Music of the Night

It was a nice Saturday evening, on March 20th at six o’clock, as I walked down Eureka’s Old Town streets with my destination being Chapala Café on 2nd & C Street. Once arriving, I noticed how the restaurant was busy and full of hungry families who were out to eat a well-cooked Mexican meal. Besides being able to eat a yummy dinner, I was also able to watch a live concert. Playing at Chapala Café every Friday and Saturday nights 6-8 you can find The Tumbleweeds: a group of three musicians playing and singing songs from the old west. I took a table that was front and center where I could really hear and take in the sounds of their music. I found through asking that these three older men who made up The Tumbleweeds were “Side Dish” Bob who played a customized F style mandolin tuned to the pitch of a violin, Dace who played an instrument which laid across his lap known as a Dobro, and Robert who played a J99 Moonstone Guitar. These guys were dressed the part with all three of them wearing cowboy hats and boots and each of them also sported an overgrown mustache. Just looking at them made me feel as if I had traveled back into the old west, and with this time period that flashed into my mind, I then pictured a saloon and thought that they would of fit perfectly in that kind of atmosphere.

Besides just looking the part, this group also sounded as if they came from the good ol’ cowboy days. The genre of music they were playing reminded me of a mixture of sounds such as folk, bluegrass, and traditional country. When asked what genre The Tumbleweeds considered themselves they replied with labeling their genre as “Old Western/Romantic Cowboy.” The one thing I had doubts about was how this type of music was going fit into a Mexican restaurant like Chapalas, but once hearing them play, the music seemed to some how work with the Mexican vibe. I feel that this music complemented the venue because Chapalas has a mix of Western and Spanish feeling to its décor which makes the two, both interior and music, relate to one another.

As for the songs that The Tumbleweeds played, I found out that they were mainly cowboy covers that have been around for decades, but occasionally the band would incorporate their own written songs into the performance. I noticed, through listening, that I wasn’t able to hear exactly what the lyrics were because they did not use microphones; however, I still enjoyed the music being played even without knowing the lyrics. I think that the band didn’t focus as much on what they were singing because they instead liked to demonstrate their talents which is why they focused more on the sound created from playing their instruments. I found the sounds of each instrument appealing especially the mandolin. In addition, when each of these instruments were played all at once they seemed to work very well with one another producing a coherent sound. After playing each song the crowd would applause, and also some individuals got up from their tables to donate money into The Tumbleweed’s tip jar. Although the music was a little bit washed out by the background noise, I found it to be still comforting, and some how the back ground noise of people chattering and the tunes of the music mixed together created a soothing sound to me.

Overall, I took a liking to not only The Tumbleweed’s music, but also the way that they performed their songs. From watching them, I could tell that these three men had passion for what they do, and I could also tell that they really enjoyed playing for a crowd because in return the people who listened would also share this joy. I was a bit surprised that I ended up liking this genre of music just because I had never really listened to a type that was similar to this different style before. Sitting in on this concert has opened my ears to a new category of music. Although this concert wasn’t performed on a traditional stage or in a normal concert setting, it was still a neat experience for me, and I had a great time while being able to learn some new background information on these men who make up The Tumbleweeds.

Kristen Pinto

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