TVD Premiere: Loveland Duren, “Tumbledown Hearts”

PHOTO: JAMIE HARMON | Van Duren emerged from the same burbling Ardent Studios evolutionary pond alongside Jody Stephens and Chris Bell, with whom he played in a Memphis band (and also auditioned for their onetime band Big Star). He recorded a couple of Todd Rundgren-like albums in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s that became collectors items for power pop fanatics, and inspired a couple of smitten Australian fans to to seek him out, a pilgrimage captured in their subsequent 2018 documentary, Waiting: The Van Duren Story.

Not a long-lost songwriter like Sugarman had been in his similar rediscovery documentary, Duren could easily be found right in the same rich musical territory where he was raised: Memphis. After years with his well-considered band Good Question, he has more recently been turning out duet albums with Vicki Loveland, a well-kept Memphis secret of her own.

The third Loveland Duren release, Any Such Thing on Edgewood Recordings, won’t be out until October 1, but The Vinyl District is proud to debut a track from it today, “Tumbledown Hearts.” Like a lot of their music, it’s both catchy and emotional as it addresses real relationships among grown up people.

The two say it’s “really is a song about two people finding a way to celebrate life together in spite of turmoil, misunderstandings, disappointments, and a life lived long enough to know that while rose colored glasses may not be reality, we can sure put them on if we choose to.” Such is life among creative romantics. But, they add, the song is “also about sharing companionship and comfort in an adult world with another battered but hopeful and optimistic soul.”

Kicking off the new album, Duren and Loveland trade vocals on the verses of “Tumbledown Hearts” before joining on the chorus. Taking guitar duties on the track is Adam Hill, who engineered the album at Memphis’ legendary Royal Studios, with Willie Mitchell’s son Boo Mitchell producing. Also on the album: the BTM Horns, the Rev. Charles Hodges on Hammond B-3, pedal steel guitarist Richard Alan Ford, and Probyn Gregory from the Brian Wilson Band on French horn.

While no documentary has (yet) been made about her, Loveland has sung and played percussion with such artists as Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, Alex Chilton, Tav Falco, The Box Tops, The Funk Brothers, and Low Cut Connie. The daughter of a touring professional big band singer and a popular radio DJ, she also has a degree in music and recording technology.

After recording the 2013 Bloody Cupid and 2016’s Next, Loveland Duren grew their renown by touring the indie-film circuit in Los Angeles, Australia, and Tasmania behind Waiting, as Duren’s old recordings were reissued last year on Omnivore Records—both 1978’s rare Are You Serious? and its even more obscure follow-up, Idiot Optimism, which was recorded in 1980 but only came out in Japan 19 years later after a Scientology takeover soured the relationship with the studio (a tale told in the film).

The initial track from the upcoming Any Such Thing, the soulful “Within Crying Distance,” was accompanied by a heartfelt video that we’re also showcasing here.

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