The Tumbleweed Jumpers: Rolling out Americana Folk music in Goshen

The Tumbleweed Jumpers started when Scott Lehman wanted to propose to his girlfriend around two years ago. They have since released a new EP and almost brought the stage down at the South by South Bend Music Festival.

Posted on June 6, 2014 at 8:14 p.m.

Listen to The Tumbleweed Jumpers talk with Truth Radio 1340 about how a marriage proposal brought them together and starting a dance party at the South by South Bend Music Festival.

It all started with a marriage proposal for Americana Folk band The Tumbleweed Jumpers.

“I was looking for some musicians to, basically, rouse my girlfriend into proposing,” said guitarist and trombonist Scott Lehman.

Lehman lived with two other musicians at the time, who would later join him on stage at downtown Goshen’s First Fridays around two years ago.

“I proposed and then that created another gig we had to play for the wedding,” Lehman said. “Then like a tumbleweed rolling and picking up stuff, we started picking up members.”

But the band was not always called The Tumbleweed Jumpers. They used to call themselves Gas Station Sushi but realized it wasn’t going to take them where they wanted to go.

“[We] heatedly discussed for five months and with nine people, it’s really hard to make a decision,” Lehman said. “And it was one of those things where we’re like, ‘Hey, is this okay?’ and we all said yes.”

The name even inspires the nine members of the band to jump over a tumbleweed before some of their performances. They start at the entrance of a venue and walk in a single file towards the stage, with drummer Jon Faloon playing his toms to the swelling chorus of a sea shanty.

Despite its size, the band hardly ever butts heads with one another. In fact, they have a harder time fighting.

“More often than not, we’re too afraid to step on each other’s toes and put ourselves out there,” said guitarist Logan Miller. “We’ve been doing a lot more with trying to assert ourselves and put ourselves out there.”

“However, when someone brings a song to the group, that person is the leader of that song.”

When guitarist and vocalist Mitchell McLane wrote the song “Dragons”, he had the take charge when band members tried to derive some deeper meaning from the song.

“I was just sitting out on the front porch with a guitar, making up a riff, creating a melody, and I started singing about dragons,” McLane said. “I must have had The Hobbit book stuck in my head.”

“Our band discussed it to where it got out of hand so it’s like, no no no,” McLane said. “It’s a song about dragons. Let’s keep it at that.”

Listen or download The Tumbleweed Jumpers’ ’Dragons’ at the link below.

The subjects of The Tumbleweed Jumpers’ songs are as fluid as their sound.

“Honestly, there are nine of us and there are nine different opinions always,” Lehman said. “There are nine different likes and dislikes over each facet of what we’re doing.”

“A lot of us play a lot of different instruments and have a lot of different influences. I think The Tumbleweed Jumpers will never stay the same.”

You can find The Tumbleweed Jumper’s new EP, “Tether to the Weather”, at the Ignition Music Garage in Goshen or purchase it online at iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby.com. You can also watch The Tumbleweed Jumpers perform at the Arts on the Millrace event at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 7, at the Powerhouse in Goshen. The event is free.


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