Monday, April 14, 2014

Bombadil's "Tarpits & Canyonlands" Gets Second Chance

The Sad, Strange and Triumphant Tale
of a Band and an Album That Is Just Too Good to Miss
"[Tarpits and Canyonlands is] one of the year's
most eclectic and ambitious albums." 

(LOS ANGELES, CA) - MONDAY, April 14, 2014 - North Carolina's Bombadil (Stuart Robinson, Daniel Michalak, and James Phillips), one of the most critically-acclaimed bands you may never have heard of, will release a special double-vinyl, limited-edition of Tarpits and Canyonlands, the band's album that critics have referred to as "the album that should have made [Bombadil] famous."  This is a genuine project of the heart, a "no expense spared" release, that captures the warmth and intimacy of Bombadil's whimsical arrangements and studio production.

The vinyl is pressed on two 180 gram 12-inch colored vinyl discs, remastered from the original analog tapes direct to 24/96, and with a play-back speed of 45 rpm that produces the highest optimized sound quality possible.  The two discs will be housed in a tri-fold jacket that also holds a custom color print for 14 of the album's songs, each one painted by American illustrator Robbi Behr of Idiots' Books (who designed all of the album art) and printed on a thick, high-quality matte paper, suitable for framing.  In addition, each set will come with all lyrics and a code for a gratis download of the entire album plus "Barcelona," a bonus song that was recorded during the Tarpits sessions but never released.  This special vinyl release will be available June 24, 2014 on Ramseur Records, the label that counts the Avett Brothers among its roster.  Log on to (link) for purchasing information.

In addition, beginning June 24, the Tarpits and Canyonlands CD will be available at a discounted price at both retail and online outlets. To get a taste of the music on Tarpits, go here for the "So Many Ways to Die" music video.

"...the melodies are chipper, the hooks prominent,
 the performances energetic,
the arrangements full to bursting with ideas."

So, why did critics say that Tarpits "should have made the band famous," and why is this vinyl edition being released now?  Well, there is a sad, strange and triumphant answer to that.

Just prior to the original 2009 CD release, Tarpits and Canyonlands was receiving absolute rave notices from press, reviews that concurred that this was the band's breakthrough album, the record that would catapult Bombadil to the success their "melodic indie-folk-pop with a flair for the fantastic" deserved.  It was only their second record, but they were already soaking in some very heady accolades.

But then, everything fell apart.  The band's Daniel Michalak, considered Bombadil's main driving force, a former 10-time MVP in high school tennis, cross-country running and track and field, was diagnosed with neural tension, an ailment that caused such debilitating pain and incapacitation, he couldn't brush his teeth, drive a car or hold a book, much less play keyboards, bass, harmonica, guitar or ukulele.

Consequently, Bombadil couldn't tour, an essential component in the promotion of the album.  So, despite all of the tremendous early reviews, the buzz, and the forecasting of a great success, Tarpits and Canyonland was essentially stillborn.

OK, that's the strange and sad part of the story; now here's the triumphant part.  

"Bombadil has deconstructed the folk genre and pieced together something that is definitely unique, adding a hint of pop, orchestration, and anthemic experimentation."

Michalak spent five years visiting chiropractors and orthopedists, psychologists and neurologists, every kind of doctor imaginable.  He ingested pain medications, nerve stabilizers, vitamins and homeopathic drugs, experimented with biofeedback, acupuncture and Rolfing.  Finally, he began to see improvement.  Fast-forward six years to 2012.  Bombadil launched its first U.S. tour in five years, and has kept a manageable touring schedule since, with Michalak, who is on the road, playing shows and doing great.

Now it's time for Tarpits and Canyonlands to be given a second chance.  With an album that is "loaded with charm, playfulness and an unpredictable bent that keeps every song interesting," it deserves a wider audience.  Bombadil is set to tour for the bulk of 2014, so they'll be able to give this magical album the support it initially deserved, and people will have the opportunity to hear what one writer called "a breakthrough and breakaway from a band whose ideas, enthusiasm, abilities and emotions have finally found their nexus."

Bombadil will be including a number of songs from Tarpits on their 2014 set list.  With more dates to be added, the confirmed Bombadil tour itinerary is as follows:

10   Tom Tom Founders Festival @ The Haven, Charlottesville, VA
11   Speakertree Records, Lynchburg, VA
12   Clementine Cafe, Harrisonburg, VA
13   The Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD
19   White Eagle Saloon, Portland, OR
22   McMenamins Boon' Treasury, Salem, OR
23   McMenamins Old St. Francis School Hotel, Bend, OR
24   Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove, OR
25   McMenamin's Grand Lodge, Forest Grove, OR
26   Wildwood Hotel, Willamina, OR
30   Sam Bonds Garage, Eugene, OR

 2    Fremont Abbey Arts Center, Seattle, WA
 3    South Bay BBQ, Olympia, WA
 4    Siren's Pub, Port Townsend, WA
17   Misty Meadows Farm, Drumstrong Rhythm & Arts Festival, Weddington, NC
28   Eddie's Attick, Decatur, GA
29   The Nick, Birmingham, AL
30   Roasted Cafe and Lounge, Macon, GA
31   The Mothlight, Asheville, NC

 6    Twin City RibFest, Winston-Salem, NC
 7    O'Mannin's Pub, Briston, TN
 8    Riverbend Festival, Riverfront, Chattanooga, TN

16    Port City RibFest, Wilmington, NC

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