MPMF artist profile: Mark Utley of Bulletville

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Performing Sunday, 9/27 @ 8:30pm at the Woodward Theater

Fans can download the song “Wish You Were Her” for free by visiting the Freeosk at the Woodward Theater on Sunday.

Mark Utley & Bulletville performs original songs written in the classic honky-tonk country style. Formed in 2012 as an offshoot of Mark’s previous band, Magnolia Mountain, the group has now come into its own as a powerhouse live and studio outfit.

The band was nominated for a 2015 Cincinnati Entertainment Award in the Country category, and has performed at various festivals and venues, including their own monthly first-Sunday residency at Northside Tavern. Their second album, Bulletville (produced by Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley) was released in April, 2015 on the This Is American Music label.

This will be Mark Utley’s 8th year performing at MPMF.

FREEOSK: You do country in the good, old Hank Williams style. Did you grow up listening to this stuff?

MARK UTLEY: I did grow up with it, but honestly, kind of under duress at the time. My older brother and sisters were into pop and R&B and heavier rock, but my dad was stone-country. If I was hanging out with him, that’s what we listened to. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how much a part of me that stuff is and how much I actually do really, really love it. My previous band, Magnolia Mountain, had a strong country influence, but with Bulletville, I’ve dived in headfirst into that style and loving every minute of it. Feels like coming home.

F: How would you describe the Cincinnati music audience?

MU: The best thing to me is how open and supportive they are. I love playing venues where the audience is there to see the style of music we play, but I also love winning over crowds at shows where we’re not at all what they were expecting. That’s the cool thing about playing old-school country music­—it really is an everyman/everywoman style of music. It’s honest. It’s real. And people across all social strata respond to it.

F: In addition to the free song download (“Wish You Were Her”), the Freeosk will be giving away Mark Utley & Bulletville buttons. Will you have any other merch available at your show?

MU: We’ll have two albums for sale on vinyl and CD, 2013’s Four Chords and a Lie, and our new one, Bulletville. We’ll also have the usual stuff… shirts, stickers, etc. I’m stoked about the buttons. We’ve never had buttons before.

F: What do you most look forward to while playing MidPoint this year?

MU: I’m looking forward to playing the Woodward Theater for the first time.  We shot a couple of videos there with Michael Wilson about six months ago, and I had the opportunity to sing harmonies onstage with the Warsaw Falcons there, but I haven’t actually played a show there yet.

I’m also looking forward to playing and hanging out with Lydia Loveless and her band again.  She sang a duet with me on Magnolia Mountain’s Town and Country album back in 2012, and we’ve played a few shows with her, most recently at the Southgate House Revival in January 2015.  She’s like a force of nature onstage, and she and her band are just wonderful people.

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