Old Man Markley brings newgrass to Ray's Golden Lion on Jan. 14

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 7, 2014 

Old Man Markley


Old Man Markley makes its way to the Tri-Cities on Jan. 14 for a gig at Ray's Golden Lion in Richland.

And this is no run-of-the-mill band, said Ray's promoter Jeff Williams.

The Southern California band doesn't play traditional bluegrass; it's called newgrass, which is bluegrass flavored with elements of punk rock and a whole lot of boot stomping, the band's website states.

The band's namesake comes from its washboard player Ryan Markley, said fiddler Katie Weed.

"He's still a young guy, but he was dubbed Old Man Markley by friends many years ago," Weed told the Herald via email. "His chronically bad back makes him hobble around sometimes, bent at the waist, belying his actual age. Plus, his favorite food is soup."

The rest of the group includes guitarist Johnny Carey, autoharpist Annie DeTemple, bassist Joey Garibaldi, drummer Jeff Fuller and banjoman John Rosen.

Doors open at 8 p.m. Music starts at 8:30 p.m. Opening for Old Man Markley will be The Savage Henrys and JFKFC. Cover is $10. The event is open to all ages.

Weed describes newgrass as an umbrella term that covers a broad range of nontraditional bluegrass, including Old Man Markley's own blend of bluegrass and punk.

"The term means different things to different people," she said. "Landscapers may already know that newgrass also is a synthetic grass product used in lieu of regular grass to save water and help the environment. We really like to help the environment."

The band's debut album, Guts n' Teeth, was released in 2011 and reached No. 8 on the bluegrass Billboard charts.

Since then, Markley has shared a stage with Flogging Molly, Bad Religion, The Reverend Horton Heat and The Descendants.

Williams couldn't be happier to enlist an Old Man Markley gig for Tri-City music lovers.

"Old Man Markley is a very listener-friendly band that can please the most technical musician at the same time," Williams said. "They know how to rule their instruments, they have high energy and they are chipping away at the national scene. They're simply awesome."

Weed agrees that there is a definite pulse of high energy going on when Old Man Markley hits the stage, even if Markley has a bad back.

"Ryan is often the pulse of the band onstage," she said. "He's magnetic and really a joy to watch."

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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