Friday, October 5, 2012
21 and over
" ... recalling a favorite boyhood memory, he says that he would lie between the rows of a freshly plowed field, the dark, sun-warmed earth to his back, just as the cool of dusk began to settle over the heartland. His music is rooted in that fertile soil and from time to time it seems to beckon the solace of some vast horizon."
Mark Alan first heard the sounds of country, rhythm & blues and gospel music as a child, growing up in rural Colorado and Kansas. There were 'Indian' pow-wows and church choirs singing. At night he could hear the seemingly endless din of cicadas outside his window - or a pack of coyotes roaming nearby, yipping at the wail of a passing freight train. There were formative years in the shade of tall cottonwoods and summer-times spent wandering the farm, but Mark's family would eventually move on, to the outskirts of Denver. So it was there, in a culturally desolate, suburban environment that he would spend the majority of his adolescence - his saving grace, a small 'record store' in Boulder, a pair of headphones and a stack of well-worn LP's. Listening to soul, folk/rock and jazz records served as tutelage and before long he was making a name for himself and establishing a reputation as a gifted singer/songwriter.
Mark moved to Eugene, Oregon just a few years later, where he continues to garner high praise, performing consistently throughout the northwest, on college campuses and as an opener for the likes of Ray Charles, Joan Baez, Robert Cray and Kelly Joe Phelps. The inheritance of voice and place makes for a powerful union.
Though acoustic in nature, Mark's music is strangely expansive - it's original in sound, soulful and groove oriented. His presence is warm and unpretentious. Poetic, yet simply profound, here's someone doing what he's supposed to do. He performs with that conviction night-in and night-out. When you see him, when you hear him at work, you'll understand why people are talking to their friends, about 'the real' Mark Alan.