The Band

The Old Yellers have all the makings of a classic American band. Their unique brand of Indie Folk has been compared to the likes of Johnny Cash, The Band, Neil Young, The Eagles, Steve Earle and other luminaries of American music. And Yet, they have always stayed true to themselves, maintaining an integrity to the songs, the music, the audience and each other.

The Old Yellers shooting pool

“Job one in Yeller Nation is to make a difference in our global community and to connect a deep tap root to the common individual with a message that resonates alongside the struggles we face today as human beings. Through the music, The Yellers seek to connect to people, helping forge true community, working for real change and learning how to take care of each other while having a damn good time doing it. The bands motto is Music is Medicine for Life and we fondly like to say, “it’s not about making money, it’s about making friends” and about the sheer joy of making music with each other. In the end, we hope money and recognition will come because we are working for the right reasons and staying true to what we believe in, but the most important thing is making a difference in the world today that last long into the future”   

 

History and Such

The Old Yellers began in early 2001 when founding members Michael Berly and Matty V Hartless came together with the goal to write great songs built around vocal harmonies and well crafted stories. The idea was to write songs with a message that could be felt and understood by nearly anyone. They were soon joined by friends Diego Joyeux and Tim Connell and this core group has been playing together in one form or another ever since.

In the years that followed, albums were made, tours were undertaken, fun was had and many great musicians would take their turn coming in and adding to the overall magic. It is difficult to label them any one thing, because at times they have seemed more Rock and Roll, or Alt-Country, or Americana, or Folk Rock, but there is and always has been, a consistency, a uniqueness, something special, that has woven itself throughout the path they have traveled. Whether you call them The Old Yellers or The Yellers, they are are at heart, an American band, writing and performing their own original music, that above all, strives to evolve the consciousness of the global community and generate a real revolution of spirit.

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The Bands powerhouse core has been blessed to surround themselves with a cast of stellar musicians who have, for nearly 15 years, formed the family band that is The Old Yellers. The band defies the limits of categorization into a single genre and can take a crowd on a seamless journey from raucous country honky tonk, to tender heartfelt ballads, past a potential Irish jig and back to the cornerstone of rock and roll all in the span of just a few songs.  Yeller music is an eclectic blend of rollicking good time songs that win crowds over again and again. Meet the lads below:

The Core Yellers

Michael Berly: Guitars, Ukulele, Banjo and Vocals

Berly on stage

From Southern California by way of Ohio, Michael Berly has always been a true lover of music. He began singing at a very early age, performing in public for the first time at the age of six. With The Yellers, he sings, plays guitar, ukulele and banjo and is the bands primary songwriter, working collaboratively with the rest of the group to create The Old Yellers large repertoire of original material. Besides being a full time Yeller, he loves to try and play piano, being in nature and he is also a licensed Acupuncturist and Professor of Chinese Medicine, just to keep things interesting.

Matty V. Hartless: Bass and Vocals

Matty Voth plays bass and provides vocals for The Old Yellers band

From Morgantown, West Virginia, Matty V. has been making music for over 25 years. He has played, toured, and recorded with a giant list of performers from around the United States. His incredible vocal harmonies and songwriting skills are equally matched to his talent on the bass guitar and his ability to lead any rhythm section to the right groove every time. Besides his work with The Yellers, he also works as a songwriter, session player, producer, engineer and talent scout with his publishing company Silver Saturn Music.

     Tim Connell: Mandolin, Piano, Melodica, Wurlizter, Whistles and   Vocals

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From Philadelphia, PA via Boston, Massachusetts, Tim Connell is a graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist with twenty years professional performing experience he plays piano, melodica, mandolin, tenor banjo, tin whistle, and low whistle with The Yellers and is their master of mayhem. He provides both vocal harmonies and original songs from his own repertoire to the mix. Heavily influenced by Brazilian and Irish styles, in addition to all the classics of rock and roll, he is a rising star in acoustic music and a diamond in the rough asset to the core Yellers when his busy touring, recording and teaching schedule allows.

Simon Lucas: Drums, Percussion and Vocals

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From Berkeley, California Simon Lucas is a drummer and percussionist extraordinaire. He studied music at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California and has honed his skills in a number of great bands over the years. Currently he is the drummer for the Von Trapp family band and when he isn’t touring the world with them, The Old Yellers are blessed to have his talent and skill driving the show from the rhythm seat.

Diego Joyeux: Guitars, Piano, Percussion and Vocals

From Southern California, Diego Joyeux is a musician’s musician. His skill as a multi-instrumentalist is second to none and is augmented by his great vocals and harmony, his excellent songwriting, and his tasteful and incendiary guitar work. Besides being a Yeller, the DDOG, is a highly sought after sideman for many other bands and a master gardener, chef, woodcrafter and videographer. If he isn’t playing music with someone, he can usually be found filming stellar independent movies or hiding out in his garden tending his bees.

More Yellers

Doc Metro: Harmonica, Guitar and Vocals


From Buffalo, New York, Doc Metro grew up surrounded by great music. His love of the blues, rock and roll, bluegrass and old time music has always been an inspiration to his own style on the harp. Besides playing harmonica with The Yellers, he also plays both guitar and banjo, and some say he is an actual Doctor, others say he just plays one on TV. Fair Play either way, because his harp playing is second to none and definitely resonates with The Yellers sound.

Joe Chiusano: Bass and Vocals

Joe on Bass

From the Garden State of New Jersey, Joe Chiusano is a stellar musician and wicked addition to The Yellers lineup. He has played in numerous rock and roll bands around the Portland music scene and was the original bass player for the Beatles. Besides spending time making music and hanging out with his family he is actively involved in one of his many causes, saving the texas prairie chicken.

Matt Kramer: Drums

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From the garden state of New Jersey, Matt Kramer grew up in a musical family, learning and playing multiple instruments. He is now practically a Portland native, having honed his skill on the drums playing with numerous bands and singer/songwriters over the last twenty years. He has toured in Europe and throughout the western US and in this last year has brought his great talents to the Yellers dynamic cast of characters, joining old friends and making new ones in the task of making great music. When he isn’t playing drums for The Yellers, he consults with NASA for their upcoming manned mission to Mars and is also aggressively marketing his newly invented, cordless extension cord.

Elyse Rosenberg: Fiddle and Vocals

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From Modesto, California and living in Portland, Oregon, Elyse Rosenberg has been playing fiddle and singing in bluegrass, folk, country, and honky tonk bands for almost twenty years. She started playing at age five, grew up singing close harmony and playing a variety of styles with her musical family, studied classical violin for more than a decade, and plays her Grandpa’s fiddle. She brings her considerable fiddle talents and her great harmony vocals to The Yellers project whenever her in demand music schedule allows. She has been a stellar addition to the Yellers band of brothers and is always a welcome fan favorite at every gig she plays.

Jeffree White: Guitar, Piano, Mandolin and Vocals

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From Clinton, New York, Jeffree has been playing music for over thirty years and is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who lends his exceptional talents to The Yellers on a regular basis. In Portland, Jeffree is a much in demand sideman playing in a number of bands covering many different styles of music, from gypsy jazz to bluegrass to rock and roll. Jeffree also fronts several of his own bands; with great musical versatility and a flamboyant delivery, he can be found out playing music most nights of the week. He is also a music teacher and gives private lessons regularly. Find out more at www.jeffreewhite.com

Even More Yellers

Paul Brainard: Pedal Steel, Dobro, Guitar and Steel Guitar

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From The Yellers home base, Portland Oregon, Paul Brainard is a multi-instrumentalist and a veteran of the Alt-Country and Americana scene. A student of the New England Conservatory, he has played and recorded with many top acts and specializes in all forms of Steel Guitar — pedal, non-pedal and Dobro, as well as guitar and trumpet. He is further noted for his producing skills and his instrumental arrangements of strings and horns. Paul is a fixture of the local Portland music scene and is a much-in-demand sideman and session player. He also leads several ensembles of his own including a jazz organ trio, the Hawaiian-influenced Pu Pu Platters and his Fun Machine Orchestra.

 

Wayne Waits: Washboard

From deep down in Alabama and the upper reaches of Michigan, Wayne Waits has been a fixture in the Portland music scene for more years than most can remember. Lately he has called the world home, travelling, touring, and playing music with bands from all over and becoming a legendary figure in some parts in the process. A songwriter and guitar player in his own right, The Wayniac wins the hearts and minds of folks wherever he goes with his good hearted ways. On washboard, he is a sight to behold and a force that helps drive The Yellers sound.

Conor O’Donnell: Guitars & Vocals

From Wicklow Town, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, Conor O’Donnell comes from a musical family. He’s toured the states several times with various acts and plays a lot of shows now with his current band, The Big Muddy. He also is the visionary founder of one of Irelands hottest music festivals, the Americana Roots Weekend in Wicklow, Ireland and the most in demand DJ on Garden County Radio with his Americana show. Conor can also be seen playing at times with both his Dad, the famous Irish Folksinger, Al O’Donnell and his longtime friends The Yellers under the band name: The Mad Yankees

Some other Yellers include at times
Jack Dwyer (Mando Planet, Jack Dwyer Band)
Matt Cadenelli (The Don of Division Street, Fernando)
Dan Eccles (Richmond Fontaine, Fernando)
Sean Devitt (Irelands premier session drummer)
Lewi Longmire (Left Coast Roasters and just about every band in Portland)
David Lipkind (WoodBrain, Portland Country Underground)
Jimi Bott (The Fabulous Thunderbirds)