× Riley Downing tours Europe in November, with his solo debut album "Start It Over"

Riley Downing tours Europe in November, with his solo debut album "Start It Over"


You may know Riley Downing from his work with acclaimed New Orleans combo the Deslondes, or perhaps from his similarly rootsy and wide-ranging catalog of songs with the Tumbleweeds – indeed, the Missouri-based singer-songwriter’s ability to set gripping, evocative narratives within soundscapes that weave together country, blues, folk, r&b, bluegrass, rock, soul and whatever else catches his ear is something that, once you hear it, is hard to shake free from. Same goes for that voice – deep, dusty and drawling, it’s an instrument that can stop you in your tracks with its character and expressiveness, as well as through Downing’s knack for laying out complex emotions in plainspoken, direct language.

For Downing, it all stems from an organic and intuitive approach to songwriting and playing. “I just try to write and sing about life as I live it,” he says simply. All those little bits of life are on full display on ​Start It Over​, his first-ever solo album. Following his last record with the Deslondes, Downing returned home to Missouri, helping out his brother with his plumbing business, embarking on some short solo runs and otherwise playing “mostly for old friends and old dogs and whatever other critters were within earshot,” he says. At some point, Downing and his Deslondes band mate, John James Tourville decided it might be fun to collaborate and release a 45 rpm single.

And so Downing and John James (that’s JJ to you) began a long-distance collaboration, adding longtime Deslondes producer Andrija Tokic (that’s Dre to you) into the musical chain as well. The three hashed out songwriting, arrangement and production ideas by passing demos back and forth from their respective homes – Downing in Missouri, JJ in North Carolina and Dre in Nashville – during the months of lockdown. As far as approach, everything was on the table. Downing recalls one of his demos being met with the suggestion that it needed a “Lou Reed/Fats Domino sound.” He laughs. “I couldn’t even imagine what that sounded like, but I had fun trying my best to imagine it.”

The end result reflects the mingling of past and present, traditional and unusual, that has long characterized Downing’s musical makeup. “I might be old-fashioned, but I'm not old-timey enough to not live in the modern world,” he says. Regarding his influences, Downing continues, “It’s a little bit of everything – I could probably make a long list and it'd be all over the place. I grew up going to country shows with my grandparents, but I was also angsty and played punk rock in high school. And then at the same time, I was getting into old folk and blues and stuff like that. So I never think in terms of a song having to be in ‘this’ genre or ‘that’ genre – I’m open to doing anything. I just enjoy writing and playing music.”

Starting early November, Riley Downing and his band tour Europe for the first time:

04/11: Dresden, DE - Sound of Bronkow 
05/11: Groningen, NL - Take Root Festival
06/11: Utrecht, NL - TivoliVredenburg
09/11: Glasgow, UK - Broadcast
10/11: Newcastle, UK - Gosforth Civic Theatre
11/11: Thame, UK -  Listening Room
12/11: Nottingham, UK - The Chapel at the Angel Microbrewery
14/11: London, UK - West Hampstead Arts Club
17/11: München, DE - Vintage Pub
18/11: Schaffhausen, CH - Tap Tab Musikraum
19/11: Atlandsberg, DE - Buchholz Saloon
20/11: Norderstedt, DE - Music Star
21/11: Gothenburg, SWE - Pustervik
23/11: Oslo, NO - Belleville
24/11: Stockholm, SWE - Bar Brooklyn
25/11: Höganäs, SWE - Garage Bar
26/11: Hamburg, DE - Nochtwache

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