Folk Roots Radio Episode 566: The Rough & Tumble In Conversation – We’re Only Family If You Say So

Folk Roots Radio Episode 566: The Rough & Tumble In Conversation - We're Only Family If You Say So

We have another great interview to share with you on Episode 566 of Folk Roots Radio. We’re big fans of multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler, and their self-styled ‘teeny tiny travelling folk band’, The Rough & Tumble. Their fabulous live show features loads of instruments, great songs and more fun than anyone is supposed to have during a house concert. Mallory and Scott join us on this episode to chat about their powerful new album “We’re Only Family If You Say So” which reflects on what it takes to be family… and what it means to lose it. It’s a fabulous recording and an excellent interview, which is why we’ve decided to dedicate the whole of this hour to it. So, settle down and enjoy… The Rough & Tumble in Conversation… on Folk Roots Radio. Check out the full playlist below.

Best 2020


Multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler have been writing and performing together since 2007, and making music as The Rough & Tumble since 2011. In 2015, they made the decision to give up their home base to hit the road in a 16ft camper van with just their two dogs for company. They had been touring consistently until the coronavirus pandemic intervened. Since coming off the road, they have been sheltering in place in a variety of locations, and currently in Tallahassee FL.

Prolific songwriters, “We’re Only Family If You Say So” is the band’s third full length album in three years, and the follow up to the very well received “Howling Back At The Wounded Dog” from 2019. “The Hardest Part” from that recording picked up Americana Song of the Year at the 2019 Independent Music Awards.

The new project, which was again produced in East Nashville by Dave Coleman, focuses on the highs and lows of family life, what it is like to set boundaries, and what it means to forgive – on a set of songs that speak to both anger and sadness, vulnerability and resilience, and the importance of living in the moment.

“You’re Not Going Alone” is one of the most powerful songs on an album of very powerful songs.

“Written in the spring of 2019 in a borrowed kitchen in Michigan, one week after the collapse of our family. This song is one that was written into the darkness, realizing that we could never go home again — not in the way we always have, if at all. But those things — like the maple tree in the front yard, or the blackberry bushes — those can still be ours. As difficult and traumatic as family severance is, we decided we didn’t have to lose everything. We didn’t have to be alone. We have as much right to a family to call our own as the family that won’t call us their own, anymore.”

You don’t need to call me by my name
You don’t need to call me by my name
You can call out to the maple trees they’ll hear you just the same
You don’t need to call me by my name.

Mallory and Scott joined us in the studio in 2019 to film a fun edition of our sister video based show, the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions – which also allowed us to check out their trailer and meet their two 100lb rescue dogs, Mud Puddle and Magpie Mae.

The Rough & Tumble released a special Halloween project in October 2020, “Be Good, Little Children: The Lullafrights, Vol. 1” a collection of scary lullabies for grown ups.

They hope to be back on the road again in 2021.

For more information about their music, visit them online at

Photo: Annie Minicuci Fine Art Photography.

That’s all we have time for. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have lots of great music and interviews to bring you on future episodes.

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!


You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)


Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

The Rough & Tumble
You Took Your Turn
We’re Only Family If You Say So (2021, Self)

Interview: Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler discussing The Rough & Tumble’s new album “We’re Only Family If You Say So”.

The Rough & Tumble
You’re Not Going Alone
We’re Only Family If You Say So (2021, Self)

The Rough & Tumble
We’re Only Family If You Say So (2021, Self)

The Rough & Tumble
Painter’s Sorrow
We’re Only Family If You Say So (2021, Self)

The Rough & Tumble
Belly Up
We’re Only Family If You Say So (2021, Self)

The Rough & Tumble
Old Kentucky
We’re Only Family If You Say So (2021, Self)

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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