Old Man Markley

Down Side Up

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Old Man Markley are not your typical bluegrass band; in fact, they're hardly a bluegrass band at all, being as much an acoustic-based punk band as anything else. Using fiddles, autoharps, washboards, and banjos sure makes them seem like an old-time string band, but then, well, they're not, at least not exactly. With a sound that seems always full tilt and ready to jump the tracks, Old Man Markley are the result of genres merging in the 21st century, and they play with the kind of verve, passion, and abandon that punk brought into the world, but they have bluegrass precision too, catching perhaps the best of both worlds. Down Side Up is the band's second full-length, and it roars into things right out of the gate with the explosive opener, "Blood on My Hands," then hardly shifts gears through the bullet-fast "Blindfold," the romping "So Much More," and the blistering "Hand Me Down," sounding at times like Phil Ochs fronting a thrash metal band armed only with fiddles and banjos and with the throttle down all the way to the floor. If this is progressive bluegrass, and in a way it is, then it's bluegrass with drums and mosh pit aspirations, and the only direction is harder and faster, all the way to the end of the track line, where one can only hope things don't fly right off the cliff and into the great punk dancefloor in the sky.

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