New Solo EP
Tell us about yourself and your music
Nashville based author and songwriter, Mark Elliott grew up in the vibrant cultural scene of Washington, DC, and began making a name for himself as a singer-songwriter through high school and college. While still a teen, he caught the attention of legendary songwriter, Tom Paxton, who lit a fire in the young writer, leading him to Nashville and a publishing deal with Cherry Lane Music.
Today he is a well-published and critically acclaimed songwriter, having won distinguished songwriting awards, including the Kerrville New Folk Award. He has written for many top publishing houses and his songs have been recorded by major-label and independent artists. Top industry publications including Billboard, Sing Out!, The Sounding Board–Martin Guitar Company, and the UK’s Maverick magazine have heralded his work.
Alongside an active touring schedule with his Nashville-based, Americana band, Runaway Home, Mark is now writing books, blogs, and essays. The Sons of Starmount: Memoir of a Ten-Year-Old Boy is Mark’s first full-length book.
For more information on the book and the companion album, with original songs written from the book, and produced in authentic 1970s style.
Mark is releasing a new solo, country-soul EP – singles beginning dropping in March 2020.
Talk to us more about your latest release
As an artist, I am known for folk and Americana music, but most don’t know about the grittier side to my voice and songwriting.
The new EP, currently titled “What Out Man,” focuses on a new rootsy-set of songs, singing and production, a la Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell. It’s being produced by young, talented guitarist and singer-songwriter Gabe Burdulis.
What inspired you to write this release?
I’m always writing new music and crossing-genres, but usually for other artists. It’s been a fun project to purposefully write music that is both honest to who I am but a departure to who I’ve been.
Reinvention is the operative word behind this new solo project. And to reinvent, you must take emotional and creative risks. The idea of getting out of my comfort zone and taking risks has been the ethos of this project, throughout the recording process.
Describe the writing and recording process
Three of the four cuts I wrote with Gabe Burdulis: “The Craziest Thing I’ve Done,” “Watch Out Man,” and “On My Way to See You.” We have had a standing midnight Tuesday writing session every week for several years now, and have been able to hone part of his artist direction from those sessions (including his 2017 EP “Late Night Drive”), as well as writing for others, and now a new course for me as an artist. The fourth song, “Talk to Yourself,” was written with another pal and inspired artist, Melody Guy.
I own a studio, Cub Creek Sound, and have been a producer for years, but I asked Gabe to purposely get me out of my comfort zone, working with musicians I don’t know and in rooms, I’ve never worked. We cut as much of the record as possible in one day, live with a young band that didn’t know each other all that well, but played as though they’ve been on the road for years.
So far, that formula of rocking everyone back on their heels a little, especially me, has paid off well in creating a set of tracks that represent a genuine, but new sound for me.
Taking chances with your art is a necessary risk to staying relevant in a business that is changing by the day. It’s hard to do as you get older, but never-more necessary.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
I tour a lot with my band runaway home and hoping to carve out some time to add dates for this solo EP too.
You can follow Runaway Home as well as my solo tour dates by searching and following at both at bandsintown.com
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
My brand, and so my website, is markelliottcreative. I enjoy the creative arts and often combine my love of writing books and music, with book readings and concerts.
I have a new memoir out, entitled The Sons of Starmount. The story is based around the concept that we all have a place and time from our childhoods that define who we are as adults. For me, it was Starmount Drive, Tallahassee, Florida 1977.
As an example of my branding as a musician and an author, I wrote original songs from the book and, along with my co-writer and producer, Dave Spak, released a companion EP, produced in the style of 1977.
Who have you been listening to lately?
My current playlist has a lot of songs from Canadian singer-songwriter Donovan Woods on it, as well as Loudon Wainwright III, Joe Henry, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ruston Kelly, and Theo Katzman, to name just a few.
Who are your biggest influences?
I grew up in an era when teens first fell in love with music via their parent’s record collection. And that combination of ’60s and 70’s songwriters and bands lit a fire in me. I love words first, due in part to listening to that era of music from John Denver, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Harry Chapin, Joni Mitchell, and Carle King. But I loved the bands too; Grateful Dead, CCR, The Band, The Eagles, Stones, and Moody Blues. Like any musician, I could go on here forever.
Tell us about your passions
Wilderness, specifically, those parts of wilderness where one can feel ancient isolation, moves my soul more than anything, music included.
I’ve been lucky enough to kayak most of the wild rivers of Tennessee and glide canoes over beaver flowages through the boreal forests of the Canadian shield. I’ve climbed an active volcano in Chile and the Zugspitze peak in Germany. I feel fortunate to have actively chased the wilderness I so love.
When I’m not doing that, I fly small planes, listen to copious amounts of Audible books, and eat endless tubs of popcorn at any movie I can see. And I absolutely adore my friends and family.
What else is happening next in your world?
After launching this new EP, I have several book projects in the works, including a fiction tale of lost hikers, swallowed up by a rip of time, a collection of essays, and a twenty-year memoir of working on an adolescent psychiatric unit.
My band Runaway Home is excited to be working with a new digital domain and marketing firm called Guiding Star Global. They are gearing up to help us reach our legacy dream (and legacy album: Gotta Get Outside) of connecting with local and regional environmental groups on tour and doing our part to celebrate and facilitate their excellent work.
I am continually writing for other artists and excited to have several writing relationships, especially with my pal Gabe Burdulis that I feel confident will have break-out moments in
Thanks for an awesome interview, Mark Elliott
Connect with Mark Elliott
Website: https://markelliottcreative.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markelliottcreative/Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imacre8tivesoul/Twitter: https://twitter.com/imacre8tivesoulYoutube: https://www.youtube.com/user/markelliottmusicLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markelliottcreative/Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mark-elliott
- Profile: https://www.artistpr.com/members/markelliottcreative
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markelliottcreative/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imacre8tivesoul/
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- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/31xZ1ooBLbpr5ahQiOPxiA?si=Om2nVhSVQuKwWsIS_vZoMA
- SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/mark-elliott
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markelliottcreative/
- Website: https://markelliottcreative.com/