Markley & Balmer
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Markley & Balmer

Dallas, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM

Dallas, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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Markley & Balmer @ Kessler Theater

Dallas (Oak Cliff), Texas, USA

Dallas (Oak Cliff), Texas, USA

Markley & Balmer @ High Plains Public Radio, Livingroom Concert Series

Amarillo, Texas, USA

Amarillo, Texas, USA

Markley & Balmer @ Java Jax

Sweetwater, Texas, USA

Sweetwater, Texas, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos



Lisa Markley and Bruce Balmer
Markley & Balmer
Soona Songs
These Dallas singers were married at the Kerrville Folk Festival--a perfect site for their wedding, given the freewheeling acoustic vibe of their music. Mr. Balmer fuels their debut cd with spirited guitar work that owes as much to Django Reinhardt as it does to Mississippi John Hurt. But the real draw is the duo's songwriting, which is full of wry lyrics and melancholy melodies. Or as Ms. Markley puts it in one song: "Happiness is a minor key". ---Thor Christensen - Dallas Morning News July 27, 2008

Lisa Markley and Bruce Balmer
Markley & Balmer
Soona Songs

The gentle, jazzy froth of Markley & Balmer supports the notion that life has become a series of disconnected or barely connected moments. On the opening "Coattails," Bruce Balmer sings it this way:

"Crow songs last and last
Had enough of watercress
Death hangs from a first kiss,
Hip on college campuses
Christians in the circus,
Stepping over carcasses"

Whatever that means, it sounds good. And maybe that's the non-continuous way life today plays itself out.
The CD rightly should be called Balmer & Markley because 10 of the 12 songs are his – the lyrics are mostly intelligent, often whimsical – and he does quite a bit more of the singing. He and Lisa Markley (a fine singer and excellent, but less than prolific songwriter) both play guitars, and both manage to turn banjos into jazz instruments.

On the next-to-last song, "Landing On The Moon," they explore the odd, barren surface where there is no Starbucks; on the closing duet, "Take Me Up," they plead, "take me up, through the open doorway take me through, to the other side / take me off, to the land of strange ones / take me back, for the homeward ride."

Balmer comes from a musical family in New York, and has played lead guitar for rock, jazz, and country bands.
Markley was in the University of North Texas lab bands and sang in the Jazz Singers before venturing into folk and now straddling the line between those two genres.

They sound right together.

--Tom Geddie, Buddy Magazine - Buddy Magazine

Oak Cliff singer-songwriter Lisa Markley and her new husband, Bruce Balmer, this month marked their May nuptials with their first collaborative cd, markley & balmer. The newlyweds debuted this funky, freewheeling acoustic romp of all-original songs with a packed concert at the Soda Gallery in Bishop Arts, then hit the road for the rest of the month to promote the album.The duo--popular neighborhood music teachers--tied the knot at the Kerrville Folk Festival, then returned to Dallas to put the finishing touches on this latest release from Oak Cliff record label Soona Songs. Markley's other worldly, folk-tinged vocals mesh perfectly with new husband Balmer's fiery guitar--but the songs themselves are the real standouts here. From the quirky "Landing on the Moon" to the spirited "Don't Make Me Do It", the husband-wife team seamlessly blend country, folk, blues, jazz and funk, creating a signature sound that's impossible to listen to without smiling or tapping a foot. It's a sound that's as unique as Oak Cliff, which Markley has long called home. --MELODY TOWNSEL - Cliff Dweller (Advocate) September 2008

Markley & Balmer - Markley & Balmer
Somewhere, wherever the musical gods hang out, there is rejoicing. Lisa Markley and Bruce Balmer met each other, fell in love and got married. Lisa is one of the three amazing Malvinas, currently on hiatus (one of them is a new mom, we hear). We knew Bruce as a habitue of the Fast Folk scene, a singer/songwriter and monster guitar player. This was
before he moved to Texas and met Lisa. Their self-titled CD is sophisticated and chock full of depth. Most of the songs
are by Bruce -- we only noticed two by Lisa. No matter.Their voices blend together like two strains of rich honey. There are wicked, jazzy guitar riffs by Bruce over their rich harmonies. Bruce's songs tend to be hard-charging, propelled by fast-fretted patterns and jaunty strumming. The witticisms are still there, like we remembered: "My mom and dad were 20th Century / Somehow got by without serious injury…Who's gonna stop you from pretending it's all a carousel? / Tell 'em all 'Go to Hell or high water' / Just do it … kindly." Lisa's are playfully relaxed. She's almost languid as she sings in "Overhand Knot," "Wrap your arms around me / lace your arms around me / tie your arms around me / let your love be an overhead knot." They have each other. We have the songs and we'll wrap them around us. Often. - Acoustic Live

LIsa and Bruce are extremely accomplished artists individually, but put them together on stage and they create musical magic. From the time they took the stage until their last lyric they captivated the audience with their mixture of jazz and americana folk. They are a joy to listen to. - Labyrinth Walk Coffee House

Elements written by guitarist Bruce Balmer reveals another talent of Lisa Markley. A remarkable ability to interpret new songs, an adroit rarity. - 88.7 FM Sacramento

(Balmer's) Songs choc full of coolness - Greenwich Village Songwriters Collective

... Markley has a world class voice. - KERA 90.1 FM Dallas


One Word, Lisa Markley, 2009 Soona Songs Records
The Sky is Blue and Sometimes Cries, Lisa Markley, 2007, Soona Songs Records
Live at Gloria Dei Nights (2003, bootleg concert, out of print)
Love, Hope + Transportation, The Malvinas, 2004
i'm not like this, The Malvinas, 2002
Goddess of Groove, Lisa Markley, 2000, (available from

Upstream, Bruce Balmer, Blue Leaf Publishing, 2000
Blue, Bossa, Jump, Waltz +4, Bruce Balmer, 2006

markley & balmer (Soona Songs 2008)




"...FUNKY, FREEWHEELING ACOUSTIC ROMP..." Melody Townsel, Cliffdweller Magazine

Bruce was born a guitar player in Margaretville, NY, from a musical family. After music at Marlboro college, he�s played lead guitar for rock, jazz, and country bands, and composed for dance performance and film (including credits on a Bill Plympton animated film). He is a singer/songwriter recently of the NYC area. He and his thousand pound upright piano have now officially transplanted themselves to Texas. He pounds nails while singing.

Lisa Markley was born a three-and-a-half pound Capricorn with a set of lungs. She is a survivor of the University of North Texas where she played trombone in the lab bands, sang in the Jazz Singers, skipped out on music history classes, composed suitably atonal pieces for an assortment of instruments, and crashed the hard-drive on the Synclavier (many times). Upon graduation, she took a long hard look at what drove her musically and decided to put down her trombone and turn full-force to singing and writing songs.