Mark Edgar Stuart
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Mark Edgar Stuart

Memphis, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Memphis, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Folk





1) Mark Edgar Stuart
If there was a breakout individual of 2013, it was Mark Edgar Stuart. A longtime sideman with local heavy hitters like John Paul Keith, Jack Oblivian, and the Pawtuckets, Stuart seemingly came out of nowhere as a singer-songwriter/frontman this year on the strength of the beautiful and gut-wrenching debut album Blues for Lou. Standout songs like "Things Ain't Fine" and "Remote Control" reveal Stuart's remarkable ability to cut to the heart with personal detail but also keep the proceedings just light enough to be accessible. — J.D. Reager - Memphis Flyer

"Mark Edgar Stuart On His Love of Memphis, Reclaiming Sun, and ‘Trinity My Dear’"

Imagine suddenly you hear nothing except your own thoughts and this goes on for weeks.

Some things in life seem to happen randomly and in the depth of despair, you’d be hard pressed to think they’re happening for a reason. For Mark Edgar Stuart, he never thought he’d make his own record but that was before the veteran Memphis sideman was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy.

“I had a lot of time hanging around the house with no hair,” says Stuart, a survivor of lymphoma who has just released his second album, the stellar and authentic Trinity My Dear. Stuart started finger picking on his acoustic guitar, learning off You Tube and found being sick was good for creativity. “I sucked singing,” he admits. “I learned if I sang mumbo jumbo to my own chord progressions it sounded okay. I started making demos until my voice didn’t annoy me.”

If Stuart felt that he never had anything to write about, he soon was dealing with tragedy when his father had a heart attack and passed away that same year. That was the impetus for writing and he wrote “Remote Control,” a moving tribute in which he recalls the heartfelt memories of spending time with his dad, a lifelong figure of inspiration who was everything to him. The debut album was called Blues For Lo and Stuart established himself as a great raconteur.

Trinity My Dear is a sometimes plaintive narrative on life, love and the struggles we go through in relationships. Stuart’s earnest, humble demeanor underpins the sparse homespun folk arrangements of songs largely resulting from personal events. The beauty of Trinity My Dear is the simplicity and elegance of the arrangements in a time when authenticity is elusive.

Stuart relates that he and his wife Emily were trying to have a baby for years with no luck. They tried intravenous fertilization to no avail. The song “Joe Is Enough” was written about the day they learned it failed. Their boxer pit dog Joe, who is on the inside of the sleeve, is the best friend they have for sure Stuart relates. Looking back, he views the whole process as a heartless scam and money for which they are still in debt.

Stuart had no intention of recording something so personal but felt that the performance, which was done in one take, came out perfect. The title track is accentuated by the cellist Jana Misener of the Memphis Dawls whose lines support, follow and reinforce Stuart’s hopeful plea in the wake of the couple’s emotional rollercoaster. It’s similar in the way Stuart places friend and background singer Kait Lawson to sing along in “Wasted”—a song he wrote for her about some of the things she herself was going through. Lawson’s harmonies on “Wrapped Up In Nothing New” from his first album are like brushstrokes that add color to the subtleties of Stuart’s masterful and intimate arrangements.

mes trinity hi rez

When Stuart talks, he’d be the first to tell you roots music is all he knows. He recalls he couldn’t play sports growing up in Arkansas and looking funny, music became his outlet. Starting in the seventh grade, he began playing upright bass in the school orchestra. But he desperately wanted to be cool and given that classical music wasn’t cool at the time, his dad bought him an electric guitar a year later. He went back and forth between the instruments, urged on by his father who said if he wanted to go to college, he’d better get good at the upright and get a scholarship – which he did.

The main reason he moved to Memphis was to play music. Thanks to his father, everything he was raised on revolved around Sun Records, the legendary label that issued records by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. The site of Sun Studios in Memphis is where the four gathered as the Million Dollar Quartet.

At the age of seventeen, Stuart found himself at his first recording session. It was a gift to friend Bryan Jackson whose uncle Wayne was the driving force of the Memphis Horns, the legendary horn section which played on every record made by the Memphis label Stax including Otis Redding and Sam and Dave and Elvis Presley. The uncle booked a night at Sun as a birthday present for his nephew who brought along Stuart.

Stuart’s upbringing and passionate connection to Sun inspired him to record Trinity My Dear there. The studio, he says, is pretty much the same as it was back in the day, however it’s gone through lots of changes over the years and thanks to Matt Ross Spang, the control room has been restored with all the old vintage analog gear. “There’s definitely a vibe.”

Given that not of a lot of local music gets recorded there, Stuart envisioned a singer-songwriter project to “reclaim Sun so to speak.” The funky groove of “Myra Gale” is accentuated by friend Al Gamble on keys. The two played together in many bands before Gamble joined St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Stuart imagines the sound of fellow Arkansas-ites and Americana pioneers Levon Helm and The Band when he hears Gamble’s clavinet.

The melancholic “We Were In Bloom” was a song about the summer after his senior year in hometwon Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He recorded the backing track down the street from Sun at Sam Phillips Recording Service, the place the man who discovered Elvis Presley built after selling Sun Records to RCA. The original Sun session guitarist who played on all the old hit records was the engineer there until he died two years ago at 80. Stuart calls Roland Janes a treasure and an unsung hero. He penned a song about him on his Soundcloud page. “Hell,” Stuart chuckles, “even Dylan stopped by to record with him a few years back. Bob knew what was up.”

Stuart wrote “Myra Gale” about the marriage between Jerry Lee Lewis and a thirteen-year old teenager who turned out to be his second cousin. It turned out to be the downfall of his career. Stuart says he love Jerry Lee and the piano player was always his dad’s favorite. The song he explains isn’t the most flattering and relates the turbulence of his career. In the song Stuart tried to capture how Lewis blamed everyone else for his problems and missteps in life. Stuart’s father wanted “The Killer” to be his son’s first concert but the mid-Eighties were the lean years and he played in a half-filled gymnasium the night Stuart saw him.

“in typical Killer fashion, he walked out on stage played one song and said the piano wasn’t in tune and walked off,” he remembered of that typical night. Still that didn’t stop Stuart and he says he has tried to see him every opportunity he gets. He recalls how surreal it was to be standing next to Steve Winwood backstage watching Lewis play in Memphis. In the 90s he saw Jerry Lee walking out of a Dodge’s Fried Chicken store with a bucket of chicken, clad in a red velvet tux and two women half his age, one on each arm. “Jerry Lee Lewis is the King,” Stuart states matter of factly. He was and always will be.” Last year he finally got a picture with him playing in a band that shared the same bill in Memphis. Mark Edgar Stuart On His Love of Memphis, Reclaiming Sun and ‘Trinity My Dear’

When I ask Stuart if he feels a direct lineage with roots music, he answers by saying “yep, it’s all I know. I live and have lived in the heartland of it all. My family has deep roots.” The two albums that blew him away as a child were “The Best of Chuck Berry Featuring My Ding-a-Ling” and Tony Joe White’s “Black and White.” The landscape of the south and heritage still informs his music. He uses the early twentieth century backdrop of Louisiana in homage to his grandmother who was bounced from home to home and was raised by black sharecroppers in what he calls “the little house behind the big house.” Stuart’s mother knew nothing of this for eighty years. In “Louise From Derrider,” he closes the album on classical guitar, Eric Lewis on dobro and Andy Raitliff on mandolin. He thinks they got it on the third take.

One day while on Beale Street, Stuart ran into Levon Helm, the subject of one of his first songs. Stuart views Levon as a fellow “Arkie done good” and was a huge influence of the man who played all over Arkansas and Memphis when he was young. He saw him for the first time when he was fifteen in Helena. “I was a bass man and he was a drummer. I always wanted to be on his team.” Stuart read his autobiography and watched all his movies and his Memphis bug was planted again. “Had to get to Memphis,” he says.

Fast forward ten years, Stuart saw him on Beale Street and got his autograph. Most importantly “he was everything I hoped he would be.” The two talked for ten minutes making the Arkansas connection, and Helm laughed when Stuart told him he was from Pine Bluff, the city he says has “quite the reputation and is similar to Memphis.” Helm’s own experience with cancer was very influential to Stuart. “I always said ‘if Levon can beat this, then I will.’” In 2012 Stuart had just overcome his own battle and couldn’t wait to tell him about it. He then learned that Levon had become very ill again.

“I was devastated,” Stuart remembers. “I thought Levon was better. I thought he had beat cancer. The show was pretty rough that night.” Stuart went on to write a song and played it for a few months before Levon died. A year later he was asked to perform at the Little Rock Film Festival which was debuting a new movie about Helm with all of his family and friends in attendance. It was a special gig but Stuart says he rarely plays the song “West of Mississippi (Diddy For Levon)” anymore.

It is worth trolling through Stuart’s Soundcloud page where you can hear some of his more humorous and offbeat songs like “Junkyard Weirdo,” “Jihadi John” or “Don’t Blame Jesus (If He Don’t Come Back).” Stuart’s acerbic wit and take on pop culture reminds of John Prine, Randy Newman and Steve Goodman, sprinkled with echoes of a young Bob Dylan. If Stuart is an able satirist, he can’t help from dabbling in writing about world happenings. “’Jesus’ and “Jihadi John,’ I just wrote ‘em” he says. “The whole Beatle connection of ‘Jihadi John’ intrigued me so I ran with it.”

The ton of ‘funny’ songs he’s written (save for the romp of “Third D.U.I.” from his debut) haven’t found a place on any of his records but he thinks his next album will be all light-hearted and upbeat material. “I Can’t Remember The Last Time We Fucked” is an homage to Rod Norwood who ran a guitar show in downtown Memphis and Stuart says sold guitars to everyone. The Memphis legend has Keith Richards tattooed on his chest. They both went through cancer together and Norwood is still dealing with it. “When you’re a songwriter folks are always telling you what would make a good song title and it’s usually terrible,” Stuart says. “Well this one was so terrible, I felt obliged to write it and I did it. For Rod!”

Is there something Stuart would want people to know about him? Perhaps it’s that he’s shy and insecure but funny and above all just an everyday dude. “I’m not trying to be somebody but certainly would love to be somebody,” he adds. “I love my new passion for songwriting. I love writing way more than performing.”

The city still remains a beacon and for Stuart, there is no place like Memphis. He cites its music, its history and its struggles as what make the city what it is. ”It’s not pretty and sometimes Memphis is downright ugly,” he says candidly of the city he calls beautiful – but with an edge.

When I ask him to compare it to Nashville, he quickly shoots back: “Nashville? Hell, they got their own prime-time TV show called ‘Nashville.’ No further explanation. In Memphis no one is too worried about ‘making it,’ and those who are move to Nashville.”

Stuart laments that most of the blues, R&B and rockabilly is being done by people not from Memphis but who are transplants. Punk and rap are strong here. But he lights up talking about the singer-songwriter scene that has sprung up and gained momentum, saying he’s honored to be part of it. In fact it was fellow Memphis songwriter Faith Evans Ruch who first introduced me to Stuart.

Looking back, he doesn’t think he learned much from college. Perhaps the night with Jackson at Sun and the experiences of climbing in a van with three other guys, as he says, and seeing the world, was his real education.

These days Stuart is using word of mouth to help drive awareness of his music, playing folk festivals, house concerts and coffee shops around a three-hundred mile radius of Memphis. He talks reverently about the North Mississippi hill country which is half an hour from the city and he considers still being part of the scene. “Now that is some authentic folk and blues music that you won’t see on Beale.”

On his travels, he is no doubt fueled by the number of private messages he receives on Facebook from people who have been moved by “Remote Control” and what it means to them.

Stuart calls it a blessing.

“I’ll probably be singing that song the rest of my life,” he reflects. “I’d like to say my dad co-wrote it with me.” - NO DEPRESSION

"Mark Edgar Stuart follows up debut with expertly crafted second album, ‘Trinity My Dear'"

If anyone thought that Mark Edgar Stuart’s critically acclaimed 2013 debut, Blues for Lou — an emotionally impactful concept LP about his late father — might’ve been a fluke, the luck of a first-timer, his new album proves otherwise.

Released this week, Stuart’s second effort, Trinity My Dear (Madjack), is a subtly and expertly crafted set, with a core of songs about the difficulties of long-term romantic relationships; it finds Stuart further refining his voice as a storyteller and lyricist. He will mark the release of the disc with a show this Sunday at Lafayette’s Music Room.

Stuart’s evolution into one of the city’s best songwriters is an unexpected development for someone who began a solo career only a few years ago. Although he’d been playing in Memphis bands for years — including the Pawtuckets, Secret Service, the 145s and others — remarkably, Stuart had never even tried his hand at writing until his mid-30s. “I’d contributed some riffs here and there in whatever band I was in,” said Stuart, “but I never sat down and said, ‘I’m gonna write a song.’”

Part of it, says Stuart, was that he didn’t have the right impetus to create. Then, in 2010, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. “I was 36, I knew I wasn’t gonna die, that I had a 90 percent chance of surviving,” he says. “It felt like people around me were freaking around me a lot more than I was. But still, anytime something like that happens to you, it’s a lot to take in.”

That summer, while recuperating from chemotherapy, Stuart began to mold himself into a singer by tackling his greatest fear: his voice. “The most uncomfortable part becoming a singer songwriter was the singing part. I had a lot of downtime while I was recovering, and had this little Zoom recorder. I would just sit there and sing into that recorder until my voice didn’t annoy me anymore,” says Stuart, who sounds like cross between Vic Chesnutt and John Prine. “I really learned how to sing like learning an instrument. I would sit around singing Bob Dylan tunes, badly, and that led me into writing.”

Initially, he wrote a “silly” original called “Arkansas Is Nice”; then, just a few months after his last radiation treatment, Stuart lost his father to a heart attack. It was a devastating personal blow, but one that motivated him as well.

“I finally felt like I had something to write about then, so I just started writing him,” Stuart says. “I wrote six or seven songs, and then came ‘Remote Control’ — that was the turning point for me as a songwriter.” Stuart’s recollection of watching TV as a kid with his old man, flipping channels at his request, was a finely etched image of childhood: “Mom would pop us some corn, we’d make it a meal/I was in your arms and I was always thrilled/Just to be with there you and that big bowl/I was happy to be your remote control.”

Stuart began making demos of the material with no real intention of them ever seeing the light of day. It was his friends — producer Jeff Powell and Madjack label head Mark McKinney — who encouraged him to record the songs properly and release the results. Stuart did, and Blues for Lou became the unexpected local hit of 2013, reaching the top of year-end lists in The Commercial Appeal and The Memphis Flyer.

“I was really overwhelmed by the reaction to it because I didn’t set out to make a record,” Stuart says. “I was just making some songs I thought I might give to my mom or just play for a few friends. I still pinch myself to this day that all that happened.”

For his sophomore album, Stuart initially felt he needed to go in a different direction. “I wanted make an upbeat happy record after (Blues for Lou), but the songs I came up with were depressing, too,” he says, laughing. Trinity My Dear — particularly songs like “Joe Is Enough” and the title track — is just as personal a project, dealing largely with the ups and downs of a committed relationship (Stuart has been with his wife for 13 years and married for the past seven). “There’s definitely a theme to it. I really struggled with it for a while, whether I wanted to put it out there so directly. A lot of it deals with some stuff me and my wife were going through at the time. But I stuck to my guns and hope I don’t regret it.”

With Powell producing, Stuart cut the basic tracks for the record at Ardent Studios and also at Sun Studio. Working at the spiritual home of rock and roll had a personal meaning. “It was sentimental thing. Sun was one of the reasons I wanted to move to Memphis as kid,” says Stuart. “Growing up, my dad loved anything Sun; he especially loved Jerry Lee Lewis. He took us on a family vacation to visit Sun — that’s what a freak he was for that music. So doing this record at Sun — that was partly for my pop too.”

Stuart resurrects a Sun-era legend in the track “Myra Gail” — a sad, funny song about Lewis’ famous marriage to his young cousin and the fallout from it. Also, the song “We Were in Bloom” is a holdover from a solo demo session Stuart had done with legendary Sun house guitarist Roland Janes at Phillips studio just before his passing.

With the release of his new album, Stuart is pursuing his career with more vigor. He just came back from playing the annual Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City. “It was my first time there, so I felt like a little fish in a big old pond,” he says. Next month, he’ll be making his solo debut at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, playing a handful of showcases, to help boost his national profile.

“I am a late bloomer,” Stuart says. “Part of me wishes there I had been doing this all along, writing and singing all these years. When I’m trying to get gigs and promote myself and get something shaking, part of me thinks: ‘I got lost time to make up for.’” - Commerical Appeal

""One of the best- and coolest- roots records to come out of the USA in a very long time. FIVE STARS""

Mark Edgar Stuart, a Memphis singer-songwriter, recorded his 2nd album at famed Sun Studios.... He may be the best 21st century protest singer we didn't know we needed... Described as possessing the heart and humor to evoke the likes of John Prine, he also conjures up thoughts of Randy Newman and even Roger Miller. A key man in the vibrant Memphis music scene, he plays bass for the brilliant Memphis Dawls.... He's toured with Grammy-winner, Alvin Youngblood Hart and cut two records with Cory Branan which lead to an appearance on The David Letterman Show. A go-to side man in the Memphis area, no longer in the shadows as a sideman, as a singer-songwriter in his own right, his songs have a unique flavor to them; to poke, to prod, to stroke, to intrigue and to provoke....Get to know Mark Edgar Stuart and make him your new best friend; of at least adopt this album and shower it with love. I am - Maverick Magazine, UK

"Damn fine songwriter..."

Native Pine Bluffian Mark Edgar Stuart has become one of the mainstays of the Memphis music scene, playing live or recording with dozens upon dozens of folks. You would be hard pressed to find a working Memphis musician who has not played with Stuart at one time or another. You’d be even harder pressed to find one with an ill word for Stuart or his talents. Over on this side of the river he is best known for his work playing bass with The Pawtuckets and then as one of the One Four Fives, backing Tennessee Telecaster wizard John Paul Keith. He has, at one time or another, graced the stages of the majority of the music venues in Little Rock. In 2003 he appeared with Cory Branan on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Until now, the entirety of his impressive resume has been backing others with his bass… and why not? Stuart is, after all, a classically trained upright bass player, starting in the orchestra program in the Pine Bluff school system earning a music scholarship at what is now the University of Memphis. In early to mid-2010, during a bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the resulting chemotherapy, Stuart started writing songs. He recently told me that he “never wanted to be a songwriter, but I was bored and need something to do. It was something I could do while I was stuck at the house.” Stuart eventually pulled through the illness, but then lost his father to a heart attack.

Fast forward to this week and Stuart’s first solo album, "Blues for Lou," just dropped on Madjack Records, a label that is no stranger to Memphians with Arkansas connections, having released early recordings from Lucero and Branan, who lived in Fayetteville for a spell.

More after the jump.

Well, it turns out that the bearded bass player from Pine Bluff is also a damn fine songwriter. The songs appear to be extremely personal, but to be fair to Stuart, I should mention that most of the songs on “Blues for Lou” were never intended to be for public consumption. In fact, the early intentions were to record it for fun and give copies to family and friends as gifts. After some encouragement from Memphis songwriter Jimmy Davis and Jeff Powell (who ended up producing “Blues for Lou”), recording work began.

The dozen songs on the album, for the most part, are of a very personal nature. They can at times be very heavy. The second track, “Things Ain’t Fine,” is clearly about talking with loved ones after receiving news of the cancer diagnosis. The album contains several songs about Stuart’s relationship with his father and then losing him, including the title track, “Tears in Bubba’s Eyes,” “On My Birthday” and opener “Remote Control.”

Writing songs that are this personal can often become the songwriter’s folly, sending the song over a cliff of sappy and sentimental drivel. Stuart approaches this personal subject matter with a strong sense of melody, beautiful use of metaphor and a huge amount of honesty and bravery. This approach keeps the songs a safe distance from the edge of that cliff, yet still provide an intimate view of the depths of the valley below. “Remote Control” may be the best example of this. The lyrics describe a loving relationship of a father and a young boy growing up too fast, only to find the father’s chair empty. The song is filled with imagery of rabbit ear antennas, tin foil and fuzzy cathode ray tubes, images that anyone older than 35 who grew up in Arkansas should be able to visualize easily. This song hits hard and will most likely moisten the eyes of anyone who has lost a parent.

Stuart does provide the listener with several respites from the very weighty subject matter along the way. “Almost Mine” is a sweet love about strong connections that were never fully acted upon. Right on the heels of that track is “Quarterin’ Time” which seems to be from the perspective of a man who is very happy to be with the one that did not get away. Then “Third D.U.I.” is an upbeat romp about out how a serial drunk driver is coming to grips with his predicament. It should probably be pointed out that despite being upbeat, it in no way endorses drunk driving. In fact, it points out many of the legal consequences. There may be a little nostalgia or homesickness for the Natural State coming through in “Arkansas is Nice.”

Stuart handles most of the instrumentation himself, providing vocals, guitars, bass, upright bass, synth, ukulele and kazoo. John Argroves adds drums and percussion throughout. Al Gamble plays keys on a couple of tracks and Kait Lawson adds some sweet backing vocals. The overall production quality of the album is solid. No surprise there, given Stuart’s extensive studio work. There are a couple of instances in which sound quality is sacrificed for feeling. But that’s the kind of compromise I can get behind. All in all, this is a very solid songwriter record from someone who never fancied himself a songwriter. I have a feeling the next one will be even better. - Arkansas Times

"“An album of quiet power… life, love and disappointment have never sounded so wonderful as this.”"

There’s a sweet spot somewhere in the world of American music. It’s a place where I like to think John Prine, Randy Newman and Vic Chesnutt meet and hang out, swapping road stories and strumming guitars whilst writing the kind of poetry that the rest of us can only dream about. And whilst they’re sipping a beer and shooting the breeze, their eyes and ears occasionally touch upon the music of new artists. I can see the three of them now, watching the career of Mark Edgar Stuart, turning to each other without saying a word and silently nodding their approval.

Stuart’s second long-player, Trinity My Dear is a delightful showcase for the man’s skilled musicianship, learned over a number of years as a member of many a Memphis band. In 2010, diagnosed with lymphoma at just 36 and swiftly followed by the sudden passing of his father, Stuart had the time and impetus to turn his hand to songwriting itself and the development of his own voice. Debut album Blues For Lou, ostensibly a tribute to his late Dad, became a critical success.

Trinity My Dear widens the scope of Stuart’s subject matter then, but not too far. Essentially a treatise on the up, down and in-between of long term relationships, the album still feels very much like a personal and intimate collection (“A lot of it deals with some stuff me and my wife were going through at the time,” says Stuart.) But, like the best writing, it also has a timeless, universal quality that makes it completely accessible.

As if to make the point that all of us will experience the dark and the light during the course of our many and varied relationships, opening cut “Ms.America” provides an exquisite juxtaposition of gloom-laden, foreboding lyric (“I see a lot of bad things coming”), and a whimsical oom-pah of a jug-band-esque arrangement, the narrator eventually lamenting: “Ms. America, I’ll never make enough hard money for a hooker like you.” It’s a wry, heartfelt song, full of insight, observation and pathos.

“Killing Spree” maintains the exceptionally high standard. It’s a rich production featuring strummed guitar and breezy organ, and is accompanied by a bewitching melody. The mood is expertly offset by a bruised lyric however, our defeated narrator begging another to quit their destructive behaviour and “give up your killing spree.” If your heart is looking for music that sits somewhere between the merry and the melancholy, then it has just found its gem.

Mark Edgar Stuart

“The most uncomfortable part becoming a singer songwriter was the singing part,” Mark recently told Memphis’ The Commercial Appeal. “I had a lot of downtime while I was recovering, and had this little Zoom recorder. I would just sit there and sing into that recorder until my voice didn’t annoy me anymore.” Every artist will immediately point out the faults and failings that they can see in their own work, but listening to the likes of “Wasted” or “We Were In Bloom” here, it’s mystifying to hear that initial hesitation. Stuart’s voice has a grit and grist that lends these tales an authenticity, and that perfectly complements the new textures introduced in these songs of lap steel and lead guitar lines redolent of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” era.

The voice locks like tongue-and-groove into the funky-sounding “Myra Gale” too, a recounting of Jerry Lee Lewis’ marriage to his young cousin and the resulting furor. The song is both sad and deeply, darkly humorous. It also brings in to stark relief one of the recurring themes of Trinity My Dear; that of wounded men, their fear, and the way they navigate, run from or destroy the root of their misery. “Napoleon Blues” may literally be about a relationship turned sour for example, but it doesn’t take too much of a leap of the imagination to hear the wounded pride of a man feeling small of stature, too.

Mark Edgar Stuart need not worry about a Napoleon Complex. Trinity My Dear is far from a small record needing to be overly aggressive to boost its standing. Quite the opposite in fact. In its exquisitely observed detail, spritely shuffles and heart-rending melodies, this album holds a quiet, seductive power.

Stuart said recently that the Trinity explored here was that of life, love and disappointment. Never has it sounded quite so wonderful as this. - Skinback Alley


Still working on that hot first release.



You can learn a lot about a person by the company he keeps, as a sideman Mark Edgar Stuart has toured with Grammy winner Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jack Oblivian, John Paul Keith and cut two records with singer-songwriter Cory Branan which led to an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. With little fuss or fanfare he became the go-to bass player for an elite group of record producers and artists. His no-nonsense style always played a supporting role that was close to the spotlight, but not too close... Cancer changes things, and so does losing your father. When all of these things happened in rapid succession Mark took some time to heal, and reevaluate. In 2010 He put down his bass, picked up a guitar, and started writing songs he never thought anybody outside his family would ever hear... It’s possible nobody ever would have heard them either, if not for the encouragement of his colleagues. The story you’ll hear over and over again as people discover Mark’s debut CD, Blues for Lou, (and a collection of songs so effortlessly poignant will be discovered and rediscovered for a long time) is how it was triggered by this period of sickness and sorrow. While that’s essentially true, a record like this was inevitable. His debut earned him "Record Of The Year" by the Memphis Flyer. Mark soaks in details like a sponge, and spending so much time in the company of strong songwriters, it was only a matter of time before these humble, humorous and, and sometimes heartbreaking stories found a way to get out.

-Chris Davis, Memphis Flyer

Band Members