle instrumental with the same changes as Salty Dog.

Sam and Pete from Tumbling Bones host a free acoustic night of roots music at Larry Lawrence, 295 Grand St. in Williamsburg the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 10 PM. - New York Music Daily

"CD Review: Harris Face and Tumbling Bones Tell Some Stories"

The folk band Tumbling Bones released their "back to basics" album "Schemes" back in May. The album features seven songs from the 1920's, 30's & 40's in which the Tumbling Bones add their harmonies and make the songs their own.

Beginning with "Prison War Blues," you instantly notice that this band uses minimal instrumentation in order to focus on the vocals and lyrics to many of old-fashion classics. The Tumbling Bones make Peter Winne's "Where The Palm Trees Grow" sound like a campfire sing-along, while the a cappella "Trouble Around My Soul" sounds like a small male gospel choir as their voice mesh so well together. The band adds their Dylanesque touch to the traditional ballad "Moonshiner" before finishing with the acoustic blues of "Viola Lee Blues" which was made famous by the Grateful Dead.

The Tumbling Bones are currently on an extensive tour which brings them from the east coast of the U.S. over to Ireland and back again. Please visit tumblingbones.com for a complete list of dates and for more information on the new album. - JP's Music Blog

"Portland roots trio Tumbling Bones look to past to find current sound"

“Loving a Fool” is an upbeat, warm, well-produced, assured collection of 13 songs, that fits neatly into the current Americana revival. But where many of those revival bands with banjos and beards seek to smooth off those country-fried edges in favor of a more accessible pop sound, the Tumbling Bones fully embrace them. All three grew up on a steady diet of the Beatles, Springsteen and The Band, but further exploration found the roots of all that classic rock.

“We all realized that all our heroes were drawing on an immense history of American music for inspiration. I personally first got into traditional music through my father’s love of the Grateful Dead and all their country, jug-band, bluegrass, and old-time influences,” said Hoffman. “Once you find out who Bill Monroe, Gus Cannon, and Jimmie Rodgers are, you can’t go back.”

tumbling bones albumOne of the centerpieces of “Loving a Fool” is their rollicking, enjoyable take on the classic Louvin Brothers song, “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby,” full of high harmonies and zippy bluegrass fire. They take on Bill Monroe’s “Voice Heard On High,” retrofitted in the studio with a crackly old radio effect. In fact, only about half of the album in total is comprised of original Tumbling Bones songs, mostly written by Morgan; the rest are traditional songs and classics of country, bluegrass, gospel and folk.

“We did consider making an entirely original album, but we wanted to show that we love playing the old tunes too,” said Hoffman. “And because we put our own stamp on them, they fit really well with the original stuff. Our shows are just like the album, going back and forth between traditional and original material. At first we were afraid of confusing listeners, but in the end I think the record simply sounds like us and what we do best.”

The original songs that did make the album are terrific, like lead single “Money is for Spending,” anchored by a rockabilly beat and made heavenly by those full-throated three-part harmonies. All three bandmates play multiple instruments, and all three sing their hearts out.

That love of big harmonies comes from that early influence of The Band, as well as that later, more fundamental influence of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley.

“Nobody’s singing lightly — everyone’s going full force, not afraid to stand out, but also complimenting the other voices with his own,” said Hoffman. “We try to take that feeling and approach to our gospel songs as well as a lot of the other harmony singing we do.”

Hoffman, Morgan and Winne are spending the months of April and May touring Ireland, the United Kingdom and Germany; they return stateside in June for a series of shows up and down the East Coast, including a stop at the Mill Hill Inn in Bethel July 5, One Longfellow Square in Portland on July 26, and the World Acadian Congress in Van Buren on Aug. 9. “Loving a Fool” is available for streaming or for a $10 download at tumblingbones.bandcamp.com. - Bangor Daily News

"Tumbling Bones Carry Their Love of Bluegrass Far and Wide"

Tumbling Bones is a Portland-based bluegrass band and Saturday night will be their first show back in Maine since completing a tour in Ireland, England, Germany and the southern United States. They had best keep track of their passports; the band is heading for parts unknown in November.

Tumbling Bones draws inspiration from old bluegrass and pre-WWII folk songs. Their original tunes and take on traditional ones have rock ‘n’ roll coursing through them because that’s what the band was raised on.

Their new album is “Loving a Fool,” recorded at Great North Sound Society studios in Parsonsfield.

Pete Winne plays guitar, banjo and harmonica. Jake Hoffman is on banjo and upright bass and Kyle Morgan is on guitar and upright bass. All three share vocal duties, though Morgan handles lead on most tunes and writes most of the songs. The vocal harmonies on “Shady Green Pastures” made me want to get down on my knees, or climb to the top of a mountain, in a spiritual frenzy.

“Red Rose” gave me thoughts of doing a jig at the nearest cemetery. “She picked herself a red, red rose to lay on William’s grave, and then put on all her finest clothes and prayed ‘Lord make me brave.’ ” Turns out, the grave wasn’t that of her husband or son. Nope, my guess is that William was a secret love and this gal is secretly heartbroken. Things don’t end well in this tale, but what a terrific song that starts quietly and ends in a flurry.

“This Time Last Year,” is a lonesome little tale of a fella trying to convince himself he’s OK when he’s anything but. “I know it will come around, I’ll just try another town. I’ve come a long way since this time last year.” And hey, the song’s got a musical saw in it.

Old-time, country-tinged sad songs always pack more of a punch because they’re honest, stark and you can hear the pain in the vocals. Said another way, I love ‘em.

One more song I’ll rave about is “Just Because.” It is a foot-stomping, banjo strummin’, fiddle playin’ good time. No heartbreak in this one. The fella is sending his gal packing, and he’s psyched about it. “Well you made me spend all my money, then you laughed and called me old Santa Claus. Well I’m telling you honey, I’m leaving you because … just because.”

Getting back to Tumbling Bones being an international band of mystery, check this out: They’ve been selected for American Music Abroad, a U.S. State Department cultural ambassadorship that will send the band packing for an entire month.

Winne explained that it’s a competitive program, and interested bands had to submit resumes, proposed educational curricula for music students, music and video samples and answer several questions. Some 250 acts applied, and 50 were invited for an audition that included a performance of two original songs, a performance of their interpretation of a foreign folk song, a sample educational presentation for children and a Q&A session designed to assess the band’s ability to serve as cultural ambassadors.

“We selected a song from Kyrgyzstan and a short square dancing workshop,” said Winne. “In the end, we were one of 10 groups that were chosen.”

The band will be traveling for the month of November. “All we know is that it will be in some country that isn’t regularly exposed to American music,” said Winne. He speculated that it will likely be a region where the Peace Corps is represented, such as Central America, sub-Saharan Africa or central Asia.

The month-long residency will consist of performing, teaching music to local youth and collaborating with local musicians for combined performances.

Winne says the band is thrilled to have such a unique experience. “In the past we’ve traveled and played music in places like Ireland, England and Germany, but that’s the extent under normal circumstances where we can go with our music. A bluegrass band would never have this opportunity. We get to travel and see the world and do what we love.”

Winne said he’d let me know when the band gets assigned a location, so look for a follow-up as November draws closer. In the meantime, head to One Longfellow Square on Saturday night and catch Tumbling Bones live.

Tumbling Bones with Spuyten Duyvil. 8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $12; onelongfellowsquare.com - Maine Today

"Schemes From Tumbling Bones"

Pete Winne’s will be a familiar name to folks in bluegrass radio. He worked that circuit for Rebel Records for a time, but is now focused on a rootsy Americana group, Tumbling Bones, with whom he performs.

They have a new 7-song EP, called Schemes. Pete sent along a track which he hopes some of his bluegrass friends will enjoy. It shows that what he did at Rebel clearly stuck... - Bluegrass Today

"Quick Q and A With Tumbling Bones"

I was lucky enough to experience Tumbling Bones at last year’s NERFA (North East Regional Folk Alliance) conference. I came away a fan. It was next to impossible to not be caught up in the joyful music that they make. Listening to their music makes me want to jump up and dance and I really can’t dance. Take one listen to their debut album, Loving a Fool, and you’ll feel like you’re front and center at the Grand Ole Opry. Yes, they’re that good.

Tumbling Bones was one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Festival The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the highlights of the festival in Hillsdale, NY. The musicians are chosen by a three-member jury and are given the opportunity to perform two songs (not to exceed ten minutes). The audience votes for their favorites and three or four acts are asked to return to the main stage the following year. To say that Tumbling Bones was a hit at the festival is an understatement. They then went on to play the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival.

Get some of that old-time spirit by visiting the band’s website: http://www.tumblingbones.com

Here are some questions I posed to the band: (This is an expanded edition of a previous interview.)

Tumbling Bones field

Tumbling Bones. Tumbling Dice. Do I detect some Rolling Stones influence?

We’re definitely Stones fans, but the name comes from our practice of rolling dice on tour to decide matters like who sleeps on the bed vs. the floor, who has to get up at 7 a.m. to move the car, who gets the last chicken leg, and things like that.

Your bio states that you’re inspired by “old” music and that your music is heavily based on bluegrass and pre-World War II music. How did this kind of music take hold of your soul? Were you ostracized by your peers for not liking what was the popular music at the time?

We were all born in the ’80s, so we grew up with a good dose of rock ‘n’ roll, we all had high school rock bands, and we still listen to it a lot. Kyle (guitar, bass) still writes and plays really good rock ‘n’ roll songs. It wasn’t until our college years when we found that the influences of some of our favorite artists spoke to us in a very raw, honest way. And though we do have contemporary influences as well, it’s the basic forms of bluegrass songs, old-time ballads, blues and jug band shouts, and country songs that really make us tick. By the time we got into the “old” stuff, I think our friends actually thought it was pretty cool. We’ll keep letting them think that.

How long has the band been together?

The band has been together since early 2011, though Pete (guitar, harmonica, dancing) & Jake (banjo, bass) have played together on and off for 10 years. Kyle joined the band in early 2013, and with him he brought his incredible songwriting which really rejuvenated our sets and also his great voice which allows for lots of three-part harmonies, the centerpiece of our sound. We’ve been based in Portland, Maine since late 2012.

You’re known for your gospel-tinged a cappella songs. Singing together without the aid of instruments can be kind of scary. Did you figure out pretty quickly that your voices melded in such a way that you could pull off adding an a cappella element to your show or was it hit and miss for a while?

Pete and Jake had been singing together for a long time, and adding Kyle’s voice was a natural fit. We knew all along that vocals were Tumbling Bones’ strong suit, and we love the opportunity to challenge ourselves with a capella pieces. Where our vocal sound differs from other bands is that our voices are all very strong and distinct. We don’t try to sound like one unified voice, but for some reason we blend together really well, even while the listener can still identify whose voice is whose. Even if we’re singing a background part, it’s important to us that the character of the singer’s voice is still in an “oo” or “la-la-la.”

Tell us about the making of your debut album, Loving a Fool. What were the recording sessions like?

We recorded Loving a Fool at the Great North Sound Society in Maine, way out in Parsonsfield near the New Hampshire border. The live room is a new building, but the control room and the rest of the facilities are contained in an 18th century farmhouse. It was truly an inspiring place to be–beautiful, comfortable, quiet, no internet. The takes were great, mostly because we spent a long time having former musical partners critique our songs and arrangements before ever entering the studio. We knew what we wanted out of most every song we recorded, and we feel like we nailed it. Our engineer, Chris Connors, and our guest musicians, Timmy Findlen and Tyler Leinhardt, were all really fun to hang out with and are superb workers. We had also had lots of fun toys (pianos, organs, gongs) at our fingertips, though we wanted the album to sound as similar to our live show as possible. It’s by far the best recording we’ve ever made, and we’re truly proud of it.

What’s the story behind the traditional covers that you included on the album?

Because are live show is a mix of old songs and originals, we wanted the album to reflect our love of old and new. The traditionals we included on Loving a Fool are songs on which we feel like we put our own Tumbling Bones stamp. We wanted to show our passion for old music and how a simple song can stand the test of time while also displaying our distinct styles of instrumental and vocal arrangement. We didn’t dare take any traditionals and make them unrecognizable from their older forms, but instead added our own strengths to them and show that old songs can be just as powerful today.

We need to know about your experience on Prairie Home Companion. How did that come about?

Pete and Jake were in a 5-piece string band called The Powder Kegs from ’06-’08. Pete’s mom entered our CD into Prairie Home’s “People in their Twenties” talent contest, and we were chosen as finalists to play live on the show in St. Paul. Luckily our fiddler had just turned 20 by the time we flew to Minnesota. Each of the six finalists got to play some songs, and then the audience as well as any radio listeners voted by paper, phone, or on-line ballots, and by the end of the show the winner was announced. We ended up edging out the Sweetback Sisters for the title. We also got to be involved in the Guy Noir sketch and we got to sing a bunch of songs with Garrison at the after-party. It was an incredible experience to be behind-the-scenes at that show. Everyone was really professional while at the same time very relaxed and flexible. They do an amazing production.

Tumbling Bones photo Claire Houston

Also, you’ve been chosen to do some shows courtesy of the U.S. State Department. What’s all that about?

We haven’t yet gone on tour with American Music Abroad, a program run by the non-profit organization American Voices in conjunction with the US State Department. This fall we’ll be traveling to a developing part of the world to perform, teach, and collaborate with local musicians in four or five different countries. It was our third year applying, our second year as finalists, and to be chosen this year was really a dream-come-true. We can’t wait to find out where we’re going!

Pete, the fact that you do percussive dance as part of your show is a real crowd pleaser. Is this a skill you’ve had for a while or did you learn how to do it once you got into the music scene?

Definitely the latter. Attending old-time music festivals down south I picked it up at workshops and just by observing other dancers. I’ve been toying with dance for about 5 years, but I’ve only been performing it for a year and a half.

I noticed that you keep a grip type material on the underside of your wooden dance block. Have you ever had any close calls while dancing? I wouldn’t want to hear about you slipping off a stage or into the audience!

I actually usually only bring my portable dance platform to festivals since most of the ground at festivals is grass (and hence, not danceable). Most of the time I just leave myself at the mercy of whatever surface is available be it wood, stone, brick, hard plastic, or tile. The surfaces I dance on would probably make tap-dancing purists cringe.

Tell us about your experience at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. You were chosen as part of the Emerging Artists of 2014. Were your expectations met by this well-respected fest?

Everyone was super helpful and welcoming from our arrival to our departure. Being an Emerging Artist was great: we got to perform for hundreds of appreciative listeners.

You also made an appearance at the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival this summer. What was that event like?

Podunk was fun, especially since I personally grew up in central Connecticut. The prize we received for winning the competition was a new Telefunken microphone. Coincidentally, it turns out the representative from Telefunken at the festival – Alan Venitosh – is an old friend of mine from growing up. He actually recorded my high school band in his studio 12 years ago! So it was pretty cool to be handed the prize from an old friend and collaborator.

What’s the most fun about touring? And what’s your least favorite aspect of touring?

Most fun: meeting new people, seeing new places, and collaborating with new musicians. Least favorite: the unhealthy lifestyle that comes with sitting in a car all the time and eating road food.

What’s up next for Tumbling Bones?

We’ve been touring a lot behind the release of Loving a Fool in the US and Europe. This March we went from Maine to Pennsylvania, April we were all over Ireland, May took us to Germany and England, and this month (June) we started in North Carolina and will end back in Maine. The rest of the summer will be more northeast touring from Pennsylvania to Prince Edward Island. This fall we’ll be going to yet-unidentified countries in the developing world. We’re in the middle of a folk/Americana radio campaign pushing Loving a Fool as far as it will go. We’re getting a lot of spins in Ireland and the UK, and we’re doing our best to break into American airwaves, ears, and hearts. - Everything Sundry

"Tumbling Bones, New Trio Releases 1st EP Today"

The Tumbling Bones are purveyors of traditional American music who value, above all, grit. The twenty-somethings who make up the trio – Peter Winne, Jake Hoffman, and Sam McDougle – have been callousing their hands and pushing their vocal chords for years as they’ve toured, recorded, and breathed folk music... - Prescription Bluegrass Blog

"More Good Oldtime Songs From Tumbling Bones"

The proliferation of new oldtime string bands has grown almost to the point of overkill. Is this a bad thing? Not if they sound like Tumbling Bones. The quartet of banjoist Jake Hoffman, fiddler Sam McDougle, guitarist Peter Winne and bassist Steve Roy are based in Brooklyn: they take the kind of stuff that was coming out of Memphis circa 1930 and do it nonchalantly and soulfully, 2012 style. - New York Music Daily

"Virginia trio Tumbling Bones brings vitality and drive to Americana music with their debut EP, Risk Not Your Soul"

On reading the production notes for Risk Not Your Soul, the self-released, debut EP from Tumbling Bones (review copy courtesy Tumbling Bones), an interesting fact presents itself: All three members of this Virginia band are multi-instrumentalists -- all of whom play the banjo.

What sort of take on traditional American music might one expect from a trio of ... banjoists? Luckily for fans of American roots music, it's not the shambling, soft-focus nostalgia that afflicts so many old-time string bands. Tumbling Bones attacks the traditional repertoire with drive, heart, and a sparkling, live feel.

The band consists of Peter Winne on vocals, guitar, banjo, and harmonica; Jake Hoffman on vocals, banjo, and guitar; and Sam McDougle on fiddle, drums, percussion, and banjo. As members of string band turned indie rock outfit, the Powder Kegs, they won the 2007 “People in Their Twenties Talent Competition” staged by A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, honing their tight band sound on gigs that took them as far as Berlin and Copenhagen.

Old Time Gospel, Brother Duets, and the Blues

That experience is evident from the first note of the opening track, "Banks of Jordan". This traditional African-American spiritual is raspy, raucous but never sloppy. Driven by harmonica and drums, the intro leads into fervent, recitative-style verses, charging back into double time for the choruses.

"What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul" was an early hit for the Monroe Brothers, and the Bones' high-pitched brother duet harmonies recall the Monroe Brothers recording. Here, the plaintive vocals are beautifully showcased by a simple banjo/guitar backup.

"East Virginia Blues" is a traditional ballad that the band learned from the Stanley Brothers' recording. The Bones borrow the drum groove from "Banks of Jordan", employing blues-tinged brother-style harmonies with an subtly aching, almost contemplative feel, as though the singers are telling a story that happened a long time ago.

Old Time Fiddle and Banjo

Tumbling Bones takes a refreshing approach to traditional instrumental tunes. Their clean, precise playing never compromises the songs' traditional roots. Their take on "Sally Johnson" is pure old-time fun with it's hand-in-glove fiddle and banjo, and a surprisingly rich tone on the fiddle.

"Sandy River" closes out the album with solo fiddle and drums so sparingly applied that they might be the feet of buck dancers clattering on a wooden floor, or the late Ed Dye returned from the grave to accompany the band on bones.
A Compelling Debut

With Risk Not Your Soul, Tumbling Bones offers a delightful, unexpected take on American roots music. Their clear respect for the traditional repertoire, their musical precision, and their heartfelt vocals should guarantee full houses when the band tours in support of the EP this June.

- Suite 101


2014 - Loving a Fool - LP
2012 - Schemes - EP
2011 - Risk Not Your Soul - EP



Tumbling Bones is a trio of young men inspired by old music. They play a mix of original compositions and traditional material drawing on bluegrass, pre-war folk, and a bit of the contemporary rock 'n' roll the guys were reared on. They make music with nothing but acoustic instruments, tap shoes, and most of all, their harmonizing voices. They will be embarking on their most exciting venture to date in November 2014 when they tour Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, and Ukraine as U.S. State Department-backed cultural ambassadors as part of the 'American Music Abroad' cultural exchange. 

Founding members Pete Winne (guitar, foot percussion) and Jake Hoffman (banjo, upright bass) met ten years ago when they were randomly assigned each other as freshman year college roommates. They formed Tumbling Bones three years ago and joined forces with songwriter and guitarist Kyle Morgan early in 2013. These road warriors have sung on street corners and stages across Europe and the United States including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. Their debut full-length album Loving a Fool was released in June 2014 and cracked the top 10 on the Folk DJ chart and Roots Music Report Americana and Country charts. 

Venue Testimonials:

"The night Tumbling Bones first played the Caffe Lena stage was really special because everyone was taking a risk on a promising newcomer, and everyone got so much more than they'd even hoped for.  The crowd wasn't just clapping--they were cheering for these great sounding, great looking, explosively talented young guys who clearly have a bright future ahead of them.  Tumbling Bones is a perfect example of why the folk scene is such an exciting place to be these days."  Sarah Craig, Executive Director, Caffe Lena

"This is it! The next generation, keepers of the flame with wonderful surprises . Upbeat, beautiful harmonies, and some old-fashioned step dancing! Nothing better.” - Betsy Siggins, Founder of Club 47 and New England Folk Music Archives

Media Quotes:

"Tumbling Bones gives us everything – musicality, imagination, virtuosity, and that incalculable component that pushes their performances to new heights." - WXPN Radio

“Wind-up-clock tight and a fresh burst of energy.” - Philadelphia Weekly

“Bluegrass that doesn’t seek to mimic, but forges a path that’s full of rich harmonies, underpinned by an undeniably modern approach to arrangement” - The Irish Times

Band Members