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The Tummybuckles / Blog

EP III Release Show...Artichoke Music

In the words of the esteemed Dan Dover (of DoverLaff fame): "...All I can say is, WOW..."

The Tummybuckles 3rd EP was released in style at Artichoke Music Cafe in Portland Oregon, and present was a veritable "Who's Who" of Tummybuckles History.

Coral Cronin, Megan's sister, designed the artwork on each of the three EPs. She was there.

Ryan Ferris had recorded the 2nd EP, which was tracked and mixed on an old-fashioned reel-to-reel machine. He has also done nine (9) total (Count 'em!) recording projects with Chris Baron, dating back to 2001. He was there.

Dan and Cheryl, who through "The DoverLaff Phenomenon" broke these Tummybuckles from 'fun idea' to REAL DEAL through their house concert and song circle community events, have had a HUGE impact on the development of The Tummybuckles. Their friendship and mutual love of The Avett Brothers are very dear to Chris and Megan. They were there.

Richard Columbo is the owner and Chief Executive Cultureator of Artichoke Music...and according to Paul Kwitek, the very classy House Sound Man, he has only shown up to 2 Saturday Night Artichoke Concerts over the past four years. Richard was there.

The drummer of Chris' first original band, circa 1999, is Joel Tomfohr. Joel is also the current drummer of Idiot Science, Chris' hard-rock side project. He even played drums on the original recording of one of the songs Chris wrote that was on the setlist that night. He was there.

K8nPdx, the mysterious videographer who has captured iconic video clips and photographs of The Tummybuckles in action over the past year, was in attendance, and also recorded audio of the show. Her work can be seen on the Tummybuckles Reverbnation.com page.

Greg Baron, Chris' brother, was a photographer in the most Pro of Pro-Forms, making some pretty astute angle-and-shoot decisions. His photos are popping up everywhere lately...

Dors Ward, who has been (at least Live) an Honorary Tummybuckle from the very beginning, was featured as a vocalist on the third song of EP III, "Oregon Song". He was there, and sang four songs as backup-and-sometimes-lead Vocalist (including the encore!).

Brother Henderson and the Lovely Debbie, who Host the Pacific City Folk Festival, stayed true to their word from last July, and showed up in full support, with front-row seats!

All in all, it was a night of music that was worth $15 @ the door. Enjoy listening to the EP...its the best representation of the band so far...and thank you very much!

EP III Release Show at Artichoke Music!

We are so excited to announce that we are finally releasing our third EP. Wow, I can’t believe this is number three! Not only that but we will be honored to call our first Saturday night show at the beloved Artichoke Music our EP release show. We have been working diligently the last few months to make this happen and as many of you know we like to do things ourselves so Chris has done all of the recording and mixing with help from me Leo and I. My sister has designed the artwork again, matching our first two EP artwork, and it is beautiful! I will be putting the CDs together all week to be ready for all in attendance at the show, as everyone there gets a free Tummybuckles EP III !

Did I say yet how excited we are to be playing at Artichoke Saturday night? Well, it is the highlight of our year for sure and we have been looking forward to it for I think six months now. I hope you all can make it.

Pacific City Fok Fest IV

The Tummybuckles were sad to miss the 3rd annual...but we made it for the 4th. Put on my the energetic and industrious Henderson Brothers, this celebration of music, art, family, friends, and food is an absolute blast. Local wine-tasting room Twist Wine sponsors the music, and the accommodations are run by the brothers. The event is right on the water, and right at the heart of downtown. A rotating cast of performers give it their all, both in the evenings on the official stage, and then up the game even more late into the night on the all-night stage. What strikes the Tummybuckles most about the group there is that they are liberated, embracing, and living life to the fullest...an attitude that seems to even translate to the real world and last the year long. In other words, so THATS how they do it! Pacific City Folk Fest! Now we know. See you for PCFF5? Last weekend of July 2014...details will begin to surface in central coast area newspapers at the start of next summer...

Coastal Tour, July 2013, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2.

On Friday, Megan and I had a killer Camping Breakfast (nothing better than a Camping Breakfast!), and headed up the Long Beach Peninsula to see some sights. See some sights, but ALSO to look for a secret beach that Megan and her friend Victor (not his real name of course) had discovered about 3 years prior. We looked all day for that beach, and it proved to be far too secret for us. The day involved lots of walking, taking pictures of Megan reading the book, exploring WWII-era stone structures, and checking out the grounds of the North Head Lighthouse. Did you know that the Long Beach Peninsula gets fog over 100 days a year? That makes it one of the foggiest places on earth. No fog for us this weekend, though, not a drop. Also of note, some jerk cop followed us for about 5 miles down a windy country road as we looked for a pioneer cemetery reputed to be in the area. He eventually turned off, disappointed that he wouldn't be meeting his citation quota that day. And then, we found the cemetery. It was historic.

On Saturday, it was time for the big event: Long Beach SummerFest 2013. The City of Long Beach, in an effort to drive tourism and bring a little more culture out to the local faithful, hired a live band, offered free wagon rides around the town, and shops opened their doors with promotions, sidewalk sales, and enthusiasm for an all-afternoon community hangout. We jammed in the Gazebo, drew a great crowd, and had a blast. K8 filmed the whole thing, and took some cool pictures too. Of note, we met an older couple who lived primarily in Long Beach but spent the winters down in Arizona, and invited The Tummybuckles down to visit. We are thinking about taking a trip, especially since they bought a CD to support us, and came back on Sunday to hang out with us again...we'll see what the winter holds for Tummybuckles.

Sunday was our last day on the coast, and extra special because Leo showed up with his girl Katie. It was awesome being a trio again, after 3 KILLER duo gigs. The differences in the way the same songs are performed with that extra energy in there with Leo is striking to me. I loved it. K8 put some video on Facebook once again I believe, and I even filmed some with my camera from behind, so hopefully we can share soon.

Check out some new photos on our photo page, and thanks for following The Tummybuckles!

Coastal Tour July 2013, Part 1

This past weekend, The Tummybuckles took Long Beach, WA and Astoria, OR by storm. Ironic, since the weather was Absolutely gorgeous from start to finish. Especially Thursday!

Here are some highlights: On Wednesday night, Megan and I rolled into Long Beach and the Adrift Inn. You may recall from a previous blog on the subject that The Tummybuckles were the FIRST band to EVER play at Pickled Fish, their lounge, restaurant, and as of lately, a destination music venue. As an acoustic duo on a Wednesday night, we got to know Jason, their outstanding red-bearded bartender and pro mixologist; a local hero named Larkin who is a former international performing and recording floutist and also The Wizard in the local stage production of The Wizard of Oz, and also a sustainability-minded local organic farmer who provides several area restaurants (PF included) with his produce; a Canadian couple who partied with us until the end, and a retired firefighter who helped haul the whale bones onto the beach for the current display over 20 years ago. Lotta history on that beach. Lotta history. History yesterday, probably more history by tomorrow. Mmm hmm, hmm. We love The Pickled Fish, and Adrift Inn very much. Videos from that night are on our Facebook page, courtesy of K8 N Pdx (thanks Kate!). I should also mention: the Crab Mac & Cheese is outstanding. A "Habanasmo"is a Cosmopolitan with Habanero vodka, and a pepper wedge (thanks Jason!). At one point that day, before the gig, I took a nap, woke up, and panicked because I thought that I forgot to pack pants.

On Thursday, after a stellar morning beach walk, we made our way to Astoria, where, courtesy of the River Peoples Farmers Market and local Vibe Promotor Heidie Johnson, we performed for 3 hours under the hot sun...and wouldn't trade it for anything. Heidie even showed up to say hi, and guess who else showed up…? The Wizard himself, Larkin! We also chatted about genealogy with a local Mormon chap (we found out he was Mormon when I invited him out for a drink with us at Ft George Brewery and he had to decline ;). Genealogy was on the mind, and being spoken about on the mic, because of two reasons. One, after we performed The Relic, Megan asked me on the mic what the song was about, and when I asked the audience if they would like to hear the answer as well, it was unequivocally enthusiastically Yes! And secondly, earlier that day at the local Maritime Museum, Megan found a book written by her great-great-great-great uncle, a journal entirely in French about his journey sailing around the south tip of South America and on up to the mouth of the Columbia River, translated by a local author in Astoria and published in English for the first time. The portrait of her uncle that is featured in the book is actually a framed photograph that has been in her family for generations, and when she was a child, it was hanging up in her grandfather's house in Michigan…she recognized it right away and even let out a gasp at first site (I heard it!). She says the resemblance between her grandpa and her great-great-great-great uncle is uncanny and exact. So we talked about all this for a bit, and I think we all changed for the better from it. Also of note: Megan got sunburned (a rarity); the Berry Girls left us a flat of fresh berries before they left for the day; the sunset on the beach was picture perfect and the campsites at Cape Disappointment literally emptied out for it, all joining on the beach in a great crowd; and the sky was clear so there were lots of coastal stars. Mmmm, stars. Lotta stars on that beach. Mmm hmm, hmm.

Check out Part 2 for the rest of the story! ~Chris

The Muddy Buck, Evergreen Colorado

Well, the Muddy Buck really has it. It!

Immediately upon walking in, we were greeted with smiles, a packed room, a tangible love in the air, and an audience attentive to local musicians, local coffee, and best of all: Mystery Beer.

Mystery Beer: That's where the bartender (who used to live in Portland, OR, repping for Coca Cola, before deciding to relocate to Evergreen to work with developmentally disabled children and tend bar) closes her eyes, makes magic whirling noises, and yanks a 12 oz. bottle out of an icy well. All the selections are guaranteed to be Colorado-brewed, and none of them are Coors.

We Two Tummybuckles are very grateful that Mike was able to squeeze us in for a slot, as the room was absolutely packed.

I have to tell you about one guy in particular. An older gentleman, named Gene, who looked like he had traveled the world several times over in the exact outfit he was wearing and gray beard and grey ponytail he bore, probably including oceans, windy mountains, sunny foothills, and desert expanses (I can't do it justice, he just had this look). Gene sat down at a keyboard bench, and proceeded to get into rhythm on a violin, using his bow in a precise, unrehearsed, organic and calisthenic way. Then, after this was established and the whole room was silent and agape, he balanced the violin on his chin and shoulder, reached out with his left hand, and struck a MONSTER chord on the piano, which was set to some other-wordly gothic church synth sound, while still riffing with his bow on the violin pattern. With the root note ringing out and the sustain pedal operated by his feet, he proceeded to blow everyone's melodic minds and ears with an utterly off-the-top-of-his-head violin solo. THEN, he put down the bow, still squeezing the violin body between his neck and shoulder, and started to sing and play the piano; a catchy, old-timey pop song, that he appeared to be just making up as he went along. He was so quick I didn't even see his finger hit the buttons on the keyboard to switch from "Space Synth Interplanetary" to Piano. He looked ageless and timeless, with that perfect balance between being so in tune with his heart and hands that music bored him, while at the same time engaging him in a world of fantastical demons and angels heard only inside and loosely interpreted by those rest of us. Let the record also show that afterwards, as I chatted with him and told him how cool that was, he said "seriously??" in a most jovial and modest way, and proceeded to embody in word and deed that he was a musical lover and master in the purest sense. Can't hide that sort of thing!

There were other great performers last night, folks whose names I didn't catch, but whose hands I at least got to clumsily grab in passing, shoulders I got to clap, and eyes I were able to meet and nod in an understanding: the Muddy Buck, owned and operated by a regular nice guy named Alan, has that rare vibe that the locals almost...ALmost...take for granted, and that will wow a traveler within moments.

Megan and I did our super-quick duo set, playing Sunset Highway, Country Road, and Waterfall, and couldn't have enjoyed ourselves more. Megan on the viola is SPECTACULAR lately, now that she is getting more comfortable with it. My borrowed guitar from Jen served me well. We were invited to another open mic tonight, run by the same Mike, at another local place called Mirage, which Father Google informs me is in Littleton, CO. We were also told that the next time we come to town, we can have a paid gig there and get the whole night!! Woohoo!

If anyone local is reading this blog, Thank you so much for having us! To all the rest of you around the world whose tummies have been buckled along the way, visit Evergreen Colorado and stop into this Muddy Buck coffee and bar place in the evening, and try your luck catching the music here, with a mystery beer. -Chris

Hello again. We're back.

Thanks to Boon's Treasury and their free live music program on weekends down in Salem, Tummies have been re-Buckled. I credit also some quick thinking by local music promoter Lisa Lepine, who came up with the whole idea.

We debuted 2 new Tummybuckles songs, and re-stronged a foundation for a few in our repertoire that were somehow in the process of dating out. How silly of us! We had just forgotten the power, momentarily...

Leo broke his foot at work up in Portland the night before last, and he showed up with a boot and crutches, and still played the whole show!! If I may mention, his cymbal work at the very end of Megan's Romance song was absolutely Brilliant. Leoshki was on FIRE.

To those of you whom Megan and I spent the day with down at Oakshire Brewing in Eugene, Thank you so much for all your support!! We had a terrific time with some much-needed time away from Portland. We had very nice chats, and performing some of our newer, untested material was good for us...most of what we did was completely unrehearsed, and on the fly. Maybe you could tell...

We hope to see you all again soon.

Oakshire, I'll be back on May 18th to test out your new tasting room...

and Boon's Treasury, you just let us know when you'd like to tighten up that Buckle once again... -Chris

The Tummybuckles, in hiatus

Well, we've been on a hiatus for awhile now. Leo is adjusting to life as a new father. Megan is zeroing in on school (pursuing a masters in music, with an emphasis in viola) and her new duo, Overwinter. I, Chris, just plain stepped to the side for a bit.

But, thanks to local music and arts heroine Lisa Lepine, we are back in the saddle for the month of April 2013.

We have two appearances this month, both at McMenamins in the general geographic region. April 13th is at Boone's Treasury in Salem, a venue I am familiar with because in years past my good friend Ryan Ferris performed there many times with Boys Club, which is a tribute to the band Ween. Boys Club was Boones' New Years Eve band several years running. Then, on April 27th, we are headed to McMinnville to appear at the historic Hotel Oregon for a Saturday night marathon.

Once these gigs are wrapped, Megan and I will be doing some traveling and duo-playing. We hit Colorado in April, and the northern US (Michigan) in July.

There are a few other things in the works as well, so check back.

Aside from future shows, we Will develop a third EP. And the tentative release date for this EP will be Artichoke Music, a Saturday night concert on October 19th.

Hope to see you soon! -Chris

Spinella's, Off The Wall

What an interesting place. Michael and Deanna Spinella bought an old church in 2012, fixed it up and remodeled it by December, and opened their doors as both a savory restaurant (starring Chef Ron!) and a Saturday night music venue in Historic Downtown Gresham. The acoustics in there are fantastic for singing, and their idea was to bring in singer-songwriters for 3-hour sets. For a great read, check out: http://www.spinellasoffthewall.com/?service-group=aboutus

Our time came. Aaron Baca and Megan Cronin opened the night with their new duo OverWinter. Then, Portland newcomer Karma Ann Swanepoel played her first extended set in her new city. Then, my old friend Ben C (from the band maryspeak) played a few of the newer cover songs he's been working on, most notably Johnny Cash and Jimmy Buffett.

All three did an amazing job, and my good friend Russ Rochambeau (BadAustin.com!) recorded audio for the whole set, while honorary BadAustin crewmember Randy did some filming. Thank you to both of them! Video and audio from the night are being processed so we can share the better bits with everyone.

The Tummybuckles closed out the night with a wild set that included 3 guest Tummybucklers: Dors Ward on Vocals, Rose (Evan Rose) on supplementary percussion, and Jim Satterfield on acoustic bass. We also had Andy Goncalves from seasonal heroes Boa Saida join me for a pair of mid-set songs.

All in all, I brought a little more chaos than I intended to...straying from the "three singer-songwriter sets" formula with a cascade of musicians, acoustic instruments, and general folky mayhem. I will no doubt be punished and feared in the future for this. BUT, we had fun, and let me tell you, Michael and Deanna have something special in their new place. Coming up next week is a local lady named Carly Baer, whom I have seen live just once, about 5 years ago, and I have never forgotten...she is Amazing. Check out Spinella's! And, if you are reading this and you were there...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING! Uh!

~Ear Kisses, Chris & The Tummybuckles

Pacific Coast Trip

We Tummybuckles travelled to the Pacific coast this weekend. Some of you readers were there! We visited Long Beach, WA on Friday and performed at the lovely Adrift Hotel & Spa that night...

...a fantastic night in a sweet 4th-floor venue...

...and visited Astoria, OR on Saturday, performing at Labor Temple at night, on the bill with our good friends Broken Soviet.

Friday night the venue was Pickled Fish. Thanks so much to Tiffany and Brady for their outstanding hospitality. The food was outrageous. The hotel rooms they provided for the band and crew were top notch. The staff is friendly and informative and honest, and the location is killer. I can't recommend this place enough. We sold out of CDs by the end of Friday night. You people rocked! Special thanks to our new #1 Seattle fans Lee and Lydia, who took the time to chat with us about music and even picked up a few of our EPs to take home. Also an extra special thanks to Honorary Tummybuckle Dors Ward, who not only sang backup, but provided merchandise plugs and kept us in social spirits for much of the night. Whew!

On Saturday, we headed down to Astoria, setting up to open the night at Labor Temple. Broken Soviet got the original band lineup back together, and put on a killer showcase of older and newer songs. They even had a light show and a fog machine. Dude, Kevin! Special thanks to owner Dave of the Labor Temple for supporting live music and the arts in Astoria...the crowd loved it, and we were very glad to be able to bring our music to the masses. Everyone partied safe, and we have only the fondest (partial) memories of the night at large. Also, Thanks for breakfast the following morning as we tore the gear down! Wooh00t!

Tummybuckles are really on a roll lately...