Ol' Yeller began in early 2000 as a vehicle for the songs of former Glenrustles leader Rich Mattson. The original lineup, however, featured 2 of his Glenrustles bandmates, Greg McAloon on bass and guitar, and Graham Gregorich on guitar. Also involved at the get go were Dale Kallman (bass and guitar) and Keely Lane (drums). This lineup lasted about 6 months. June of 2000 saw the addition of guitar ace Randy Casey, replacing Greg and Graham. Tours ensued, taking the band to the SXSW music festival in Austin Texas and around the midwest. The group released its self-titled debut in early 2001. Casey's inability to take part in a month-long residency at the highly esteemed Mercury Lounge in New York City led to issues ultimately resulting in the end of his tenure with the band in late March of 2001. Ol' Yeller continued as the trio of Mattson, Lane, and Kallman. With this lineup, they released 2 critically acclaimed albums, 2002's "Nuzzle", and "Penance" in 2003. The band endured countless tours from coast to coast over these 2 years, eventually hooking up with Blue Rose Records out of Germany, who re-released the album "Penance", and added the rest of Ol' Yeller's albums to their catalog. A cd of cover versions and country-styled outtakes was assembled over a 2-day session with Nashville pedal steel wiz CJ Udeen; this album, the aptly named "Country", was limited to only 120 copies, but picked up by Blue Rose where it is still available as a free download. Early 2004 saw the departure of original bassist Dale Kallman, due mostly to exhaustion. He was replaced by the returning Greg McAloon, who has been in and out of bands with Mattson since 1990. After hearing of the breakup of his Minneapolis pop group Betty Drake, longtime friend and cohort Andy Schultz was invited to join Ol' Yeller on second guitar. He gladly accepted, and the band continued its regular touring schedule for the next year and a half. In 2005 they released "Sounder", an album of songs recorded through the changes in lineup, mixing songs recorded with Schultz and McAloon alongside tunes recorded as far back as 2000, when Graham Gregorich was with the group. In late 2005, Mattson relocated to his hometown of Eveleth Minnesota, intending to keep the band together and spend his time recording in the north country, returning to the twin cities for shows and rehearsals with Ol' Yeller. Drummer Keely Lane saw this as an opportunity to shake things up for himself and moved to Nashville Tennessee, where he immediately got a job drumming for rising country star Andy Griggs (referred by CJ Udeen). Through the insistance of punch-country group and Ol' Yeller friends the Gleam, drummer Ryan Otte was chosen as a replacement. The last of the recordings with Keely Lane are compiled on 2006's "Good Luck", an album highly touted as the band's best effort to date. AN in-depth and thoroughly entertaining biography of Rich Mattson and his bands as well as a complete list of live dates can be found on the Ol' Yeller official website.
- S/T 2001 SMA Records
- Nuzzle 2002 SMA Records
- Country 2003 self-released (limited quantity)
- Penance 2003 SMA Records
- split 7" with Grand Champeen 2003 Glurp Records
- Sounder 2005 SMA Records
- Good Luck 2006 SMA Records