OL' YELLER

OL' YELLER

Rich Mattson aus Iron Range, Minnesota hat sich in den letzten Jahren einen ausgesprochen guten Namen als vielversprechender Songwriter gemacht. Er ist sehr kreativ, schafft es aber irgendwie, nicht im Scheinwerferlicht zu stehen., trotz mehrerer Versuche, die Aufmerksamkeit von Major-Labels zu erzielen. Nach 12 Jahren und vier hochgelobten Alben mit seiner ersten Band, The Glenrustlers, beschloss er im Jahr 2000, seine ganze Energie in ein neues Projekt zu stecken. Ol’ Yeller waren geboren.

„Ich habe schon vor langer Zeit den Namen Ol’ Yeller mit mir herumgetragen. Es war damals, als Robbie Gilboe die Band verlassen hatte und ich überlegte, eine neue Band zu gründen,“ erklärt Mattson. „Mir hat der Name gefallen, weil – nun, ich bin über 27, das heißt ALT – ich immer auf der Bühne stehe und am Ende eines Auftritts einen Schrei von mir gebe. Das ist also der ‚YELLER’ in mir.“

Das Trio um Mattson, Drummer Keely Lane und Bassist/Keyboarder/Background Vocalist Dale Kallman verbringen die meiste Zeit on the road, spielen vor unterschiedlichen Zuschauermengen mit entsprechendem Enthusiasmusdes Publikums und schreiben Songs über diese Erlebnisse. Ol’ Yeller mögen am liebsten die Vorstellung, „das Beste eines CCR-, Buffalo Springfield-, Byrds- und Rolling Stones-Konzertes einzufangen, aber nur wenn es in einer Scheune stattfindet.“

Im April 2001 war das Debütalbum, einfach Ol’ Yeller genannt, auf ihrem eigenen Label SMA Records (wie „Start Making Albums“ – oder – „Suck My Ass“, was immer davon abhängt, mit wem man sich unterhält, so Mattson) erschienen, und Amy Carlson schrieb ein sehr gutes Review für das „No Depression“-Magazin im September 2001: “For over a decade, Rich Mattson fronted the Glenrustlers, one of the toughest roots-rock bands in the Twin Cities. Ol’ Yeller, though Mattson tends to keep some of that gritty, classic sound, everything feels like a much mellower, more thoughtful endeavor. The pop sensibility of guitar ace Randy Casey (who has since parted ways with the band) makes for a nice match with Mattson's piercing guitar and gravely growl. The band has a real knack for pretty harmonies, country-soaked toe tappers and solid, moving tunes. Recording at Mattson's Flowerpot studio, Ol' Yeller got a little help from pedal steel ace Eric Heywood and their solid rhythm section of Keely Lane (Trailer Trash) and Dale Kallman. Their self-titled debut is quality Americana for anyone who likes a glass of wine with their meat and potatoes.”

Im Februar 2002 erschien der Nachfolger Nuzzle, wieder auf SMA Records, und nichts hat sich an der Einstellung in Mattsons Entschlossenheit geändert, mit seinen ehrlichen Texten und dem bandeigenen Sound, der allgemein als „Alt. Country“ missverstanden wird, neue Fans zu gewinnen. Ol’ Yeller sind nirgends diesem Genre nahe, aber es klingt manchmal danach, einfach wie die Byrds mit ihrem typischen Gitarrensound danach geklungen haben. Nuzzle war der Beweis, wie man mit der „Do It Yourself“-Methode als Musiker trotz einer kleinen Fangemeinde und wenig Geld überleben kann.

Nachdem die Band 2002 und 2003 beim SXSW-Festival in Austin, Texas teilgenommen haben, zogen sie die Aufmerksamkeit von Blue Rose auf sich. Man einigte sich auf einen Deal, und so erscheint das 3. Album der Band mit dem Titel Penance erstmals auf einem „richtigen“ Label.


Iron Range native Rich Mattson has really made a name for himself as one of today's most promising songwriters. Rich is a hardworking creative prodigy who somehow manages to avoid the spotlight. Despite numerous attempts to catch the attention of major labels; after 12 years and four critically-acclaimed albums with his first group, Minneapolis' beloved mainstay the Glenrustles, in 2000 he decided to focus his efforts on a new project with some new collaborators. Enter Ol' Yeller.

“I had thought of the name Ol' Yeller back a long time ago when Robbie Gilboe left the group and I was pondering starting a new band”, Mattson explains. “I liked the name because, as I was over 27, that is OLD, and seeing that I screamed myself hoarse by the end of every gig, well, that's the "yeller" in me. Also I hate to mention I can be kind of a wuss at times (come on, who can't?) and I just love my yellow dog. Hey, the old Disney movie was pretty good too!”

"Don't you know I'm just a poet, honey; I write songs and hang out with flunkies/There's too many dreams to remember; all of them [live in the burning embers]," sings Rich Mattson on the band’s second long-player Nuzzle, released in early 2002. As that song ("Under the Tree") suggests, the trio (Mattson, drummer Keely Lane and bassist/keyboardist/background vocalist Dale Kallman) spends much of their time touring the country, playing shows to crowds of various sizes and varying enthusiasms, and writing songs about it. Ol’ Yeller like to think they capture “the best of a CCR, Buffalo Springfield, Byrds, and Rolling Stones concert, only if it took place in a barn”.

In April 2001 the band’s debut album, simply entitled Ol’ Yeller, had been released on their own label SMA Records (Start Making Albums - or - Suck My Ass, depends on who you’re talking to, according to Mattson), and Amy Carlson did a great review for No Depression magazine in the September 2001 issue: “For over a decade, Rich Mattson fronted the Glenrustlers, one of the toughest roots-rock bands in the Twin Cities. Ol’ Yeller, though Mattson tends to keep some of that gritty, classic sound, everything feels like a much mellower, more thoughtful endeavor. The pop sensibility of guitar ace Randy Casey (who has since parted ways with the band) makes for a nice match with Mattson's piercing guitar and gravely growl. The band has a real knack for pretty harmonies, country-soaked toe tappers and solid, moving tunes. Recording at Mattson's Flowerpot studio, Ol' Yeller got a little help from pedal steel ace Eric Heywood and their solid rhythm section of Keely Lane (Trailer Trash) and Dale Kallman. Their self-titled debut is quality Americana for anyone who likes a glass of wine with their meat and potatoes.”

In February 2002 the follow-up Nuzzle was released, again on SMA Records, and nothing in the years of rejections has changed Mattson's determination of winning over legions of fans with his honest lyrics and a trademark sound that generally is mistaken as "alt country." Ol' Yeller is nowhere near that genre, but its sound borders on it much as the Byrds did with their jangly guitar sound. Nuzzle was a testament to the DIY aesthetic of surviving as musicians tour to the tune of little fans and less money. The opening track, "Out There," is a tribute to choochtown proprietor Ed Hamell, whose steadfast life on the road as Hamell On Trial has made him a modern-day pioneer. The majority of the other songs depict scenes from Ol' Yeller's touring hardships and livin'-in-a-tour-van blues.

After performing at SXSW in Austin twice (2202 and 2003) the band got the attention of German roots label Blue Rose Records. They signed a recording deal for the band’s third album Penance, out in June 2003.

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