We're Only Family If You Say So

by The Rough & Tumble

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    Written before, during, and after a family severance, this collection grapples with boundaries, heartbreak, and what it means to Say So. All songs written by The Rough & Tumble, and recorded with Dave Coleman in East Nashville, TN.

    Includes unlimited streaming of We're Only Family If You Say So via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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    Written before, during, and after a family severance, this collection grapples with boundaries, heartbreak, and what it means to Say So. All songs written by The Rough & Tumble, and recorded with Dave Coleman in East Nashville, TN.

    Includes unlimited streaming of We're Only Family If You Say So via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

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1.
You Took Your Turn written by Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler You don’t say much, and so you’re buying. I’m ungrateful, but at least I try. Ain’t open arms if I come home, So for longer-- a while longer-- I think I’ll roam. You said you almost choked from laughing when I cried. I guess it hurt. And I’m smiling like a possum eating thistle briars. I stole your words, You took your turn. Well you can’t spend what you don’t earn, And all you made went back into the dirt. I read your Bible, you reap what you sow-- And I’m the only-- am I the only?-- weed you’ve grown. You said you almost choked from laughing when I cried. I guess it hurt. And I’m biting down on fiberglass and thistle briars. I took your words You lost your turn. I think of you when the lake frogs croak. The only sound to drown the meanness of your joke. You want thicker skin from your kid-- But I stayed fragile as the frogs. And I sing louder, I sing louder, I sing louder, I sing louder, I sing louder, so much louder I sing louder--- Than they ever did.
2.
You’re Not Going Alone Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler You don’t need to call me by my name. You don’t need to call me by my name. You can call out to the Maple Trees, they’ll hear you just the same. You don’t need to call me by my name. You don’t need to eat what you’ve been served. You don’t need to eat what you’ve been served. You can run out to the cornfield, brambled berries for dessert. You don’t need to eat what you’ve been served. You can stand there stricken at your old front door, Or shake the dust you swore you’d hold. You may not belong here, anymore, But you’re not going alone. You’re not going alone. You don’t need to set your clock by me. You don’t need to set your clock by me. You can set it to the worms below, the last to move your feet. You don’t need to set your clock by me. You know I wish I were an orphan, sometimes, With the wide sky and the fierce lightning And the hawk tail leading over white eyes-- I’m all feather, prey, and taillights. You don’t need to run and hop that train. You don’t need to run and hop that train. You can keep on walking, you’re bound for glory just the same. You don’t need to run--- Don’t just stand there stricken at your old front door-- Shake the dust you swore you’d hold. You may not belong here, anymore-- You’re not going alone. You’re not going alone. You’re not going alone.
3.
My Inheritance Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler She buried her money in the backyard, The green she couldn’t carry from the Earth. She told only her nurse, and that nurse, she told her boyfriend And they sped off with everything we’re worth. So Dad and his brother and his nephew Spent days trying to dig on up some truth While grandma laid tight lipped under the ground around her should’ve’s And those shovels came down harder than the cancer ever could. Don’t got a light, Don’t got a map, Don’t got good intentions or a way of getting back I’ve been chasing after scattered ashes. Brother found a better deal the South way, Nephew hung around as long he could But there are million dollar ideas every other lot around here And he’s never gonna find ‘em by playing in the dirt. Daddy, he’s still digging for a living. Grandma, she’s still digging in her heels. And if there’s buried treasure, well, it wouldn’t really matter-- Money can’t bring back a daughter that you’ve wrought of dirt and steel. Don’t got a light, Don’t got a map, Don’t got good intention or a way of getting back I’ve been sifting through this hourglass, Chasing after scattered ashes. Is this my inheritance? Is this my inheritance? Don’t got a light, Don’t got a map, Don’t got good intentions… Don’t got a light, Don’t got a map, Don’t got good intentions or a way of getting back, I’ve been sifting through this hourglass, Don’t tell me that what’s past is passed, While I’m chasing after scattered ashes. Don’t got a light, Don’t got a map...
4.
Painter’s Sorrow Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler I’ve been crying ‘bout how I don’t belong. It’s not a questions, and it isn’t something you haven’t heard before. Oh, maybe it’s an ancient ache, Or the moving of the blood-- How long, how long, how long, how long? And you’ve been saying you wish it was before-- Maybe last November when I lost my temper ‘cause you’re always needing more. You miss it by an eyelash, Or it’s behind another door. How long, how long, how long, how long? Why is the light never right in this room? The colors are starting to run. Let me get closer. I want to get closer to you. When she stepped up to read our Tarot cards, She said all your waiting would bring reward of a pretty young thing along. Why did we act like strangers? And pretend we weren’t in love? How long, how long, how long, how long? How long, how long, how long, how long? Why is the light never right in this room? The colors are starting to run. Let me get closer, I want to get closer. And we are a painter’s sorrow on a pale afternoon. Let me get closer. Why can’t I get closer to you? Not for all the blue and white that falls in North New England Can we paint what we don’t know.
5.
Too Much 03:31
Too Much Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler We all know I’ve had too much, Too much to drink, too much to love. I could choose my battles, but that’s just it-- I’d rather choose my bottles than feel a thing. These days I don’t feel a thing. Do you wanna talk things over? You can pick the day. Just don’t call me when I’m sober. You don’t like (you never like), You always hate the things I say. We all know I feel too much, Can’t keep me in, can’t take me out. Who says I can’t be like you, I’ve got the Wrath of God on my side, too-- And the Devil on the other shoe. You can call Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. (Just call me We’re only Family if you say)
6.
I Must Be the Sun Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler You know, I wish she were dead. I thought maybe it would make you love me instead. I can see it would never work now, You’ve gotta love someone first to really make the hurt count. You’ve gotta love to make the hurt count. You know I wish it was right That love doesn’t work like the pieces of a pie-- You’re either Esau or Jacob, one gets blessed. Don’t tell me one don’t get more and one don’t get less-- One gets more and one gets less. How do you split the sun? Some lady I don’t know says it can’t be done. I hope she was right. I must be the sun, Just the one they roll their backs to in the night. Better the sun than a nameless star. Still can’t be seen, but I’m not that far-- In case you come around. What can be said of the dead? Forgiveness can be fabricated, sewn up with a thread. I handstitched curtains to keep the light hid-- ‘Cause it’s easier than loving what lives. It’s inconvenient to love you. It’s inconvenient to love you. It’s inconvenient to love you.
7.
Joni 03:57
Joni Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler Why didn’t we listen to Joni? And the song that she had sung? She was crying for our apples, Now we’re crying for the spots on our lungs. Farmer gotta make a livin’. Corporate gonna cut their dime. Why didn’t we listen to Joni? While we had time? Why don’t we listen to the Redtail? Why don’t we go and let ‘em fly? Pheasant won’t make it through winter-- But it is not under hawk’s eye. There’s Big Business in the Prairie, And the Commissioner’s gone blind. Why don’t we listen to the Redtail? Why we still have the time? While we have the time… Why don’t we listen to the Call in the Wilderness And the warm October wind. Can’t hardly breathe between the cornfields that we can’t eat And the Highway that never ends-- There’s oil in the water, There’s war inside those drums, When will we listen to the call? When will we listen to the call? While we have the time. While we have the time. While we have the time--- oooooh. I was listening to Joni, On a cold autumnal day. Wasn’t a Big Yellow Taxi I watched Take my Old Man away. Said he’s gotta make a living, And the Lord will come in time. He can’t hear me or Joni-- Can’t even hear the Spotted Apple of His Eye-- Oooooh, Bop Bop Bop Bop OOoooh, Bop Bop Bop Bop Oooooh, Bop Bop Bop Bop OOooooh.
8.
Love of God 02:45
Love of God Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler Did you walk with the Lord in the Garden? Did you walk with the Lord in the dew of the morning? When you were young, did you play in the sun? Sing with the birds and be swift in your run? For all that you did and did not, Was it not for the Love of God? Did you sing to the Lord in the Church? Did you sing to the Lord ‘til your vocal chords hurt? Did the pipe organ swell, did the old preacher yell? Did you know every sign on the Long Road to Hell-- For all that you would and would not, Was it not for the Love of God? Did you fight for the Lord with your gun? DId you fight for the Lord and for Kingdom Come? Did you show them the Way with your bullet spray? Was the Truth in your heart when you scattered the part? Was in Life that you gave when you took theirs away? Does your Savior bleed like this chaff and this wheat? For all that you did and did not-- Was it not, for the Love of God?
9.
Your Daughter’s Father Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler You’re just an old dog growling in the corner, Waiting there for someone to yell at you to stop. And all your children know how to approach you, And how to avoid you when they’re cutting through the yard. Aren’t you tired? Instead of riling up them boys, Instead of raising Cain for fodder, Don’t go swinging at the Devil and not check under your feet. If you work harder, And maybe if you’re lucky, You can grow up, too, to be your daughter’s father. You’re just an old god reigning in the temple, Waiting there for someone to bring back what you tossed. And all your children stand back from the table, And wait until you’re finished to pick up what you’ve dropped. Must be lonely at the top. Don’t go riling up them boys, Don’t go raising lambs for slaughter, Don’t go charging out the Cavalry on every empty field you meet. But if you love harder, And maybe if you’re lucky, You can grow up, too, to be your daughter’s father-- And she don’t study war no more. She don’t study war no more. She don’t study war no more. You’re just a bullfrog stranded in the meadow, Clinging to the old songs that used to be your pond. And your child, she sprouted with her own legs And left you for the water while you yell at her to stop.
10.
Nothing Broke My Heart Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler Aren’t you supposed to love me? Didn’t I keep your dirt, didn’t I dig and till? We’re just wasting blood and time, And time is all we’ve got left to kill, So I’ve been waiting around hoping you will. What did she say about me? There’s sugar in the well, and poison in the creek. She’s been splitting dimes and hairs, And I can’t find you anywhere-- Even when you’re smiling there in front of me. I keep showing up for nothing. You keep saying nothing’s wrong. If there’s nothing left here to be forgotten, I won’t start-- But “nothing” took your tongue and broke my heart. I keep showing up for nothing, You keep saying nothing’s wrong-- When did you last call me? When did I last hear, you’ve got nothing much to say? “You know things don’t change ‘round here, Another dog-eared digger’s year.” Some things change by staying just the same. If there’s nothing left here to be forgotten, I won’t even start, But “nothing” took your tongue and broke my heart.
11.
Belly Up 05:03
Belly Up Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler Brother climbs up them bending birches. I stay grounded and watch the sky. Skinny legs shimmy up a pulled-back catapult. When I am a boy, I will climb that high. Mother loves Nature, and Nature’s an animal. Man keeps trying to catch her eye. Sets his sails across Ontario-- She won’t settle for land and sky. I saw the Hand that sank the Three Brother (Pretoria and a Hundred Others) Pretoria and a hundred others. (The Hand of the Lord isn’t Lakeside Poor) The Hand of the Lord isn’t lakeside poor Across Michigan and Superior. Don’t be tame for me. Don’t be brave for me. Don’t behave for me. Don’t come saving me. When the whole thing goes belly up, belly up (Belly up, Belly up and we’ve had enough) And the ice on Huron is breaking up (Breaking up, breaking up, we’ve had enough) God was never looking for a strong-armed man Or a woman to wait and stand by him. Don’t be tame for me. Don’t be brave for me. Don’t behave for me. Don’t come saving me. No need to pray for me, Just feel the weight with me. Ima climb up them bending birches. Makes Erie look like a paradise. Moon breaks glass of sky and water. I didn’t know ‘til I climbed that high.
12.
Old Kentucky 03:14
Old Kentucky Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler I don’t cry for your Old Kentucky, I don’t pine for your Streets of Gold. There’s a road that doesn’t want me, And a road that will lead me home. You can build your home by the ocean, Or beneath the white pine trees. May your saltgrass blow free and your lilacs be sweet-- And spare a wandering thought for me. I watch the geese fly out to meet you And someday I’ll be there, too. It’s a home that’s made of red clay, And the changing of the moon. Go and build your home in the mountains, Dreaming of the roiling sea. May your saltgrass blow free and your lilacs be sweet, And spare a wandering thought for me. I’ll call from the shaded valley Before the first year’s frost. If the Honeybells grow heavy, You’ll know that I’ve been lost. I don’t cry for your Old Kentucky. I don’t cry for your Old Kentucky. I don’t cry for your Old Kentucky.

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We’re Only Family If You Say So digs into the severed branch of a family tree, a full length record about what it takes to be family-- and what it means to lose it.

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released February 19, 2021

The Rough & Tumble is Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler
Written and performed by The Rough & Tumble

Engineered and mixed by Dave Coleman
at Howard's Apartment Studio
Produced by Dave Coleman and The Rough & Tumble
Mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering, Nashville

Mallory Graham: vocals, accordion, glockenspiel, baritone ukulele, banjulele, percussion, piano, toy piano, nose flute, melodica, noises
Scott Tyler: vocals, guitars, piano,
Taylor Donskey: vocals, upright bass, bass guitar
Chris Benelli: drums, percussion on all tracks but 7 & 13
Dave Coleman: electric guitars, baritone guitars, bass vocals on track 5, percussion
Marc Herring: pedal steel tracks 10 & 12
Ron 'Rosco' Selley: harmonica on track 5, recorded remotely by Andy Reed at Reed Recording Company in Bay City, MI

Photography by Annie Minicuci Fine Art Photography

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The Rough & Tumble Nashville, Tennessee

The Rough & Tumble are a dumpster-folk/thriftstore Americana band consisting of Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler. Their new album, We're Only Family If You Say So, is out now!

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