Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Our NW Summer Tour (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Tomorrow I’m hopping on an airplane, escaping this Nashville heat, to the cooler, 70 degree (with no humidity) Seattle summer. I’ve been very lucky getting some great shows lined-up for this trip. Starting with KEXP’s Concert at the Mural: No Depression Night on Friday, August 26th. Then on Monday, August 29th I’m playing a two-hour solo set at Brave Horse Tavern, which is a new spot since I moved away but they’ve been putting on some great shows, and from the photos I’ve seen it looks right up my alley. I’m looking forward to getting back to Portland as well, with a show on Thursday, September 1st at Doug Fir Lounge. And finally on Thursday, September 8th I’m taking part in a all-star tribute to Patsy Cline featuring NW favorites such as Mark Pickerel, Star Anna, Kim Virant, Jeff Fielder and many more. I’ll mostly be filling the role of a support player, but I may also duet on a song or two. I’m also looking forward to the venue for this show, as it’s in the old Neptune Theatre, which has switched from a movie theater to a venue since I used to live there. Glad the building is still standing and being put to such great use. I would hate to see a beautiful old structures like that get torn down.

Here’s all the facebook event pages, so you can keep track:

8.26 KEXP’s Concerts at the Mural: No Depression Night
8.29 Brave Horse Tavern two-hour solo set
9.1 Doug Fir Lounge (Portland, OR)
9.8 Sweet Dreams: The Music of Patsy Cline

American Icons of Music Portrait Series

When I was younger, before music engulfed my soul in my early teens, drawing and painting was my first passion. Over the years, I’ve contributed to album artwork and design concepts, but only rarely devoted time to painting a picture. Shortly after moving to Nashville last year, possibly because I had a new place with 4 empty walls staring at me, I decided to pick it up again. I started with painting some of my music heroes… then a few of my friends started requesting paintings, so I’ve built up quite a repertoire now.

But I am proud to share with you that for the first time I have my art hung, and with a price tag ($30 each). Starting now thru mid-September you can see my art at The Groove record store in East Nashville. If you are interested in commissioning a painting from me, email me at: shanetutmarc@gmail.com

All the News That’s Fit to Print

Greeting friends near and far,

I may be coming closer to you soon! In August we have dates around Nashville as well as Bowling Green, KY – then I’m flying back to Seattle for a string of shows around the NW. I was beginning to feel a pang of homesickness when I got the surprise offer from KEXP to fly back to Seattle for the final night of their Concerts at the Mural, which is “No Depression Night.” I’m very honored to be involved – along with a full bill of Northwest talent including Pickwick, Drew Grow & The Pastors Wives, Ravenna Woods – especially since I don’t even live in Seattle anymore. I love you, KEXP and No Depression!

While I’m out in the NW, I’m gonna try to play as much as I can – so keep an eye on the calendar for more dates around the NW popping up.

Yesterday I got a Spotify account. I’ve had fun exploring the program and making play-lists. I was happy to see that they have both Mercies albums, and most of the Dolour albums on there! You can help spread our music around with your play-lists!

And speaking of Dolour, we’re in the process of getting the whole catalog up on YouTube. Currently we have the first two albums, in addition to a smattering of other live and studio footage from over the years. Check it out: youtube.com/dolourvideos.

T-Shirts Back in Stock!

As you can see from the new addition to our sidebar – t-shirts are back in stock! Dolour shirts featuring a design from “The Years in the Wilderness” as well as Shane Tutmarc & The Traveling Mercies “Hey Lazarus!” shirts. The Mercies shirts come in black or white, while the Dolour ones are in red or creme. Pick one up today!

In band news, this weekend we are doing a couple private benefit concerts. We are doing long sets with lots of vintage country, rock and roll and r&b sprinkled in between originals. I got a great band featuring my old friend Joey Sanchez on drums (he played on Dolour’s Suburbiac and New Old Friends), Josiah Holland on keys, accordian and additional guitar, and Jeremy Branon on bass. Hopefully we’ll get some good video footage to share with you. Meanwhile, look at the shows page to keep up-to-date with our concert calendar. Adios.


We are looking forward to returning to Bowling Green, KY’s venue Tidball’s tomorrow night. We had such a great time when we were last a couple months ago. Even when the PA died on us halfway thru our set, we kept on rocking (see: video).

With my usual drummer, Aaron Tosti, on the road (guitar tech-ing) with Switchfoot, I have frequent collaborator Ethan Luck on drums. Ethan holds the unique honor of playing the most instruments with me. Over the course of this last year and half I’ve lived in Nashville, Ethan has contributed electric guitar, baritone guitar (the solo on “What is This Love?”), lap steel, bass guitar, and drums to both live shows and recordings. If he’s available and I’m needing an extra element to the show, Ethan can more than likely cover it. Plus he brings an energy and excitement that is contagious and always makes the shows fun.

On bass I have my right-hand guy, Nathan Thomas. He produced the new EP, and we’ve already begun tracking some newer stuff. Not sure where that is headed, but I will keep you posted. If you live near the Bowling Green area, we hope to see you tomorrow, or if you got friends out that way – let them know!


Today marks the long-time-coming release of Hell or Highwater. This album has had a strange journey since the backing tracks were first recorded on February 17th, 2004. It was the first time I “experimented” with the old school technique of filling a room with great musicians, giving them simple instructions and recording what happens. In about 10 hours of recording, we captured all 10 of the instrumental backing tracks. I had a room full of trusted friends with talent to spare. Jeramy Koepping was at the board, and he captured the performances with skill, while I played piano in the live room with Josh Ottum on guitar, and long-time Dolour collaborators Phil Peterson playing upright bass, and Paul Mumaw on the drums.

I must have been in some sort of race with myself in those days. I remember the day we recorded Hell or Highwater was the day that New Old Friends arrived from the CD manufacturers. And that’s where the first stumbling block came in. Dolour’s 3rd LP (New Old Friends) hadn’t even been released yet and now I was lapping myself with Hell or Highwater. Looking back, maybe I should have slowed down a bit to see these records through, but I could feel myself developing as a songwriter and artist and didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture these moments in time. By the time New Old Friends was officially released (through Made in Mexico Records) in November 2004, Hell or Highwater was already over 6 months old in my mind, and I was already considering the next move. Made in Mexico suggested, given the short length of HoH, that I record more songs for it, which would also give them a chance to delay the release. Not a bad idea, but never wanting to look back, I ended up recording Storm & Stress in early 2005 which took Dolour to a completely different place musically.

Although many people saw the Traveling Mercies’ exploration of Americana, gospel and blues as a 180 from the sunshine pop of early Dolour, one listen to Hell or HIghwater and you see this is the missing link. Elements of country, rockabilly, blues, and gospel began to surface through the filter of the jazzy-baroque-pop-ish arrangements.

Years went by, and I continued Dolour in a very on-again/off-again fashion, but when I received an offer from Japanese label, Quince Records to release Hell or Highwater (coupled with Storm & Stress which was also still unreleased at the time), it gave me the chance to finally put this music behind me. This “double album” was released on CD in Japan (and very few American retailers) in September 2007 as The Years in the Wilderness. I was very focused on my new project, The Traveling Mercies, and didn’t really pay much attention to it’s release. Although I loved the artwork by Toby Liebowitz (who has just done the new Fleet Foxes album cover), I was never really comfortable with HoH being attached to S&S, feeling that each record was made to stand on its own. With November 2010’s digital debut of Storm & Stress and now Hell or Highwater, I’ve separated these “fraternal twins.” Now you can enjoy these albums as they were intended – on their own. I love how my brother Brandon Tutmarc’s new artwork (featuring photos he took during the studio session), takes me back to that long – but very creative – day I spent with Jeramy, Josh, Phil and Paul.

I hope this (admittedly long-winded) back story gives you a little perspective on this album, that I feel was a big turning point for me. But more than anything I want you to just close your eyes, turn off the lights and enjoy the music!

Chattanooga tonight…

Come on out to our first Chattanooga show tonight. It should be a good one too, as it is the CD release show for James Leg (Black Diamond Heavies), and it also features local favorites Bohannons and Duquette Johnston. Also tonight at the show, Alabama’s The Gum Street Killers will be taking donations for the recent Alabama tornado victims, so come on out and rock and roll for a good cause.

Related reading…

Chattanooga Pulse – Music Feature


We just set up a mailing list that you can now join! In addition to up-to-date info about shows, releases, and other points of interest – we will be providing list-ers with exclusive mp3 downloads, video clips, and other goodies. And don’t worry about us “spamming” you with irrelevant show info. For instance, if you live in Seattle we will not be flooding your inbox with info our shows around the South. So include your zip code, and we’ll make sure the right info is targeted to you.


Take a look at the shows we have coming up. If you live in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Bowling Green, or our hometown of Nashville we are playing near you!

We’ve been happy to have Larry Vance of Blood On the Bluegrass join our team helping with booking. Congratulations are in order too, as yesterday Larry became a daddy. Congrats, Larry!

RIP Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain was a beacon of light for me in my early adolescence. I started playing guitar at 10 years old, only vaguely aware of the storm that was brewing in my hometown of Seattle, WA. Although barely old enough to be considered part of the “X” generation, Kurt Cobain was the first musician from my era that really inspired me to sit down and write my own songs. He felt like a natural transition from my obsession with John Lennon. Through his generous accolades of underground music like Os Mutantes, The Vaselines and Daniel Johnston, I developed my own taste for record collecting and seeking out sounds outside of the mainstream. But his early death left me with so many questions. I still wonder where his life and music would have gone had he not put such an abrupt end to it.

It’s A Wonderful Life: Return of Grunge Pioneer Kurt Cobain

In tribute to the 17th anniversary of his passing I wrote an “alternate history” which tells the story of what could have been. I hope you enjoy this happy ending to such a tragic musical revolutionary.