Tyne Darling is a Milwaukee, WI-based musician. Sometimes, though, he lives in Brooklyn. He has some black-ink tattoos on both of his arms. His music works to conjure elements of both Raymond Carver and Greg Dulli. He’s toured throughout the U.S., Europe, and Canada, played festivals such as SXSW, Wakarusa, and CMJ, and supported the likes of Richard Buckner, Charlie Mars, Dale Watson, and The Bottlerockets. In 2016, Tyne Darling will release a new LP entitled, These Ghosts. Occasionally, Tyne Darling publishes stories under the name Tom Vollman. He really likes Kurt Vonnegut, Two Cow Garage, Tillie Olsen, Joan Didion, Tom Colicchio, Willy Vlautin, and Albert Camus.
@tynedarling (Twitter, Instagram)
Youth or Something Beautiful Release Information (scheduled Spring 2019):
The spring of 2019 marks the release of Youth or Something Beautiful, the third studio LP from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Tyne Darling. Like its predecessor (2016’s These Ghosts), Youth or Something Beautiful is anchored in its lyrical elements, a reflection on youth, maturity, parenthood, hope, and ambition. Youth or Something Beautiful continues to investigate the genre of Americana, pushing its traditional thresholds farther into the realm of alternative rock. The thirteen original compositions and one cover song that comprise Youth or Something Beautiful are each based upon short stories or creative nonfiction pieces written by Tyne Darling’s songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist, Tommy Vollman. These songs attempt to articulate fundamental elements of human condition-level experience in relation to the process of evaluating and defining one’s relationship with and to one’s creative pursuits as they collide with, augment, shape, and are shaped by love, death, friendship, parenthood, loss, grief, hope, and joy. Fundamentally, Youth or Something Beautiful is aimed at elevating and exploring both the nature and scope of agency and utility as they function within art. The record continues the work of These Ghosts in seeking to metaphorically demonstrate how one's worldview can simultaneously shape and be shaped by one's own experience.
Recorded at various locations including Milwaukee’s Hope Lab Studios, Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmot, the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, and the New York Palace, Youth or Something Beautiful articulates textures and dimensions that consider the possibility of a seemingly paradoxical stability within the very nature of change. The record’s underlying message is one of optimism in the face of unpredictability and uncertainty, a move toward authenticity via vulnerability.
“As was the case with These Ghosts, the process of writing, recording, and mixing Youth or Something Beautiful was an exercise in refining my own perspectives and allowing these songs to emerge from an organic space,” Vollman states. “In many instances, songs emerged from within songs. A majority of the tracks on the record were composed, drafted, and recorded in different incarnations—sometimes in multiple incarnations. At that point, I began stripping away elements, splicing clips, re-recording, and editing in order to challenge the song to find its own space, its own voice. Despite the fact that it became a process of deconstruction, which in-and-of-itself required a good deal of patience and experimentation, the result was quite liberating. I began to think about songwriting in a whole new manner, about articulations and the ability for resonance within a particular track. The process of editing, rewriting, then re-recording the new versions of these former incarnations became an opportunity for me let go of, challenge, and question certain constraints and/or moves that I’ve employed in the past.”
"I put these songs through the paces,” Vollman continues. “The process made sense—in a systematic way. I tested and challenged each of these songs, which in turn, tested and challenged me as a writer, musician, and, perhaps most importantly, as an individual. The process of articulating these songs in an authentic way forced me to confront some things I’d probably have rather left unexplored. The result, I think, is an attempt to honestly—at least as honestly as I’m able—capture and my thoughts and feelings, my hopes and dreams, which sounds silly and perhaps even a little trite, but I don’t feel like it is actually silly or trite at all. In fact, it’s anything but silly or trite. In embracing and fostering the unknown quality of these songs, I encouraged them. What emerged is the record—the songs—and they have a voice, space, and spirit of their own. I became a sort of facilitator, really. In the end, the songs represent my own love of language, rhythm, hope, and experience.”
Overall, Youth or Something Beautiful is an intimate set of stories crafted in a personal manner with aims at broader resonance. “I’m not naive enough to think these songs are universal, but I do hope that I’ve captured my thoughts and feelings in such a way as to reflect the essential context of what others are observing, feeling, thinking, and reflecting. I suppose I hope that these songs work to stoke the embers of critical consideration. I’m not looking to start a revolution, but I’d love it if this record prompted listeners to explore the vast spaces of uncertainty, the impulses that drive and push us all from one place to the next. There’s a commonality there, I think, one that needs to be fostered. We’re all in this thing together, and it’s critically important not to lose track of that fact. We might not all want the same things, but our reasons for wanting what we do essentially stems from the same root.”
“Collectively, individually,” Vollman adds, “we’re all sort of hoping for, leaning toward and on, and believing in the power of tomorrow, of the future as we’d like to see it. The funny or ironic or wild thing is that none of us are really even sure what that future—that tomorrow—even looks like. We’re not even sure it’ll come, but we still hope and lean and believe just the same. Human beings are curious and confused, but we’re also beautiful. Our experiences, our dreams, our ambitions are, themselves, beautiful. I think that in our youths we’re perhaps more in tune with those things, but then as we age, we maybe become a little cynical, a little insecure, even a little fearful. We couch those insecurities and fears in a our perceptions—our realities—and we fully immerse ourselves in jobs and whatnot. And all of that is okay—to an extent—provided we stay in touch with the essential sparks of what it means to be us on an individual, personal level. For me, those sparks shine brightest when they’re reflected through my family, my words, my stories, and my songs. Youth of Something Beautiful is my attempt to kindle and share those same, essential sparks. This record is my attempt to light up my own world and maybe, just maybe, provide a little light for other folks, as well. I should only be so lucky to have that opportunity.”
These Ghosts Release Information (November 2016):
These Ghosts is the second, full-length studio release from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based, Tyne Darling. Powered by deconstructed hooks and melodic arrangements, These Ghosts is anchored in thoughtfully-crafted lyrics and genre-bending stylistic approaches. The nine songs that comprise These Ghosts metaphorically demonstrate how one's worldview can simultaneously shape and be shaped by one's own experience.
Tyne Darling is the musical and stage moniker for the writer and artist, Tommy Vollman, whose fiction and non-fiction has been published in magazines, journals, and other outlets in both the United States and Europe. Vollman’s forthcoming novel further blurs the lines between overlapping creative aspects. Conceptually, each song on These Ghosts is tied to a companion short story (either currently published or in the process of publication) that explores embedded themes and constructs.
Recorded primarily on the road at spaces across America including Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmot, the St. James Hotel in New Orleans, and NYC’s Ludlow, These Ghosts showcases textures and dimensions that reflect the notion that while individual experiences are implicitly unique, aspects of the human condition push people toward recognizable faces, reminiscent landscapes and spaces, and messages seemingly heard before. As a result, a level of commonality emerges where individuals can find a certain sense of paradoxical stability within the very nature of change. The underlying message, then, is one of hope—an acknowledgement of the power to both affect and be affected by thoughts, actions, and experiences. These Ghosts channels Tyne Darling's energetic and straightforward live performances and incorporates a multi-instrumental approach.
"The process was pretty strange, to be honest,” states Tommy Vollman. "I put these songs through the paces—touring, demoing, editing, rewriting, and reconfiguring them multiple times. While the process made sense—in a systematic way—the very nature of this type of approach has, prior to this record, been rather foreign to me. Normally, I write a batch of songs, tour on them briefly, then make a record. This time, I sat on the songs—I got to know them, inside and out. I tested and challenged them, which in turn, tested and challenged me. What survived—or rather what emerged—is These Ghosts. The record—the songs—proved they had a life of their own. I became a sort of facilitator, really.”
These Ghosts works to balance the traditional, open-ended rock ethos with Americana attributes. The songs honor their functional and theoretical origins. For example, “Valentine Heart", the record's opening track, builds steadily, then evolves into a crescendo-type chorus. The song, based upon a Vollman-penned short story, “Miscarriage”, examines the after-effects and residual thoughts surrounding the loss of an unborn child. The chorus issues pleas to “stay young, forever” and ruminates upon the sensibilities of experience and their seeming insignificance in the face of death and tragedy. Overall, the song works to obliterate the paradigm of perceived powerlessness, replacing it instead with a bounty of hope and mindfulness as it relates to the present moment.
The opening track’s final refrain gives way to the up-tempo, pounding “Love/40”, a song that examines the resistance/rebellion dichotomy, siding squarely with a notion that it is not one’s potential that matters, but rather one’s choices that constitute the foundation and framework of experience. Born out of Vollman’s short story “Me and Don Baylor” (published in both the Fredericksburg Literary & Arts Review and Foliate Oak Literary Review in 2016), “Love/40” contemplates the connection (and disconnection) between one’s ambition and desires and one’s reality and experienced outcomes. Of the song, Vollman states, “I was in Brooklyn, after load-in at a club in Park Slope, and these kids were on the street with skateboards. I watched them as they mixed whiskey and Coke right there on the sidewalk. They shared it out of a 2-liter. The craziest thing, though, was that they passed around a dog-eared copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, and read passages out loud as they drank and skated. It was crazy—I felt like I was in a movie or something. Still, the energy they exuded was amazing. I worked to try and capture that—that spirit and authenticity. I think what happened there—what I saw—was important.”
“Loved By Wolves”, which finds its roots in Vollman’s short story “Thirteen” (published by the NC-based Palaver), is a subtle nod to the Columbus, OH-based rock band, Two Cow Garage. The dreamy “Satchel Paige” (which carries threads of Tommy’s story, “Shoeless” published by Dark Matters Journal in 2015) reminisces upon the actual, as well as metaphorical weight of the great Kansas City Monarchs pitcher.
“Red-Letter Holiday” and “Come All You Ghosts" both offer a no-holds-barred examination of the nature of rebellion and its polemic, resistance. Each song is invigorated by strains of unapologetic honesty and vulnerability—a combination that conjures a sense of power that is simultaneously engaging and explosive. Both songs parallel the stories “Ketchup Sandwiches” (published by Pithead Chapel) and “We Set Fire to Conviction” (published in The Critical Pass Review).
“Nora & James”, ostensibly a love song, anchors itself in a softly-swelling melody, which gives way to a bristling chorus that both celebrates and laments the tangled, unpredictable nature of relationships. “I wrote a short story ‘Abe Lincoln’, which appeared in Per Contra a few years ago. It ruminates on relationships and hope. One night, when I was editing, a melody popped into my head. I started taking phrases out of ‘Abe Lincoln’ to populate the melody. Some of those phrases took root and evolved into lyrics. That process was, I think, pretty special. It fortified the connection between what I do with regard to my stories and what I do in these songs.”
The somber, yet reflective “Dear, Jimmy”—inspired by Vollman’s story “Jimmy”, which appeared in Two Cities Review, Literary Orphans Magazine, Empty Sink Literary Journal, and Gival Press’ ArLiJo—is rooted in Tommy’s stark and overt consideration of his friendship with journalist James Foley. The song conspires with a dream Tommy had shortly after Foley’s death. “I don’t really even know where to begin,” Vollman states. “Jimmy’s death hit hard. I recognized right away, we were all in it together. At first, that didn’t seem like that much, but I soon it was everything—maybe the only thing. There was a memorial service for Jim at Marquette—where we all did our undergrads. It was simultaneously the most beautiful and awful thing I’d ever witnessed. After the service, a whole bunch of us went to a bar and started telling stories, toasting Jimmy. Late in the evening, just before bar time, a friend of mine grabbed me and pulled me close. ‘Finish the story,’ he said. ‘Finish the story.’ For a while, I didn’t really know what that meant. I started writing the story before the song. There were lines and phrases that didn't fit into the structure and scope of the story, and I just didn’t know what to do with them. For a long time, I didn’t do anything. I remember thinking Who am I to write this? How do I have the right? How can this even begin to be anything close to representative of Jim? One night, I stopped asking those questions—I just got tired, I guess. Right away, the song fell out. Then I had to decide if I’d record it. That decision wasn’t easy. I’m glad, though, that I did.”
These Ghosts is book-ended by a cover—Two Cow Garage’s “Death of the Self-Preservation Society”, a synth-driven cousin of the original punk-and-guts powerhouse. The record’s arrangements echo its emotive and engaging tracks and leave room for both interpretation and introspection—devices welcome among the likes of genre-crossing writers such as Raymond Carver, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Didion, and Charles Baxter.
Tyne Darling has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada, played festivals such as SXSW, Wakarusa, Midpoint Music, and CMJ, and supported the likes of Richard Buckner, Charlie Mars, Dale Watson, and The Bottlerockets. Tyne Darling’s music has been licensed for and appeared in television programs, films, and documentaries that have aired on MTV, VH1, Discovery Channel, Bravo, A&E, Oxygen, NFL and MLB Networks, and History Channel, among others.