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Monday, March 10, 2014

THE OLY MOUNTAIN BOYS Thank Supportive Fans With Great Gifts -- Campaign Ends Wednesday

Photo courtesy of The Oly Mountain Boys
Bluegrass music found a home in the Pacific Northwest shortly after WWII, but decades later, a band called The Oly Mountain Boys is now giving this genre a uniquely Northwest flavor. They are: Tye Menser-lead vocals and banjo, Josh Grice-fiddle, Dereck McSwain-mandolin and vocals, Chris Rutledge-guitar and vocals, and Phil Post-bass, dobro, and vocals. This bluegrass band is boldly carving new paths through the world of bluegrass and the Northwest music scene. I contacted Josh Grice—who also plays violin with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra—to learn the latest news.

Although The Oly Mountain Boys love, and regularly perform, traditional bluegrass tunes by Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Don Reno, and others, they get raves for their original material as well. Grice pointed out that most bluegrass songs refer to places where it was first heard, like North Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia, but by now, this music’s popularity has spread all over. They're creating a Northwest brand.

“We have the bluegrass instrumentation and inspiration, but we’re writing all our songs about a character from the Pacific Northwest,” Grice said. “We’re writing about Pacific Northwest landscapes. We’re writing about Pacific Northwest history. The music is all about that.” In other words, a wide audience can find plenty of ways to relate to the band’s great lyrics and storytelling style, whether or not they already love bluegrass. 

Since I first heard these musicians perform live, at the 2013 Proctor Arts Fest in Tacoma, momentum has continued to build. They gather fans as quickly as Earl Scruggs could pick a banjo. Those fans are rallying to support their current  Kickstarter campaign to finance a new concept album called “White Horse,” an exciting and innovative project that is more than just another CD. 

“We’re making it kind of multi-media,” Grice explained. “We have a bunch of writers who are contributing content that is going to get woven into a little booklet that comes with the CD. We have at least one visual artist that’s working on something. We’re kind of open to wherever it goes from there.” Referring to this concept album, Grice said, “It’s something that, as far as we know, no one’s ever done, and it’s about the place that we’re from.”

With the help of fans, they’ve covered the basic costs, but the campaign ends on Wednesday, March 12 and the hope is that enough will be raised to also cover hiring a promotion company. You still have time to help out. Contributing at even the starting level of $12 will reward you with a digital download of the CD, and contributions at higher levels range from an autographed CD, T-shirts, your name in the credits, house concert invitations, clear up to having the band play a live private concert at your own event. Have a look at the details yourself, right here.

As original and innovative as they are, The Oly Mountain Boys’ sound still gives you that down-home feeling, only this time, it’s about a home in the Northwest.  Check the website to see the locations of their many upcoming shows, then come meet the Northwest band making bluegrass music our region's own. 

FRIDAY, MARCH 21st, 9pm, $8/$6 student - Royal Lounge with HILLSTOMP!, Olympia WA.
SATURDAY, MARCH 29th, 10pm, $15/$12 advance - Olympia Acoustic Music Festival, Olympia WA.
SATURDAY, APRIL 12th, 7pm, $5 - Jeremy's Farm to Table, Chehalis WA.
SATURDAY, APRIL 26th, 9pm, $5 - AndyinOly Presents Artswalk with the Oly Mountain Boys & The Blackberry Bushes, Olympia WA. Details to come!

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