ARTIST: Mark Robinson. The story of Mark Robinson is the story of this CD. After college, Mark moved to Chicago and had the chance to play with some American blues legends such as Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Johnson, Koko Taylor, and Son Seals. When he returned to Bloomington to take a job, he continued to perform with acclaimed national acts including soul-bluesman Tad Robinson, rocker Larry Crane (of John Mellencamp’s band), and Americana’s Bob Cheevers, Carrie Newcomer, and Tom Roznowski.
In 2004, Mark quit his job to play guitar in Nashville. It was the right move. In Music City, Mark has played and recorded with Davis Raines, Randy Handley, Walt Wilkins & the Mystiqueros, Tricia Walker, Kent Blazy, Cory Batten, Johnny Neel, Brian Langlinais, Tom Ghent, and Joe Sun—to name a few. He’s also produced and engineered several CDs for others in his studio.
In addition, as part of a teaching gig, Mark has put together several adult band workshops, giving guitar students the chance to get up on stage and perform for the first time—fulfilling their dreams, too.
But Mark’s goal was always to put out his own CD.
CD: Quit Your Job – Play Guitar. Living music fulltime not only allowed Mark’s playing to reach new heights, it also resulted in a songwriting explosion, singly and with acclaimed co-writers such as Davis Raines and Randy Handley. Mark wrote songs in all genres, especially Americana and blues—and he continued to stretch artistically. The songs on his first solo CD are blues/country-infused, guitar-based roots music. But though he takes his inspiration from many, Mark Robinson is not an imitator. Every song bears his highly personal musical stamp.
There’s no easy slot in which to file Mark Robinson’s music. You’re listening to the work of an artist who draws from the deepest wells of America’s musical heritage—and manages to serve it up fresh.
Originals such as “Runaway Train” and “The Fixer” are steeped in roots and blues, alt-country comes calling with the catchy “This Old Heart,” and New Orleans spices up “Backup Plan.” But Mark’s musical soul is most exposed on the Memphis soul ballad “Try One More Time” — with Johnny Neel’s haunting B-3 and the testifying background vocals of Vickie Carrico and the legendary Tracy Nelson, it’s a knock-out.
Mark’s personal stamp is also heard clearly on the CD’s two cover songs. “Payday Giveaway,” by the late, great Bill Wilson, is a tribute to this incredible musician with whom Mark played for years. And where did the instrumental go? Mark finds it in his soul’s-eye-view of Santo and Johnny’s classic slow-dance “Sleepwalk.”
Being in Music City meant Nashville’s best could join him on the CD: Dave Roe, Tracy Nelson, Johnny Neel, Paul Griffith, Dennis Taylor, Randy Handley, and more.
With his alarm clock set to Central Soul Time—keeping the beat in New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago, and Nashville—Mark Robinson will wake up the whole damn joint with Quit Your Job – Play Guitar.