'Listen ... it's Plumb season!'
From confessional intimacies to passionate intensities, feminine yet strong, the voice is a pure and perfect rock & roll instrument. And on Chaotic Resolve, her new Curb release, this remarkable artist uses it to deliver her most personal album to date.
Its songs follow Plumb's tradition of tackling sensitive issues and pointing the way toward resolution. Her lyrics embrace those who suffer to the point of damaging themselves ("Cut"), or celebrate the simplicity ("Blush") and complexity ("Jekyll and Hyde") of romance, or dance in playful rhymes that mask more serious insights into life ("Motion"). Every word on Chaotic Resolve offers hope for the hopeless and love to the lonely.
Plumb's music has been heard on major film soundtracks ('Bruce Almighty,' 'Just Married,' 'View from the Top,' 'Brokedown Palace,' 'Drive Me Crazy,' 'The Perfect Man,' etc.) and TV series' such as 'Dawson's Creek,' 'Felicity,' 'ER,' 'Roswell,' etc. And, major artists such as Michelle Branch, Mandy Moore, Kimberly Locke, and Jennifer Paige have all recorded her songs.
Chatting recently with Plumb, I first noted that as she made records that were honest reflections of her own life, just how much of a cathartic experience this recording had actually turned out to be? "SONGWRITING IS EXTREMELY THERAPUTIC FOR ME. MY RECORDS ARE A JOURNAL OF EMOTIONS I FEEL AND PURGING THOSE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS REVEAL TO ME, IF TO NO ONE ELSE, TRUTH. AND THAT'S WHEN YOU START TO GROW. WHEN TRUTH STARES YOU IN THE FACE IT CAN BE PAINFUL. BUT YOU GROW STRONGER BECAUSE OF IT. SO INEVITABLY, EVERY RECORD IS A SUCCESS TO ME, BECAUSE I GROW THRU MAKING THEM."
Your album titles have never been generic, so was 'Chaotic Resolve' always to be the final album title? "I CHOSE THE TITLE BEFORE ANY SONGS WERE REALLY CHOSEN. IT REPRESENTED WHERE I WAS AT EMOTIONALLY AND WHAT I WANTED THE ALBUM TO REFLECT AS A WHOLE. NOT JUST A SONG OR TWO."
With all the constant comparisons to the vocal traits of Evanescence's Amy Lee freely abounding [although Lee's own citation that she was in fact vocally influenced by YOU is high praise indeed], do they help or harm you as you progress along the media way for this album? "I DON'T THINK BEING COMPARED TO SOMETHING OR SOMEONE THAT'S BEEN SUCCESSFUL CAN EVER BE AN ENTIRELY BAD THING. I'M FLATTERED BY SUCH A COMPLIMENT."
At what point did Tiffany Arbuckle Lee become 'Plumb' ... and why that name in particular? "UPON SIGNING! MY LABEL ASKED ME TO CHANGE MY NAME SO I CHOSE PLUMB FROM A SONG TITLED 'MY FAVORITE PLUM' BY ONE OF MY BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES, SUZANNE VEGA. MY PRODUCER, FRIEND AND CO-WRITING PARTNER MATT BRONLEEWE SUGGESTED I ADD THE' 'B' TO THE END. SO I'VE SAID THE 'B' IN PLUMB IS FOR THE BRONLEEWE INFLUENCE. HE JUST LAUGHS."
Do you feel that your relocation to Nashville was one of those roads to destiny that had you not taken we wouldn't be talking here today? "I BELIEVE LIFE IS MADE UP OF CHOICES THAT HAVE OPPORTUNITY. I MADE A CHOICE THAT HAS BROUGHT OPPORTUNITY FOR PLUMB TO EXIST. ITS HARD TO SPECULATE WHETHER OR NOT I'D BE HERE DOING THIS HAD I NOT MADE THAT CHOICE. BUT CHANCES ARE THOUGH I WOULDN'T."
What was going through your mind back in 1999, having parted ways with your first label and wondering just what you were doing with your life? Before Curb came in with their offer, where were you nearly headed and to what? "ANGUISH! IT WAS INDEED THE HARDEST TIME AND DECISION I'VE EVER MADE. I HAD RESOLVED BEFORE CURB'S OFFER TO BE A CAREER SONGWRITER, AND I'M STILL HOPEFUL THAT SONGWRITING IS STILL WHAT I'LL BE UP TO IN THE NURSING HOME! WITH MY OWN GEREATRIC STUDIO. IT'S OKAY TO LAUGH HERE ...!"
You've done a lot of soundtrack work over the years, so what draws you to such musical projects ... and do you take your friends to see these movies and just as your song is heard, excitedly make them aware of the fact with a nudge in the ribs and a huge smile on your face?! "FILM PORTRAYS DRAMA AND MY SONGS TELL STORIES THAT OFTEN SUIT THE SCENE. FOR THAT I FEEL FORTUNATE BECAUSE ITS QUITE THE HIGH TO TAKE 10 FRIENDS TO A FLICK AND TURN RED IN THE DARK THEATER! BUT NOT RED ENOUGH TO NOT LEAVE IN ORDER TO SEE YOUR NAME ROLL WITH THE END CREDITS."
'Blush' - When was the last time someone made you literally blush in public ... and why?! "I WAS RECENTLY REPRIMANDED IN PUBLIC OVER SOMETHING VERY TRIVIAL. THEY APOLOGIZED 3 DAYS LATER. BUT WHETHER IN THE RIGHT OR WRONG ONE OF THE VERY FEW THINGS THAT CAN TURN MY FACE PINK, BESIDES SWEET ROMANCE, IS PUBLICALLY BEING HUMILIATED ... AND I WAS!"
'I Can't Do This' - Having started a project, do you eventually say this or do you accomplish everything that you set your mind to? "NO, I DON'T ACCOMPLISH EVERYTHING I'D LIKE TO EVEN WHEN I TRY TO PUT MY MIND TO DOING IT. SOMEHOW I GET EASILY DISTRACTED. BUT THE FEW THINGS I DO HURDLE ARE ONLY BY THE PRESENCE OF COMMUNITY. NOT DOING ANYTHING TRULY 'BY MYSELF' IS HOW I CAN GET ANYTHING DONE. WE'RE NEVER TRULY ALONE."
'Good Behavior' - What happened the last time you WEREN'T on your best behavior?! "I GOT 3 TRAFFIC TICKETS IN ONE MONTH. AND ALTHOUGH AWARDED TRAFFIC SCHOOL ON ALL ACCOUNTS I'VE HAD A FEW BORING NIGHTS IN THE COURTROOM LEARNING HOW TO MAKE TURN SIGNALS WITH MY ARM IF MY BLINKER BURNS OUT!"
'Sleep' - Do you have a recurring dream/nightmare that you can please reveal to us?! "I DREAM LIKE CRAZY BUT ALWAYS FORGET THEM."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "LOVED, LOVED, ... LOVED JANET JACKSON. I THINK I'D TRY 'BLACK CAT' OFF THE RHYTHM NATION ALBUM."
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other known musicians to aid you in the project, who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "WOW! WHAT A QUESTION! I THINK I'D WANT TO PLAY WITH POE, ROBERT SMITH AND DAVE GROHL. POE WOULD PRODUCE AND SING BGV'S. ROBERT SMITH WOULD PLAY GUITAR AND VARIOUS MISC. TRINKETS HE KNOWS HOW TO PLAY AS WELL AS BGV'S. AND DAVE WOULD PLAY DRUMS AND ADDITIONAL GUITARS. I WOULD ATTEMPT THE BASS BUT WOULD CALL IN SOMEONE ELSE IF I COULDN'T CUT IT, BUT WOULD WRITE THE ACTUAL SONG ITSELF CALLED 'SAVE US' AND SING LEAD. I JUST MADE ALL THAT UP VERY QUICKLY! WHAT AN INTERESTING QUESTION :)"
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "UM ... SURE! ALTHOUGH THEY DO REMIND ME OF MY 10TH GRADE PROM DATE. IF YOU ONLY KNEW ...!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk