"A truly gifted singer-songwriter, Mark Evans has been writing songs ever since he can remember, and what heâ€™s turning out now puts him squarely in the Kris Kristofferson - Billy Joe Shaver - John Prine category of talented tunesmiths."
Mike Hyland Hyland Hills Music (ASCAP) Nashville. TN.
â€œMark's is the best true country music I've heard since I moved to Nashville in 1993. It's not a put-on; it's the real deal.Some people have a knack for writing really good up-tempo, fun, novelty, stuff.Others have a knack for writing really good tear-jerker ballads. You, my friend, are equally adept at both â€“ a truly rare quality."
Fett Producer/Chief Engineer â€“ Azalea Music Group
"Evansâ€™ three minute vignettes were up there with the best of them â€“ and then someâ€¦lyrics that would yield applause for a 16th Avenue stalwart."
Craig Baguley - Country Music People magazine
"Mark possesses an original, exceptional and honest voice. I am proud to be included on his new recording.â€
Kathy Chiavola - Vocalist of the year -â€“ Nashville Music Awards
What the Folks are saying...
A BIG Thank You for the CD! I just got it today, and i got it goin. I laugh EVERY time I hear about the Manoeuvre with the seven dwarfs and our old Hoover.. great stuff!
New Jersey USA
Have received CD. What can I say? I thought it would be good and it is. Your CD is more raw than I was expecting (raw as in harrowing â€“ I hope all these things didn't happen to you personally) but as a piece of work, I think it's outstanding. I love Bluer Than The Movie and See What You Been Missing. I Crawl Out hasn't been out of my head all last week.
"Regardless of genre, this is one of the finest examples of the songsmith's art it has been my pleasure to buy. Outstanding."
"This long journey and fields of moving storys upon this top album, you are surely going to enjoy, Mark has a voice set out for the Country scene! you won`t be able to get enough!.
(fantastic LIVE to!)"
A truly gifted singer-songwriter, Mark Evans is a most unlikely country music devotee. Heâ€™s been writing songs ever since he can remember, and what heâ€™s turning out now puts him squarely in the Kris Kristofferson - Billy Joe Shaver - John Prine category of talented tunesmiths.
Born in Kent, England, Mark grew up listening to his motherâ€™s country records. â€œWhen I was little, I found this EP with a picture of a cowboy on the cover. It turned out to be a four song disc by Hank Williams and I just couldnâ€™t believe that voice and the things he had to say,â€ says Mark. â€œI didnâ€™t know anything about songwriting, but I knew thatâ€™s what I wanted to do.â€
He started writing poems and songs and keeping a record of his life from as far back as he can remember. He also tried to listen to as much country music as he could find. â€œWe even bought a record off the television called â€˜Country Comfortâ€™ that featured Johnny Cash and a bunch of other country stars. People thought it was a little weird for a young boy to like that country music, but I didnâ€™t mind, it spoke to me,â€ said Mark.
He wanted a guitar but wasnâ€™t allowed to have one. â€œPeople like us donâ€™t have guitars,â€ he was told. So he saved his money and finally got one when he was around 13 or 14. He taught himself to play and began immediately making up songs. â€œThatâ€™s where the fun was, making stuff up!â€
At age 15 and totally bored with school, Mark dropped out and took on a succession of manual labor jobs. â€œI was out of my element at school. The work was so easy and my mind would wander all over the place,â€ Mark said. He started working construction jobs, roadwork, street sweeping and basic factory jobs, something to earn a living as well as to stay occupied.
He went to open university for two years and then began a four-year psychology course at Middlesex University. He interned at the prestigious Applied Psychology Research Institute in Cambridge, and eventually completed his four-year degree in a mere 13 years.
â€œI would get sidetracked from time to time, so it took me a while to get through the course. But I did get a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in the end.â€
And with his degree, Mark began selling pet supplies, doing some road building and handling a little social work on the side. He also worked for a non-profit organization aiding the homeless. â€œI loved doing that work and truly enjoyed the people, but you reach a point where you canâ€™t do it anymore, you just get burned out.â€
However, all of those experiences helped to create the songs that were swirling around in Markâ€™s head. â€œIâ€™ve got notebooks and notebooks of songs, song ideas and just notes that Iâ€™ve gathered over the years from the people that Iâ€™ve come in contact with,â€ admits Mark. â€œA lot of my songs are based on experiences of the people Iâ€™ve met and befriended over the years. Surely, you canâ€™t believe that these songs are based solely on my life!â€
His turn toward a full time career in music took place in April 2005 when he attended a songwriting seminar in Oxford (England) put on by Sore Fingers Summer Schools and led by Darrell Scott. Scott, the 2002 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year has written hits for Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Patty Loveless and others. Additionally, he is a much in demand session musician.
Mark took the week long course, got several one-on-one sessions with Darrell Scott, as well as singer-songwriter Kathy Chiavola, who was attending as a student but had taught a vocal course at Sore Fingers the previous year. Encouraged by everything he learned at the seminar, three months later, Mark took his first plane ride and flew to Nashville to continue his education. He went to clubs, songwriter venues such as the Bluebird CafÃ©, and all the traditional honky-tonks on lower Broadway and soaked it all up.
He met as many people as he could and in a chance meeting, Mark met a music publisher who just opened his company. Sitting on a friendâ€™s porch on a hot July evening, Mark was asked by the publisher to sing a song, and then another and another. Mark gave the publisher a disc of 12 songs that he had recorded in his kitchen back in England. The publisherâ€™s parting words that night were â€œdonâ€™t sign anything with anyone until you talk to me.â€ A few months later, Mark was signed to a publishing deal in Nashville.
While on that first trip to Nashville, Mark Evans entered a studio and recreated his â€œkitchen tapesâ€ with producer Fett. â€œMy songs are a composite of my travels over the years,â€ says Mark, â€œand it was a thrill to record in Nashville and have both Darrell Scott and Kathy Chiavola contribute to it.â€
The album, titled I Crawl Out, will be shopped to smaller labels in the States while it will have an immediate but limited release in England. Mark will begin performing throughout England and wherever the road will take him, eventually returning to the States for his third visit and a potential tour.
The old adage, â€œbe careful what you wish for because it might come true,â€ is an apt saying as far as Mark Evans is concerned. A few chance meetings and an in depth seminar have proved that dreams do come true.
The stories behind the songs...
Pass On By
I was homeless for a short while. The bones of this song came when I was working with homeless people. I took it to a songwriting seminar where Darrell Scott encouraged me to finish it. I sat in my car, in the rain, for a couple of nights and finished it.
Bluer Than The Movie
I remember lying on the couch in fits of hilarity. The more times my son walked through frowning with teenage disapproval the worse it got, until he was thoroughly disgusted and I deemed it finished. I really wrote this for my own amusement but itâ€™s the song everyone asks for when I play out. Itâ€™s kind of bizarre to hear a pub full of people singing along.
Let Me Be Gentle
This is a true story that I still donâ€™t understand. Not much more to say about this one.
How Low Do I Have To Go?
This song is partly truth and partly fiction. At a songwriterâ€™s night in a big old nightclub, the only time the sound man showed any interest in any of us was when he asked me, â€œWhat magazine exactly did you send your wifeâ€™s picture to?â€ I always fancied Johnny Paycheck singing this.
I Was A Drunk
I found the first verse in an old notebook that had been kicking round for years. I kept going back to it but couldnâ€™t get any more. In the end I tried to I follow the old advice to write what you know.
Vicious Little Memory
Loads of people tell me this is about cats and dogs. Truth is I was watching Tasmanian Devil cartoons â€“ heâ€™s a fanged little creature who whizzes round causing general mayhem â€“ I pictured the memory looking and acting the same way. I got the hook and â€“ when I tore myself away from the cartoon channel â€“ did a lot of rewriting on this.
Stop Saving Me
I got the first line â€˜I know what Iâ€™ve doneâ€™ then got nosey to find out what heâ€™d done, why heâ€™d done it, and whom heâ€™d done it to. I never did find out exactly what went on between these two. People tell me different stories about what happened, and how that fits with their experiences.
See What You Been Missing
This came from the old blues idea of laughing just to keep from crying. With some wishful thinking I wrote the opposite of what I was doing and feeling at the time. The chorus came complete; the verses took a lot of writing and re-writing.
If Only I knew Where To Start
I wrote this from the hook, imagining what life would be like if all the happiness I had at the time disappeared. No sooner said than done, it did. But at least I got a song out of it.
Hate You In My Sleep
The first two lines came when I was driving. They got me thinking about Viagra - now weâ€™ve got this technology to make us physically love people we hate, how long â€˜till we have a similar a quick-fix for our emotions? And how much weâ€™d all save in lawyerâ€™s fees.
I had a weird line in my head that I thought would never make a song. It pestered me for ages so I followed it to see where it would lead. This is where it led. The song came out pretty much as is from first to last line.
I Crawl Out
I was lucky. I had a chance to get feedback on a song from Darrell Scott. Trouble was I was shaking so much I couldnâ€™t play guitar, and when I tried to sing all manner of peculiar squeaks and grunts erupted. As I stomped off, sulking and raging at myself, this song fell out my head â€“ all I did was write it down. Itâ€™s one of my favourites â€˜cause it gave me some answers when I needed them, and it reminds me of Darrellâ€™s generosity in a week that changed my life.
All songs written by Mark Evans
Â© 2006 Hyland Hills Music (ASCAP)
Check out the artist's website:
1. Pass On By
2. Bluer Than The Movie
3. Let Me Be Gentle
4. How Low Do I Have To Go
5. I Was A Drunk
6. Vicious Little Memory
7. Stop Saving Me
8. See What You Been Missing
9. If Only I knew Where To Start
10. Only Hate You In My Sleep
11. Daddy's Heart
12. I Crawl Out