By WENDY KALE Colorado Daily Music Writer
Writing music for movies and TV shows is a plum deal for musicians. Just ask singer-songwriter Plumb and musician Mike Andrews of The Greyboy Allstars. Both artists are visiting town this week, and their repertoire of popular movie and TV scores range from Andrews' “Donnie Darko” soundtrack to Plumb's work featured in the movie “Bruce Almighty.”
Andrews plays Trilogy Friday and he's been very busy juggling his music career. Several months a year he tours with his soul/jazz outfit The Greyboy Allstars. The musician spends the rest of the year scoring movies and touring with his own song-oriented group. Andrews has also ventured into the world of record producing and has worked with artists like Gary Jules and Metric.
“My mom is a music teacher and we have a large family of eight kids, so there was always a lot of music in the family. But everything in my career has happened by chance. I started out writing songs and being in bands - I was the singer in the Origin. I remember coming to Boulder a LONG time ago, and playing on KBCO,” said Andrews.
By the mid -'90s Andrews says things “fell apart” for alt-rockers Origin, so he put his musical energies into co-founding The Greyboy Allstars. A far cry from the indie rock scene, the soul and jazz band debuted at the right time in American music history; it was a prime time for improvisational bands and the Allstars fit the bill with jam band audiences.
“The Greyboys give me the chance to improvise and be spontaneous -they're really good guys and great players. Musically they're pretty reverent to funk and soul jazz sounds,” said Andrews.
The Greyboys will be playing select festivals and tour dates this summer, and Andrews will be promoting his debut solo record in-between band dates. “Hand on String” is the title of Andrews' new solo CD, and his music is definitely written on a different page than the Greyboys' musical text book.
“I had stopped doing music for TV shows - I had worked on ‘Freaks and Geeks' and ‘Wonderfalls,” said Andrews. “It was taking up so much time and I wanted to work on my own records. I started my own label and composed this fairly mellow, personal CD. It's very acoustic and it's a culmination of everything I've ever done. It even has elements of my soundtrack work. I call it synthesized sci-fi/folk music.”
Andrews said he tried to make his music both beautiful and simple for his debut solo project. Locals will be able to hear the musician and his new band at Trilogy Friday.
The Walnut Room in downtown Denver has been scoring some top-name national acts. Fresh from national CNN entertainment coverage, singer-songwriter Plumb will be making an intimate club appearance at the room Saturday.
Plumb is the stage name for musician Tiffany Arbuckle Lee. Realizing that Tiffany sounded too much like the '80s mall queen, Lee changed her name to Plumb after listening to a favorite Suzanne Vega song.
“I was originally planning on going to nursing school, but I ended up in Nashville,” explained Plumb. “I liked what the band Garbage was doing and knew I wanted to do something like that with my music. I liked the fact that you could have a female-fronted band that had a rock edge and not be commercialized.”
Plumb has several records out, and she makes a point to write a socially relevant tune for each album. The artist has penned songs about verbal and physical abuse on past CDs, but it's her new controversial song “Cut” that attracted the CNN entertainment news team. The song is based on teenage Web sites devoted to “cutting” and has stirred a national debate on the subject.
“I don't care for music where lyrics don't have some strength,” admitted Plumb. “For me, an artist has to have an intensity in their lyrics, so the songs will be real, honest, truthful and make a mark. I can't fix the problem with teenage ‘cutters' - I'm just an artist, but I can get people to hopefully talk about it.”
When she's not writing about social problems, Plumb is busy writing songs for other artists. She's penned Michelle Branch's smash Top-40 hit “Everywhere.” And that's not all. Plumb's songs have been heard in the movies “Just Married” and “Brokedown Palace” and on the TV shows “Felicity” and “Roswell.” The musician's also written songs for “American Idol” finalist Kimberly Locke.
Saturday Plumb gets the chance to perform her own music at the Walnut Room in Denver.