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O'Malley Drops Politics for a Guitar

The Maryland governor entertained a crowd of DNC attendees with his band O'Malley's March.

By David Gutman, Capital News Service

For one night at least, one of the busiest men at the Democratic National Convention set politics aside.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, flanked by his seven-piece band O'Malley's March, played a rollicking concert of electric Irish folk music late Wednesday night at BlackFinn Saloon in Charlotte.

O'Malley's March, a Celtic rock band, played a 13-song set, lasting well over an hour, that had a normally buttoned-down group of delegates, politicos, staffers and hangers-on dancing, cheering, and generally cutting loose.

At one point O'Malley, eschewing the week's uniform of dark suits for an un-tucked black button-down, had to turn down a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream offered by a female fan.

O'Malley played electric acoustic guitar, sang lead, strutted, shimmied and commanded his band like an old pro.

His performance demonstrated the charisma and magnetism of, if not quite an out-and-out a rock star, at least a popular two-term governor and possible presidential candidate who's been in a rock band for the last 25 years.

Among the pols in the audience was former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening, who quipped, "Some people say he's only running for president because he can't support himself in a band, but I would buy a ticket."

This was no Bill Clinton playing a few bars of saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show, O'Malley is an accomplished musician with four albums to his name.

At one point, during an Irish jig led by fiddler Jimmy Eagan, O'Malley turned his back to the audience and played his guitar behind his head.

During "Wait for Me," a song he wrote about his great-grandfather's immigration to America, O'Malley dropped an octave and picked up an Irish brogue of the kind never seen on the campaign trail.

The six supporting members of O'Malley's March play electric bass, drums, guitar, fiddle, accordion, and trombone. The trombonist, Jared Denhard, also made cameos on low whistle, slide guitar, and bagpipes.

After the first song O'Malley complained that he was, "a little hoarse after these last few days at the DNC."

"You sound manly," Denhard retorted, which segued right into a version of the Irish folk song, "Man of the House."

An upbeat, electric version of the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire" was a crowd favorite. As the song was wrapping up, the muted TVs behind the bar were showing an MSNBC talk show hosted by Washington Post political blogger Ezra Klein.

O'Malley, mocking Klein's reputation as a know-it-all wunderkind joked, "Yes we do know that was originally done by Johnny Cash, thank you Ezra for telling us that."

O'Malley dedicated songs to two people: his daughter Grace, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who attended. Among other notables in the crowd were Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Donna Edwards and MSNBC's Chris Matthews.

When asked what he thought of the band, Glendening probably spoke for most attendees: "I absolutely love it. Coming from a person with no talent, I absolutely love it."

Glendening joked that O'Malley's musical ability could come in handy in his next venture. "I tell you, when the showdown comes with the Cuomos and whoever else, he's going to challenge them to the bandshell and it's going to be over."

To the dismay of many, the show came to an end just after 2 a.m. when the bar had to turn on the lights and clear patrons out.

"I would like to extend bar hours," O'Malley said, but I'm not the governor here."

Patrick H. September 06, 2012 at 11:54 PM
A better musician than governor by far.
Mr. Average September 07, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I cant wait until this baffoon is out of office...
Daryl Hodge September 07, 2012 at 12:19 PM
He sang because he couldn't figure out a way to tax the folks in the bar.
BadStatistics September 07, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Sales tax on alcohol in Maryland is 9%. This is 3% higher than the regular 6% sales tax for other goods.
G-Man September 07, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Next time you are dining out take a good look at your receipt. Wine tax, beverage tax, sales tax, etc. Next there will be a tax on using a public bathroom. What's scary is that he might get a seat at the table in DC once his term is up in Maryland. Wow, who will be the moron we get in Naptown?
ChessiePk September 07, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I, too, can't wait until O'Malley is out of office!!!!
Magothy Boy September 07, 2012 at 01:54 PM
What a tool...
Aviator September 07, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I hear Leopold is considering running for governor... " Birds of a feather flock together"
Rob September 07, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Can he drop politics permanently for a guitar?
G-Man September 07, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Obviously O'Malley had a better "fixer" than Leopold. I guess it depends on the party you run with and how much money you got.
Bruce from Pasadena September 07, 2012 at 04:18 PM
This guy is an opportunist, who has taken huge advantage of the taxpayers in Maryland to pave his desires to be in Washington. Along with most, I can't wait until we get rid of this poor example of a politician.
Dan September 07, 2012 at 06:05 PM
He should drop politics permanently and form a band with Joe Biden called "The Bumblers".
Qeefah Zooloo September 07, 2012 at 06:28 PM
AMEN! LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
Qeefah Zooloo September 07, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Yeah as a former state employee I'm sickening how we haven't had a pay raise while rich keep getting richer................the poorer are staying poorer!
Qeefah Zooloo September 07, 2012 at 06:30 PM
yeah and the toilet paper you use..............it may just turn out to be B.Y.O !!!!
TJ September 07, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I'm all for him being recalled as Governor if they would pass a admendment to the Maryland Constitution. That should put a dent in his run for President.
Qeefah Zooloo November 12, 2012 at 03:44 AM
The LATEST I've read is that OMalley may run in the 2016 election............(that's if the earth is still standing on its axiles?
Qeefah Zooloo November 12, 2012 at 03:48 AM
or how about "The Backside Scratchers/Kissers"

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