Magnolia Mountain / Bio
A rootsy "folk orchestree of epic proportion" (Mike Oberst, The Tillers), Magnolia Mountain embraces and explores That Midwestern Thing in a big-tent-Americana juggernaut that draws from folk, country, bluegrass, blues, rockabilly, and rock. But no matter where they take it, "they have the rare ability to inhabit any branch of Roots music and still sound unmistakably like Magnolia Mountain." (Brian Baker, CityBeat).
Anchored by an acoustic musical core and gorgeous 2-, 3-. and 4-part close harmony vocals, Magnolia Mountain will appeal to fans of roots music, old and new. Drawing from the deep well of American music, Magnolia Mountain takes different genres, finds the common thread within, and translates them into their own original songs that both pay tribute to the past and carve out their own place in today’s musical landscape.
The band is led by songwriter Mark Utley on vocals, acoustic guitar and banjo. Mark is joined by Melissa English and Renee Frye (harmony vocals), Jeff Vanover (guitar, lap steel, dobro), Bob Lese (mandolin, harmonica), Kathy Woods (fiddle, mandolin), Bob Donisi (upright bass), and Todd Drake (drums, percussion). The band is joined for special occasions by Cincinnati music mainstay Ricky Nye on piano and organ. Magnolia Mountain plays regularly around the greater Cincinnati area, performing Mark's original songs as well as an eclectic selection of covers that range from the Louvin Brothers to Lucero, from Woody Guthrie to the Flying Burrito Brothers, and from Hank Williams Sr., to the Drive-By Truckers. They are at home in quiet "listening rooms", rowdy bars, and anywhere in between.
Magnolia Mountain was nominated for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award in the Folk/Americana category in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, in addition to performing at the 2009 CEA awards ceremony. At that ceremony, they were also named the recipient of the Rivertown Music Club's 2009 Red MacCormack Memorial Recording Grant. They were also nominated in 2010 for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (for "Redbird Green") and Mark Utley was nominated for Songwriter of the Year. Along with performing at venues as the Southgate House, Madison Theater, Taft Theatre, Emery Theater, Memorial Hall, MOTR Pub, Northside Tavern, The Redmoor, The Comet, Leo Coffeehouse and The Crow's Nest, they’ve also taken part in festivals such as Twangfest, the Whispering Beard Folk Festival, MidPoint Music Festival, The Ohio River Way Paddlefest, Rabbit Hash Old Timer's Day, Edensong, Music for the Mountains, and Metamora Old Time Music Festival. Magnolia Mountain has also played a Studio 89 session live on WNKU-FM radio and a pre-Twangfest set live on KDHX-FM in St. Louis.
2009 - "NOTHING AS IT WAS" (CD and VINYL)
2010 - "REDBIRD GREEN" (CD and DOUBLE LP VINYL)
2011 - "MUSIC FOR THE MOUNTAINS" (CD COMPILATION ALBUM)
2012 - "TOWN AND COUNTRY" (CD and DOUBLE LP VINYL)
All three Magnolia Mountain albums produced by John Curley at Ultrasuede Studio in Cincinnati.
- Band Members:
- Mark Utley, Melissa English, Jeff Vanover, Renee Frye, Bob Lese, Kathy Woods, Bob Donisi, Todd Drake
- Artist Name:
- Magnolia Mountain
- Home Page:
- Active Since:
- Folk / Americana / Alt.Country
- Cincinnati, OH