Old Man Markley 'Down Side Up'- Fat Wreck

This is the second full release from a bluegrass band that started out in Los Angeles back in 2007. Gigging live around the local music scene has honed the energetic sound that is part of the trademark of Old Man Markley. Think Mumford & Sons or Flogging Molly and the vocals of Annie De Temple are reminiscent of Kirsty MacColl.

There are thirteen songs here and I cannot help feeling that the set would have gained somewhat from a certain amount of trimming. The playing is earnest and the energy is high but the overall feel is one of repetition with the individual songs drifting by in a mix of banjo, fiddle, guitar and autoharp. The drumming is very prominent in the production and this does not always allow the colour of the other instruments to shine.

Seven musicians do make a wide sound but variety is somewhat lacking on repeated listens. I am sure that in a live setting, the band can really whip up a storm, but on disc the dearth of sufficient originality in the song arrangements is all too evident to these ears.