His raggedy brand of music is informed by the era of 78 rpm records, juke-joints, and street performers. He composes a lot of his own songs and has a knack for re-working an old obscure tune, finding beauty in the forgotten scratches, pops and grooves of his esoteric record collection.
After winning the National Slide Guitar Competition in 2001 Rollie moved with his wife to Portland Oregon. He spent the next decade touring, performing, writing songs and playing with some of the best regional and touring musicians the West Coast offered. In 2007 along with “The Don of Division Street” and Scott McDougall he formed “Rollie Tussing & the Diminished Seven”. The band enjoyed many enduring residencies in some of Portland’s finest venues as well as a devoted following.
In 2011 with their second child on the way Rollie and his wife decided to relocate to the mid-west to be closer to family and to tap in to the artistic resources that the mid-west, east coast and southern states have to offer.
The Midwest Territory Band was born when Rollie invited bassist Serge van der Voo (Orpheum Bell, Matt Jones & the Reconstruction) and percussionist Jim Carey (FUBAR, Magic Poetry Band) over to his home to play some music under the stairs for an audience of spiders. The resulting noise made from the archtop instruments and vaudeville era percussion was stompingly intoxicating. Since that night the band has performed at festivals (Holler Fest, Burning Chair…) concert venues (The Ark, Trinity House Theater…) and recently recorded a full length vinyl LP.
Rollie continues to teach privately and through various outreach programs. When he’s not busy doing any of those things (or changing his kid’s diaper) you can probably find him busking on a corner in some small town.