The Oly Mountain Boys began in 2008, playing the traditional music of Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers with high-energy drive. This music is still the backbone of the band’s repertoire. Now they have incorporated a couple albums' worth of original bluegrass material, some of a traditional bent and others drawing liberally from folk-rock and Americana. Either way, the band combines bluegrass picking prowess and tight, three-part vocal harmonies, bringing a youthful vitality to one of America’s original musical forms.
The band is a regular fixture in Olympia at McMenamin's Spar Cafe, the Pig Bar, and the Eastside Club, but has brought its sound north to the San Juan Islands (Lopez Island's The Galley) and Bellingham (the Green Frog Acoustic Tavern) and south to Cottage Grove, Oregon (the Axe & Fiddle), and everywhere in between (Seattle's Conor Byrne, Tacoma's Mandolin Cafe, Port Townsend's Sirens, and more). The Oly Mountain Boys hit the festival circuit for the Washington Bluegrass Association each summer, and have also been featured at Seattle's Folklife and at Bend, Oregon's High and Dry Bluegrass Festival.
The Oly Mountain Boys' mission is to reinvigorate the bluegrass genre by bringing the original bluegrass sound of the 1950s to a new generation of fans. The band believes that the appeal of Bill Monroe and his music knows no bounds.
Tye was born in Southern California but likes to point out, for bluegrass credibility, that his parents and entire family are from Western Kentucky. Tye learned to play bluegrass in Fairbanks, Alaska starting in 2004, studying the bands of Carl Hoffman, the Father of Alaska Bluegrass, and the hard-driving style of his banjo disciples. Tye is a practicing "attorney at bluegrass," freeing citizens from the jails by day and bluegrass licks from the strings by night. He currently resides in West Olympia.
Chris Rutledge was born and raised in Shelton, Washington. Chris grew up with his dad's country/rock band, Whatever's Fair, and learned to play guitar at a young age. He went on to play in several local bands, and his style was once compared to Eric Clapton, and Jimmie Page, only, "no where near as good...." After a long love affair with a Les Paul and a big Fender amp, he was bitten by the bluegrass bug at the Northwest String Summit. The only cure was to unplug all that cumbersome gear and find a group of like-minded pickers bent on making great music. Chris does ask that you not tell the Les Paul, as he has yet to break the news.
Derek grew up in Olympia, plays the mandolin and sings baritone.
Phil is the only member with bona fide Southern heritage, growing up in the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. Phil's musical journey began singing for a Springfield, MO church choir. He moved to the Pacific Northwest many years ago, studying jazz and composition, and has played a number of instruments in a variety of regional bands through the years, including Big Idea, Heliotroupe (jam band), Head For the Hills (bluegrass), Milroy Holler (psychedelic), Cabin Kind (newgrass), and currently the Erev Ravs (klezmer) and Tilted Stilts (alt-country). Phil resides in Olympia.
Josh was raised near Milwaukee, WI and moved to Olympia to work and stare at the mountains. He stumbled into a bluegrass jam in early 2009 and soon wound up a member of the Oly Mountain Boys. His bluegrass inspirations begin with his dad's bluegrass treasury albums and extend to modern pickers like Bela Fleck and Chris Thile, and fiddlers like Jason Carter and Casey Driessen. He keeps his fingers limber by playing "violin" with the Olympia Symphony Orchestra.