The People Need a Show
"But what happens to Scott and Mallory if The Rough & Tumble break up? Or what happens to The Rough & Tumble if Scott and Mallory break up?" our friend Ann asked bluntly.
She was happy for us, of course, She and her husband, Tom, had always been in favor of "the guy in the hat" over the other guys Mallory had brought through their Ohio home over the years. Scott had been going home to visit Mallory's family and friends before we were ever The Rough & Tumble. And we were The Rough & Tumble before we were ever "Scott and Mallory the official couple." So when we broke it to our close friends that The Rough & Tumble was getting a little rough-and-tumble (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), there was a bit of history to contend with while heading into the future.
"Well," Scott said, "I guess we will just never break up."
"Seems about right," Mallory said, "the people need a show. So we will keep giving the people what they want."
These terms were agreeable for everyone.
But before we were breaking it to our friends, we were breaking it to ourselves. And somewhere after our first kiss and before moving into a 16' camper together, we were feeling vulnerable and off kilter and googly eyed. What does it look like for two old friends to become two partners in life? What would our fans say? What would our mothers say? What would our songs sound like? Is it too soon after Mallory's divorce? Is it too late for us? Like most big decisions, it wasn't something that worked itself out all at once. We bickered and wrung our hands. We celebrated, then reeled it in. Then, after a frustrating how-and-when-to-break-it-to-your-mom-she's-going-to-be-so-crushed conversation, Mallory walked out to her cold car in the driveway armed with a pink ukulele, while Scott brooded on the back porch with a whiskey. Determined to write her first we're-a-couple-now-but-I'm-so-mad-at-you song, Mallory instead started picking a plucky little circus tune, complete with fire breathers and tight rope walkers and running away together.
It was a kinda love song. And it's ending was a scrappy but happy one.
She ran it to the back porch, and Scott grabbed his guitar.
That weekend, after a couple Alabama shows, Scott flew out to California for a wedding, while Mallory drove off to North Carolina to her friends. And then, the secret couple began notifying their friends and family of their no-longer-secret-in-loveness. There were a few awkward conversations with some people, and emphatic "FINALLY!" conversations with others. But what mattered was that we were for each other. Just like we'd always been.
Maybe this song was the foreshadowing of our self-contained driving circus-- our big dogs and menagerie of instruments, packed up in a tiny clown-mobile. Sometimes when Mallory and Scott aren't getting along so well, The Rough & Tumble gets their chins up. And when The Rough & Tumble are feeling low, Scott and Mallory usually know how to solve it. No matter who is feeling what, we've got a job to do, after all. The people need a show. And we are the ones fit to give that show. Maybe sometimes that show looks a little more bedraggled than others, but who doesn't love a little grit in their circus?
So now, as we are heading back into the studio to record our second full length record (after so many EP's on top of that!), it seems fitting to release this one-off song we finally recorded last year (a couple years after writing it) on the eve of our third anniversary of marriage (kinda sorta-- the date gets hazy when you get married on Leap Year Day). It's been a fun show, so far, and we are looking forward to so many more.
You can download this song for free at our Bandcamp under our Odds and Ends for the End of the World album-- a miscellaneous catch all for some fun, cool overflow songs we've created over the years. And hang tight-- we've got a new R&T record coming your way by the end of 2019. It's gonna be a great show.