Arts and Entertainment

Mike Herrera and the Rocky Point All-Stars Tumbledown the West Coast

By BILL MICKELSON

What’s Up

What began as MXPX frontman Mike Herrera crooning Americana solo on his jumbo acoustic Alvarez AJ60 has evolved into a cross-bred full band now embarking on its first tour, a jaunt from Bremerton to Bakersfield and back.

The new country-flavored, indie-acoustic band Tumbledown, pits Herrera with the forces of the local bluegrass/Southern rock gurus The Rocky Point All-Stars, and will be culminating the 10-day tour with its first-ever full-band appearance in Bremerton, 9:30 p.m. today at the Manette Saloon.

The tour kicked off Nov. 8 at the Hawthorne Theatre in Portland.

Herrera started the tumbling project at the close of his summer tour in support of MXPX’s latest release, July’s “Secret Weapon,” putting a few of the acoustic songs out to his hometown through solo shows at the Manette and also in support of country-music legend Crystal Gayle at the Admiral Theatre.

Online, at Tumbledown’s myspace, www.myspace.com/tumbledowncountry, the MXPX-faithful have flocked, seeming to latch onto the latest from the crooner.

“It’s a little bit punkrock, it’s a little bit folk/country ... kind of all the elements that I like about music rolled into one,” Herrera said. “There’s a lot of different facets to Tumbledown because we’re still trying to figure out who we are as a band.”

There are few things more defining of a band than hitting the road for 10 shows in 10 days across more than 1,000 miles.

Herrera will be loading up in the van with Jack Parker on six-string, Marshall Trotland on stand-up bass and brother Harvey Trotland on the skins. However, RPA frontman KW Miller won’t be making the trip this time.

Herrera said, the collaboration between he and The Rocky Point All-Stars began with him being a fan of their music, which eventually evolved into him producing their latest CD “Another True Story” at his studio, The Clubhouse.

Then, with Tumbledown on his mind, Herrera asked the All-Stars to jam.

The literal definition of tumbledown is “dilapidated or run down,” but ironically, the music of the new Bremerton acoustic quintet is anything but.

Sure, it’s got its somber moments lyrically, lovesick, rainsick lonesome blues, and the typical western whining slide guitar matches with the signature whimsical whine of Herrera’s voice, still it sounds invigorated. Because, of course, it’s new.

But as the band hits the road they’ll also be bringing along a bit of the old, Herrera said. Anticipating the fans of MXPX that will be in the audience on the tour, they’ll be kicking out a few MX songs through the Tumbledown filter as well.

“We thought why not do it?” Herrera said. “But we’re doing it in a completely different way.”

Though he neglected to mention what those specific cover songs may be, he added the assurance that Tumbledown is not a means to the end of MXPX.

That three-piece which in some aspects put Bremerton on the map is still forging ahead through its second decade of existence. But how else would Herrera have the chance to put the phrase “giddy-up” in the closing lyrics of a song?

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