Marc Silver/Marc Silver  & The Stonethrowers
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Marc Silver/Marc Silver & The Stonethrowers

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Marc Silver: Singer, Songwriter, Stonethrower"

somber, complex melodies and charmingly folksy rhythms


"Unplugged and down to earth"

Inspirational words: almost all struggling songwriters yearn to hear them. Then, if all goes well, they will come up with some of their own.

For Marc Silver, the words came two years ago while he was surrounded by the comforting tones and lively beats of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado. Nestled in the rugged wilderness of the Rocky Mountains — a long way from his home in Philly’s urban bustle — the singer/songwriter listened to the tranquil voice of bluegrass phenom Gillian Welch.

“I was sitting there and realized the things she was talking about mirrored my struggles,� Silver, who at the time was focusing on jazz instrumentation and jumping from one short-lived project to another, said last weekend.

Silver added, “I was really at a transitional point in my life and I needed something to change. [Welch] said that 90 percent of being a songwriter is showing up to do it every day. Realizing that I just needed to focus and hearing those words really changed my attitude.�

At a song-writing workshop during the festival, Silver said Welch talked about how she had hundreds of tapes of ideas and countless notebooks scrawled with words that might have potential. “I just came back from that trip and began writing,� Silver, who had instantly become a converted bluegrass musician, said.

Maybe Welch’s words knocked something loose in his patterns, or perhaps the fresh mountain air cleared his thoughts. Whatever happened, it worked.

Silver’s first solo effort, “Stonethrowers� — in which he sings, plays the guitar and wrote the tracks — was released in January. Shortly after, he was introduced to banjo-player John Spangler by Mark Cosgrove, a national flat-picking champion (which is an acoustic guitar technique) and through a friendly, I-know-a-guy-who-plays approach, the five-member (and sometimes more) Marc Silver Band was born. With a collection of instruments that produce folksy sounds — from a fiddle to a peddle-steel guitar — and members who all live in the Philadelphia area, this unique, urban-gone-country group will produce a live-recording album Aug. 20 in the songwriter’s Fishtown basement.

After growing up in St. Louis, in 1997 Silver ventured to Philly, where both his parents grew up, leaving behind the Midwest and settling at Ninth and Bainbridge streets while attending University of the Arts. Initially concentrating on guitar, he wrote and recorded a jazz record, but after graduating in 2000, he “realized [jazz] really wasn’t where my heart was.�

Now, seven years later, the 31-year-old has found his bluegrass niche — kind of.

The twangy sound of Spangler’s banjo, the light strings of band mate Sam Briger’s mandolin, an upright bass played by Matt Stein and Isaac Stanford on the pedal-steel guitar make the group teeter on the brink of bluegrass. But Silver’s soothing lyrics — short melodies about staying true and keeping songs as friends — which are almost reminiscent of alt-rock, allows the group to cover more ground than just the Americana content the genre is known for.

“Having that instrumentation on the palette of my song-writing gives [the Marc Silver Band] a bluegrass characteristic, although it’s not really bluegrass,� Silver said.

The upcoming live album still doesn’t have a name, though it was originally going to be called “Not Quite Bluegrass.� “Now we’re trying to come up with other suggestions,� Silver said, adding when they start recording, a title will probably jump out at them.

The band’s ability to cross genres, along with its rare instrument combination, is probably what has made it unique in a city where the lulling tunes of folk music aren’t often heard.

“There are a few other people in town doing what we’re doing,� Silver said of his country rhythms, “but it’s hard to find people that don’t plug their instruments in, or people that have a completely acoustic sound.�

In a music world that has become overloaded with electronics and computers, where any voice can be modified with the turn of a knob and every instrument recreated with a click of the mouse, the Marc Silver Band remains unplugged. Following in the wake of “Stonethrowers� (although it was Silver’s solo effort, it had contributions by current members), the group’s upcoming live work will be filled with original tracks and covers of favorite folk singers, and consist purely of instruments and voice — nothing more. Since his last record, Silver has added another 15 songs and 25 covers to the group’s repertoire. He said these will hopefully create a fresh sound while maintaining the familiar, tranquil tone he set in January.

The group performs acoustically, as well, unaltered by cables and cords when taking the stage. Their next appearance will be at Fergie’s, a salt-of-the-earth Irish bar in Center City, from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 10.

Along with scheduled gigs, Silver said he and his band mates enjoy hitting open-mic nights throughout the city, with the most recent being at The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., on Tuesday. “There’s been a lot of people who have gone through there who have made it pretty big,� Silver said of the Northern Liberties venue.

With their pleasant sound and purist way of playing, the five members — along with a few others like South Philly resident and fiddle player Erica Miller and singers Chris Konopka and Beth Sloan, who play with the group off and on — enjoy the area’s low-key scene, Silver said. Although the songwriter moved to North Philly five years ago, he still ventures back to his old Queen Village stomping grounds and reminisces about hanging out at New Wave Café, Third and Catharine streets, or the neighborhood spot O’Neals just off South Street.

He admires Connie’s Ric Rac (although it’s temporarily closed) for offering a place where musicians can get exposure. “Excellent songwriters and musicians, people who have been successful and putting out nice materials, were all there,� Silver said of the last time he went to the small venue on Ninth Street just off Washington Avenue.

Silver’s love for music spreads into all aspects of his life. When he and his band aren’t strumming away or writing songs, the musician teaches about 30 guitar students at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr and gives general music classes at St. Peter’s School at Third and Lombard streets.

This fall, Silver will head down to Nashville, Tenn., for the Americana Music Conference to meet other bands that will be showcasing, networking and taking in that purring Southern sound. With an album under his belt and another that will have just been released, maybe this time Silver will be the one giving inspirational words instead of receiving them.

Many of his riffs already seem to provide a certain guidance to aspiring musicians, like “Charlie’s Song,� a track off of “Stonethrowers,� which preaches, “When his life is sad, let him sing instead/life ain’t half as bad when songs keep you dreamin’.�

- South Philly Review

"Marc Silver & The Stonethrowers"

"A little bit of folk, a little bit of country and a whole lot of three-part harmonies add up to make this band one you don't want to miss." - Philly Metro

"Pink Penny Awards - Editors Local Favorites"

"Let's add it up. Marc Silver is openly gay, plays folk and bluegrass and lives in a city known more for R&B. Against the odds, and either solo or with his backing group the Stonethrowers, Silver makes it work on the local and national club scene by generating an excitement for down-home moonshine drinkin' music not seen since the Soggy Bottom Boys rocked the house in "O Brother Where Art Thou?" - PGN

"Pop Making Sense"

Most artists ended up going solo after working with a group. This is not the case with The Marc Silver Band, which formed while Silver was recording the album Stonethrowers. Rich in harmonies, the bluegrass sound is made more accessible as heard on Nectar Sweet And Rare, Claim Him Jesus and the southwestern-flavored Lay Me Down. The band creates music with the intent of touring to colleges and festivals. STONETHROWERS HITS THE TARGET and is available via iTunes and CDBaby. - Windy City Times

"Weekly Pick"

Marc Silver & the Stonethrowers
Sat., Nov. 22, 9pm. $10. With Sweetheart Parade, the Papertrees + the New Time Band. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

“Take back your heart/ I don’t want it no more,” pleads Philly song-slinger Marc Silver on Past Is Prelude, his third album. Another tune finds him on similar footing: “I don’t wanna leave just to learn/ All I need was inside your heart.” Just as timeless as those sentiments is the plucky, bluegrass-tinged folk delivered so sharply by Silver and his regular band the Stonethrowers. There’s banjo and mandolin, upright bass and pedal steel, and lots of harmonies raining down, all serving to brighten Silver’s somewhat mournful songwriting. But like the well-worn Appalachian tunes he looks to for inspiration, his own work is uplifting in its clear-eyed honesty. (Doug Wallen) - Philadelphia Weekly

"A Potent Musical Blend"

Musical acts trying to blend different genres together are often times hit-or-miss. But for Marc Silver and The Stonethrowers, blending bluegrass, folk, and jazz came quite naturally... (3 pages long). - Fishtown Star


California Avenue (2012) - Marc Silver & The Stonethrowers
Naive Lovers (2010) - Marc Silver (solo album)
Past Is Prelude (2008) - Marc Silver & The Stonethrowers
Stonethrowers (2007) - Marc Silver (solo album)

All music is available on iTunes, CDbaby, Amazon, Pandora, and Spotify amongst many other streaming sites too.



“Marc Silver is living proof that singer/songwriters don’t need to shout outrageously shocking lyrical lines in order to attract well-deserved attention. Naïve Lovers is filled with mostly quiet acoustic songs, featuring little more than strummed or picked guitars and Silver’s can’t-ignore-it voice. His confessional songs draw you in, rather than drag you along… He has great skill at getting deep inside the heads of his characters and looking at the world the way they would. Naïve Lovers reveals a truly noteworthy artist that walks quietly, but carries a big gift.” Dan MacIntosh, [Music Journalist]

Marc Silver & The Stonethrowers is a band that blends a passion for traditional song, Appalachian fiddle tunes, and country swing with a unique mix of original songwriting, bluegrass and folk music. Lead singing with great vocal character and seamlessly blended three-part vocal harmonies fill out their energetic delivery.

For Marc Silver, music and writing is intensely personal. He says, “when stories appear in my mind’s eye, it is like a firefly inside a little glass jar. I hold the jar to my forehead and try to extract the story encoded in the flashes within…In some ways, a good day of writing can be as gratifying and meaningful to me as crafting a song.”

Born in Missouri, Marc came from a family with an enduring love of music. As a child Marc found his first musical storytelling passion while composing themes to wild cowboy and Indian chases on the “black keys” (which he later came to know as the pentatonic scale). Piano and violin lessons in elementary school led Marc to buying his first electric guitar and amplifier (a B.C. Rich and Peavey) in 1992.

He began his guitar studies learning the blues, Phish, and Zeppelin songs with friends after school. In 1993, after winning the Missouri State Wrestling Championships, Marc stated in an exit interview that he was interested in pursuing music and starting a band. He’s been wrestling with the muse ever since.

Marc left the flatlands and moved east to study jazz and guitar at The University of The Arts. This was a great period of musical challenge and personal growth for Marc. Ultimately, though he did write and record an instrumental jazz-fusion record, Marc continued the struggle of finding his own voice in the music he was trying to express.

By 2006, working as a part-time music educator by day, Marc had compiled a list of original songs he felt were worthy of performing to live audiences. Weekly open mics all over the city helped develop his confidence while introducing him to other musicians who eventually became band mates. Bolstered by this new enthusiasm, Marc started writing “Nectars Sweet and Rare”, “Lay Me Down” and other songs which led to his first recording Stonethrowers.

By October 2008, just in time for their first appearance at the prestigious Philadelphia club, The Tin Angel, the final pieces of the band came together in what is now called Marc Silver & The Stonethrowers.

“Whether he yearns for love or sings of loss and chance encounters, Silver strikes a chord…Silver’s laidback singing mesmerizes the listener right away and begs all to stop and pay attention… Whether it’s his light finger picking on the title track or aggressive electric guitar interlude on “Devil’s Dust,” he manages to sooth and awaken the listener while at the same time provide mystique.” Annie Reuter –Music Journalist

Marc has traveled as a solo performer and with The Stonethrowers all over the East Coast in prestigious venues like The Philadelphia Folk Festival, Café Lena, Club Passim, Godfrey Daniels, The Purple Fiddle, The World Café Live, The Kimmel Center, and The Sherman Theater. In addition to public performances, The Stonethrowers are often invited to play private parties and university festivals at institutions such as Ithaca University, University of Pennsylvania, University Of The Arts, and The University of Delaware.

Marc Silver | 215.460.5376
Official Band YouTube: