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.
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.
“Six-string slinger Mark Robinson’s Quit Your Job - Play Guitar is a soulful tour of American roots music’s hot spots, from the hills of Mississippi to the streets of Memphis to the heart of New Orleans to Chicago’s West and South sides and, of course, the honky-tonks of his Nashville base. And it’s not just his erudite guitar — which speaks a vocabulary of elegant bends, gorgeous tones and stomping riffs — that narrates the journey. Originals like the shadowy blues ‘The Fixer’ and the broken-hearted ‘Try One More Time’ are proof he’s a storyteller who’s found his calling.”
--Ted Drozdowski, Guitarist, Songwriter, "Keeping the Blues Alive" Award-Winning Journalist, Vizz Tone Recording Artist, Scissormen's New CD: Luck in a Hurry
"Adeptly mixing the blues with rock-and-roll and a tint of country, singer-guitarist Mark Robinson shows how American music has evolved in sixty years, drawing upon its real roots. His studio band is tight, his original songs are heartfelt and catchy, and the production is first class. For me, his version ofthe instrumental 'Sleepwalk' alone is worth the price of the CD."
--Randy McNutt, Independent Producer and Author of Guitar Towns: A Journey to the Crossroads of Rock and Roll and King Records of Cincinnati
“For years, Mark Robinson has been known in the music biz as a talented and versatile sideman. But on Quit Your Job, he walks out of the shadows and into the spotlight as a leader. Mark comes up with an entertaining collection of heartfelt songs in which the expert backing band cozily fits each tune. With clever songs like the pithy, 'Back Up Plan,' and the yearning of the closing track, 'Try One More Time,' it's evident that Mark belongs in that spotlight; let it shine!”
--Tad Robinson, 5-Time Blues Music Award Nominee, Severn Records Recording Artist, New CD: Back in Style
"My old pal from Indiana has completed a musical circle with Quit Your Job-Play Guitar, stepping out of the sideman shadow with a super-kool collection of self-penned, co-written and cover songs that match his musical talents. You can hear the seasoned honesty in his voice and feel the razor's edge of his guitar playing on every track. Nothing overdone or underachieved here -- just plain deep-in-the-groove delivery song after song. Count me in as a fan of this record."
--Bob Cheevers, Austin, Texas, Inbred Records Recording Artist, New CD: Tall Texas Tales
"Quit Your Job - Play Guitar, the aptly titled solo debut release of guitar player/songwriter Mark Robinson, proves that it's never too late to follow your dreams -- a soulful collection of roots/blues."
--Karen Leipziger, KL Productions, "Keeping the Blues Alive" Award-Winning Publicist