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Release Info: Old Man Markley: Guts n\' Teeth (2011)
Funny enough, Old Man Markley’s Guts n’ Teeth has just reinforced a discussion I had. We were chatting about the current state of rock and alternative music, and we both agreed that we’re noticing a lot more bands tinkering with genre fusion and the addition of non-traditional rock instruments into their sound. Then, boom! I hear Old Man Markley's Guts n’ Teeth, which is the embodiment of everything we discussed. I know Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly have already done a similar thing for over a decade, hear me out: Guts n’ Teeth is different. Why? Because it’s a really novel sound, much like when The Gaslight Anthem popped up on the scene. I mean, really, when’s the last time you heard a bluegrass punk band in 2011 or 2012?
Notice how I said bluegrass first? Instead of throwing in a few bluegrass influences to mask a predominant punk sound, Old Man Markley have actually done the opposite – they’re a bluegrass band, first and foremost, with traces of punk! Don’t believe me? Well, these are the instruments used in their sound: guitar, bass, drums, autoharp, washboard, fiddle, mandolin and banjo. Between the 8 instrumentalists, the vocal duties are shared between 4 of the members, with Johnny Carey being the only lead singer. It actually works out very well, especially on the saloon-fighting number titled ‘Do Me Like You Do’ – I felt like smashing a barstool over someone's head after hearing this track (did I say that out loud?).
In terms of freshness, Guts n’ Teeth deserves full marks. Nevertheless, I understand that not everyone will be a fan of a skanking hoedown. Nonetheless, I have to share my absolute favourite line, which appears on ‘Lowdown Blues’: “Every side I wake up on is the wrong side of the bed.” Yeehaw!
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