The Rough & Tumble aren’t casual road dogs, but they aren’t letting on, either. From their upbeat, commanding stage presence and sharp banter, to their earworm-inducing melodies and heartstring lyrics, this dumpster-folk/thriftstore Americana duo refuses to bring the haggard road-worn stereotype to their audience-- even though they’ve earned it. In fact, The Rough & Tumble have been elbowing out of most stereotypes.
Writing and performing together since 2007, Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler inevitably formed The Rough & Tumble in 2011 as the friends turned into bandmates. In 2015, after a bad Nashville landlord left them without heat for 12 days during an ice storm, the bandmates turning spouses decided to hit the road. They sold everything they could, bought a 16’ camper (despite the warning of their families and the lot salesman), packed up their instruments, their dog, and a couple of small trinkets shaped like elephants and mice that they couldn’t part with, and hit the road. They’ve been touring relentlessly since with their two 100lb rescue dogs, Mud Puddle and Magpie Mae, in spite of multiple burnt up axles, busted tires, and consistent water leaks.
Releasing at least one EP or LP a year since 2011, their most recent album Howling Back at the Wounded Dog was met with an enthusiasm unprecedented in their career. Written after a difficult year of loss, The Rough & Tumble are gathering a pack. The 10 songs, recorded with Dave Coleman in East Nashville, are forthright, engaging, and demand a response. The response is audible, with audiences literally howling back at performances coast-to-coast.
“...a stunning set of songs... I must confess that this is an absolute gem of an album that finds the duo not only facing some deeply dark and personal demons, but raising their game to an unprecedented level too. The Rough & Tumble are always willing to push the boundaries of the folk-Americana genre, and incorporate some great sounds into the album."
---Martin Noakes, Great Dark Wonder, September 2019
"...they sure as hell are peaking high and mighty in this music and songwriting game."
---Brian Carroll, Red Line Roots, September 2019
Nominated for Best Americana Song in the 2019 Independent Music Awards for "The Hardest Part," voted The Listening Room Network’s 2019 Artist of the Year, and Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Official Showcase Artist in 2018, Graham & Tyler play over 150 shows a year. Gifted storytellers and perpetual collectors, The Rough & Tumble use a menagerie of instruments to illustrate the airwaves. Tyler takes the backbone with guitar, a suitcase drum & mailbox snare, adding in harmonica and percussion, while Graham multitasks with accordion, bells, banjulele, nose flutes, homemade percussion and toy piano among other oddities. The Rough & Tumble’s voices fluctuate between power and delicacy, demonstrating restraint while sinking the accelerator to give each song its due. Their close-harmony weaves interchangeably. They aren’t afraid to take an audience from the lighthearted to the gut wrenching, and they do it seamlessly, with care for their listeners and integrity to their craft.
"Wow, what an appealing package. High-quality originals in all sorts of traditional veins, from haunting ballads to stomping, screaming folk anthems. All performed with expert, polished musicianship and flawless ensemble. Amazing array of instruments (a few you will never have encountered before, I bet!), and attention to musical detail, without a trace of pretension or preciousness. The vocals are a pleasure – natural yet perfectly executed. The whole effect seems fun and blithely effortless."
---M. McLeod, Empty Nest Concerts, Maplewood, NJ
“I laughed my ass off, I cried buckets. By the third song I realized, I need to pace myself!”
---Aubrey, Reidsville, NC
The Rough & Tumble continue their perpetual tour, this summer treading to Alaska. By the end of 2020, the duo will have touched all four corners of the United States in one year. Their new album, We’re Only Family if You Say So, is expected for release in January 2021-- though the duo has a few surprise releases along the way bound to drop at the next big bump in the road.