Sam Doores + Riley Downing & the Tumbleweeds’ Spooky Dustbowl Blues

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Sam Doores

Tired of Valentine’s Day chocolate? Sink your teeth into “I Got Found” and “Alligator Shoes,” two slabs of spooky, slow-smoked dustbowl blues courtesy of Sam Doores + Riley Downing & the Tumbleweeds.

“I wrote [“I Got Found”] on a road trip out to the Woody Guthrie Festival with my old pals from Broken Wing Routine,” says Doores, who formed the Tumbleweeds in late 2010. “I’d been listening to a lot if old gospel, chain gang, and work songs and wanted to write something with that feel to it. We were eating fried chicken with milk and crossing the California-Arizona border in an old non-air-conditioned Volkswagen Vanagon. It must have been 110 degrees that day, and I think that must have influenced the pace of the song.

Filmed live in a friend’s motorcycle garage, the video for “I Got Found” shows the band playing in front of a bonfire at night, while friends cook barbecue and stomp along in the background. The instrumentation is threadbare — just a loose combination of guitar, upright bass, harmonica, and tambourine — but the harmonies beef things up, especially the deep-seated rumble of Riley Downing’s baritone. He’s the band’s other frontman, and he takes the lead on “Alligator Shoes,” a minor-key song about turning your luck around.

“I wrote this song last summer after I went through an ordeal where I felt like I could have made a list of things I didn’t want to happen, and they all did,” Downing tells us. “I came to the realization that things had to get better, and that helped me restart my brain, I guess, and I walked out of it feeling as good as if I was wearing alligator shoes.”

Keep an eye out for Banditos, a group of American Songwriter favorites who make cameo appearances in the first video. That’s them, slapping their highs and kicking the song’s slow-moving beat into the pavement. Don’t expect the camera to linger too long, though.

“They’re a good looking band,” Doores added, “so we told Josh [Shoemaker, the video’s director] to keep the cameras away from us and on them much as possible.”

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