Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sneak Attack: Mark Radcliffe

Former English teacher Mark Radcliffe grew up in Maine & Vermont and spent years as a writer before turning his wordsmithing to music. Having now played venues all over the country, Mark is steadily winning over new fans with his just-released album "The Sea Before Us", produced in Hollywood by Rob Giles of The Rescues and mastered by Grammy-winner Gavin Lurssen.

Mark's journey hasn't been the typical path of most singer / songwriters. He didn’t grow up in New York, LA or Nashville. He wasn't born to musician parents. Or enrolled in music classes from age five and on. He didn't go to Berkeley, or have an uncle in the record biz, or take lessons from Shawn Mullins.

He grew up in a small town in Maine, spent all his time devoted to sports, and didn't even pick up a guitar until he was 17. And he worked for years as an English teacher & professional writer before ever writing his first song. In a world of teenage American Idol winners, Mark was a late-bloomer. But maybe that's what the music world could use a little more of.

What he did have was 10 years of living in various cities in every corner of the country to draw from. Hardship & heartbreak as a teacher working with troubled teens. Exploits as a traveling writer in Europe. Star-crossed relationships. Epic road trips. Failed jobs. And a lot of hard-won knowledge of the self. And he was always making music on the side. Constantly developing his love for melody. Whether from the countless Beatles & Eagles albums his father played in the house growing up, or the endless spins of U2, Crowded House & Indigo Girls in college, to the guitar riffs of Van Halen & Joe Satriani, he always felt a good melody was the most sacred currency in the world. And so finally in his late twenties, after a gradually evolving love-affair with song-writing, he wrote the songs that would become his first CD, ALL I CAN REMEMBER, recorded in two days in small basement studio in Portland, Oregon where he was living at the time.

Soon he switched his focus from writing to songwriting, playing in various nationally-recognized venues like Eddie's Attic in Atlanta, Club Passim in Boston, Mississippi Studios in Portland, OR, The Living Room & Rockwood Music Hall in New York, and LA venues such as Genghis Cohen, the Room 5 Lounge, and the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. And then while living and playing regularly in LA, Mark met Rob Giles, a singer in The Rescues, who would become his next producer & co-writer. Finally in early 2009, he entered the studio with Rob & producing partner Rich Jacques to shape and record the 11 songs that would comprise his first full-studio CD, THE SEA BEFORE US. Written during his two years in Santa Monica, THE SEA BEFORE US blends acoustic pop-rock sensibilities with 70’s California sweetness, a Beatles-esque knack for melody, and lyrics that explore the undulations of romantic uncertainty and the quest for knowledge of the self. Mastered by Grammy-winner Gavin Lurssen, THE SEA BEFORE US represents a giant leap forward in the career of an artist who has just begun to spread his wings.

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