I have spent most of the past three years focusing on Texas Music and Traditional Country Music. Recently, my contacts have brought me into Bluegrass. Bluegrass is part of the heritage of the Ozarks where I live. So, until recently I have not been focused on the music available in my home state of Missouri... Until I heard these guys!
They are NOT bluegrass .. but they are a group with a lot of the same basic values. They are hard working men with day jobs and families. They are Weekend Warriors.
Mark Chapman Band is collectively a talented group of guys from southwest Missouri. Aside from group founder, Mark, there is also his brother Jeff (lead guitar/ vocals), Randall Wildman (bass /harmony), Jake Stringer (drums) and Vince Herbert (mandolin/ guitar/ banjo). They may be from small towns but they have their eye on the Big Dream. To do what they love full time.
I had the opportunity to sit down with , Mark Chapman, last September and I have to tell you... he is the most down to earth, coolest guy you will ever have coffee with. He is passionate about all facets of the business of making music and entertaining people. He is a songwriter, an awesome vocalist, guitar player and consumate performer. As if those talents were not enough, he also has a strong interest in working the audio and production. All of these tell me one important fact about Mark... whatever he does, he wants to know all the angles so that he can produce the best product for his fans. He is all about doing things to the best of his ability
Although the band has been around for some time... since 2008, they caught their biggest break to date when they competed in Battle For the Saddle in Nashville in 2013. The win gave the group a wide variety of opportunities. Aside from honing their performance skills on a higher level of professionalism, they were able to network with some of the biggest names in the business side of the industry.
Winning Battle For the Saddle gave the guys a boost up the ladder. Since their win, they have had the opportunity to open for some major acts such as Eli Youg Band, Jo Dee Messina and Josh Turner to name a view. While opening for these folks was awesome, they did not pass up the opportunity to learn a little along the way.
Mark describes the experience, "To me, the thing I take away... we did a show with Jo Dee Messina this past year and she is one of the coolest people I've ever had the chance to meet. She's just super cool and she'd just sit down and talk to you like anyone. To me, that's what you dream that all these people are like. Even when they get big, or more noticeable but the simple truth is a lot of them are not like that. So what I take away from the shows that we do with other people is that I really take stock in the ones who stayed who they were and that stayed down to earth."
One of the first things I noticed about Mark's music is that his songs are a mix of his influences and a style all his own that he has developed over time. One of his biggest influences growing up was The Eagles.
"If I had one choice and could pick one sound I wanted to be like, it would be The Eagles."
Country music today seems to be all across the board and it was not until last summer that I realized why. So I asked Mark to classify his music.
"My music... I've always flown under the country music flag. It's definitely country but it's probably some southern rock, some infused country, some blues elements. It's probably 'progressive country'."
Whatever kind of music you want to call it, at the core of what the Mark Chapman Band does on and off the stage and in the songs they write is all about keeping it real. 'keeping it authentic and not contrived. Trying to take something in your life that means something and trying to make sure you keep it honest and real... to make it so it's about something everybody can all relate to."
One of those songs is Firefly. If you go to the WEBSITE and sign up for their newsletter, you can get a free download of the song. Pretty cool.
Tomorrow I will be reviewing their CD - The Nashville Sessions for Turntable Tuesday
Then Wednesday, I will be doing a Concert Review of their Seymour MO show from September.
So come on back and ride the MCB Crazy Train with me!
Aside from their website, you can also find Mark Chapman Band on:
To add their music to your listening devices: