Mark Stepakoff
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Mark Stepakoff

Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Acoustic




"Review Of The Story Behind The Story"

Top 5 Selection -- "The Story Behind The Story is one of the finest
recordings you'll hear from any artist locally or nationally . . . Stepakoff is a poet of the highest order . . . Outstanding!" - Metronome Magazine

"Review Of The Story Behind The Story"

Just listened to a rarity -- an album where EVERY song is an A+. His name is Mark Stepakoff -- Don White gave me Mark's latest album and to classify it I'd call it hip country folk (he's been compared to John Prine and that is a well-deserved compliment)." - Christine Lavin

"Review of The Story Behind The Story"

"These are great songs, very John Prine. It's easy to be funny, but much harder to be witty, and make it look [so] effortless" - Mark Erelli

"Review Of The Story Behind The Story"

"I've really only got three things to say about "The Story Behind The Story" - love it, love it, love it. As a freeform DJ of 17 years standing I have kissed a lot of frogs to find a prince and [this] album is one of those rare princes." - Eddie White, The Cosmic Cowboy Cafe

"Review of Some Assembly Required"

Boston singer-songwriter Mark Stepakoff's third CD, "Some Assembly Required" features the sort of cynical and humorous lyrics associated with Warren Zevon delivered in a style also reminiscent of John Prine. . . . [Mark's] trademark wordplay is on display in "Some Assembly Required", "Vicarious" and the hilarious ode to an indigestible breakfast after a severe hangover, the Tex-Mex flavored "Huevos Rancheros". . . . But the best song comes at the end of the CD,
"When Vernon Moved From Tupelo", a slow song that tells the tale about the move from Tupelo to Memphis of the then 13 year old Elvis Presley. A wonderful song
with beautiful violin and equally beautiful harmony vocals from Joyce Andersen. . . . Along with his previous album "There Goes The Neighborhood", "Some Assembly Required" confirms Mark Stepakoff's place in the upper echelon of songwriters to emerge so far this century.
- Rootstime

"Review of Some Assembly Required"

Mark Stepakoff's "Some Assembly Required" explores the ups and downs of relationships,
and alcoholic beverages, with altcountry blues melodies and a humorous touch. . . .
Sounding like John Prine meets Steve Earle with Warren Zevon lending a hand,
Mark has delivered another strong CD worthy of radio airplay.

- Altcountry Forum

"Review of There Goes The Neighborhood"

Boston-based singer-songwriter Mark Stepakoff certainly deserves to be a national folk figure, up there with the likes of Christine Lavin and Jonathan Richman. The clever lyrics in the title track describe living next door to the blues and the troubles, but mention that "A funny thing's been happening since you and I did meet / There are moving trucks all up and down the street," giving new meaning to the phrase "There goes the neighborhood." The creative rhymes found in "Worst Cast Scenario" will put a smile on your face (Lake Ontario and Lothario), while acoustic guitar and pedal steel keep the music humming along beautifully. "Barbecue Sauce" could be the next commercial jingle for Heinz . or Crest toothpaste: "When the meal's over, don't forget to brush and floss / I wish they made a toothpaste that tastes like barbecue sauce." It's impossible not to chuckle while listening to Stepakoff's unbeatably original songs; There Goes the Neighborhood should find its way home to your collection. - Performing Songwriter

"Review of There Goes The Neighborhood"

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Mark Stepakoff assembles a talented cast of musicians to accompany him on his new album There Goes The Neighborhood. Guitarist Duke Levine, bassist Sandy Martin, drummer Lorne Entress, Jake Armerding on fiddle, John Curtis on mandolin, dobro, banjo and classical guitar, Tom Eaton on accordion and percussion, keyboardist Larry Luddecke, saxophonist Billy Novick, Mark Erelli, Susan Levine, Lisa Bastoni, Chris Elliott, Oen Kennedy, Rob Siegel;, Marcie Schaefer and Greta Schaefer on backing vocals all show up on the tracks of this lighthearted, upbeat project from Stepakoff that ranges in subject matter from a tribute to Mighty Sam McClain, to the advantages of barbecue sauce (on everything you can eat), as well as an ode to a Chinese food staple, General Gao. Throw in a broken heart and a love affair with Amanda Peet and Stepakoff leaves no stones unturned.

Mark Stepakoff's music is as poignant as it is comical. He's got an acute sense of zeroing in on day-to day occurrences while finding a little bit of humor in it all. Fused to the backdrop of some of the finest playing from some of New England's best musicians and Mark Stepakoff delivers an entertaining CD that spans the generations
- Metronome

"Review of There Goes The Neighborhood"

In the '60s, we had Shel Silverstein offering humorous songs with a bite. In 2006, we can turn to Mark Stepakoff to perform this vital service, and this album is an excellent introduction to his work.

Mark has a way with words and he knows how to add the right piece of music to complement the lyrics and sentiments.

"Worst Case Scenario" is probably one the most unusual love ditties you will hear in many a year. Yet the sentiments are true. I never expected to hear a catalogue of disasters incorporated into true romance.

But Mark is not all about fun. Listen closely to "Regrets Only" and find a new perspective on how that innocuous phrase we see almost every day can bring heartbreak. The magic of this writer is how he can see this connection and then write a song about it.

The love theme continues with "It Ain't Over," another lovely song about a dilemma brought about by love. "Amanda Peet" is his rather offbeat love song to the actress and a diatribe against overly thin people. Maybe if he has a crush on Amanda he could take his own advice as on "Means to an End."

"Mighty Sam McLain" is a story/song and tribute to the blues legend of that name. It is also a chronicle of changing music popularity; as he says, "soul turned into disco and Sam lost his way."

One of the best tracks on offer is "General Gao." Here again we get some history but also some fun. Who ever connected ancient Chinese wars with takeout food? Stepakoff does and ordering Chinese will never be the same.

The saying goes that we should hide our profound messages in the long grass. Mark hides his in humour and it hits home all the more powerfully for that.

"Review of There Goes The Neighborhood"

Wry, whimsical and with eye-in-habitual-wink mode, Mark Stepakoff has a most unique musical view of this world.

Yes, he writes and sings about relationships, the proverbial mother lode for those who make a living with wordplay, but he does it in his especially own way.

Exhibit A appears with the initial cut: rather than sing sweet praises of his newfound love in "There Goes The Neighborhood," Stepakoff words come out this way:

"...Around the corner where the troubles used to be Well it's said that they left town quite unexpectedly And it seems the hurts and sorrows are just nowhere to be found They last were seen the day you came around..."

Exhibit B, the second song, employs a similar method of communication:

"I could jump out of an airplane, then realize my parachute won't operate I could be on board a sinking ship where white sharks are known to congregate

I could be beaten, robbed and left for dead, stark naked in the middle of the barrio

But to have to live without your love, well that would be worse case scenario..."

The trifecta is achieved with "If She Wasn't Half Bad," about the dark side of a woman being the attraction.

Staying in the same eccentric mode, Stepakoff offers sweet nothings to a trio of Hollywood actresses in the caloric-obsessed "Amanda Peet." Adding Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock to the mix of actresses he swears by, his only complaint is that they all need a heftier girth.

"Means to an End" provides insight into the strategic planning, including measureables and timelines, involved in wooing and acquiring a new flame.

Some smart ad agency will pick up Stepakoff's "Barbeque Sauce" for a television spot as he is so head over heels with the condiment that he ends the song with: "Oh Lord I wish they made a toothpaste that tastes like barbeque sauce."

The most unique song is a tribute to a human-turned culinary delight. "General Gao" is a historical Chinese military figure whose name was somehow tranformed into a chicken delicacy. Stepakoff, at his most tongue in cheek, provides these delectables: "He used to order thousands, now thousands order him" and "fearless and courageous, but he's just chicken now."

Also appearing are this trio: an accolade to singer Mighty Sam McClain, a sad tale of never summoning the courage to express one's attraction to an unrequitted love, and the ending of a relationship announced by what is first thought to be a robbery--an inside job as Stepakoff calls it. He returns home to discover his partner's clothes closet empty and their bed stripped of linen. Columbo he isn't.

Probably the only thing that's missing here is a remake of "How can I miss you when you won't go away?"

Stepakoff's offerings are set to a large dose of country style music, some folk, a bit of blues and a dash of Western swing. Irony on the side at no extra charge.
- Kevin's Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews

"Review of Amateur Hour"

One of Boston's] Top 10 Unknown or Under-Known Acts . . . Songs [that] give the most bang for the buck. Mark possesses an incredible wit and sensitivity. Buy his CD . . . You'll be glad you did. - The Noise

"Review of Amateur Hour"

Worth the price of admission alone on this CD is “Singer-Songwriter Hell,” a clever and funny takeoff on the folk music scene. That’s typical of the humor in several of the other songs, such as “Mall Cop,” and in the country music parodies. Yet Stepakoff can play it straight too, recounting a comforting first relationship in the title track.
- Bostonia Magazine

"Review of Amateur Hour"

4 Stars--My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing Mark at a Town Hall event in Holliston, MA . . . [He was] the last act of the night [and] broke out into a set of 4 -5 very clever, very well written songs, including "Mall Cop" which I defy you to find a comparable song. I found Mark on the way out and bought the CD. Over the course of the next four days I played the CD on the drive to and from work and loved it - even more great songs and some very good back up musicians and singers . . . This guy is a top-drawer songwriter. Do yourself a favor and get this one. - Customer Review


Still working on that hot first release.



Award winning Boston singer-songwriter Mark Stepakoff has released his fourth album, "The Story Behind The Story". The CD features Mark's trademark mix of wry humorous material and poignant ballads, in the vein of songwriters such as Loudon Wainwright III and John Prine, to whom he has often been compared. Six of the CD's twelve songs have already won awards from national songwriting contests, including 1st Place in The Great American Song Contest, the New Orleans Songwriters Festival Songwriting Contest and American Songwriter Magazine's lyric contest.

Mark's prior CDs have hit both the national Folk-DJ and Roots Music Report radio airplay charts, reaching as high as number 17 and drawing rave reviews from the likes of Performing Songwriter magazine, Metronome Magazine, and The Noise. Mark's music has been played on more a hundred radio stations all across the U.S. and abroad.

On his latest CD Mark is backed by some of New England's finest musicians including Mark Erelli, Duke Levine and Joyce Andersen. Of the CD Erelli says: "These are great songs, very John Prine. It's easy to be funny, but much harder to be witty, and make it look [so] effortless."

Mark performs frequently in the Boston area. He has headlined on several occasions at Cambridge's legendary Club Passim, and has also performed at (among many other venues) the Nameless Coffeehouse, Johnny D's, the Burren, Tupelo Music Hall, the Abbey Lounge, Sally O'Brien's, the Amazing Things Arts Center, and the Center for Arts in Natick, where he hosts the weekly folk open mike. Mark has appeared on WCVB/Channel 5's "Chronicle" program and New England Cable News' "Coffeehouse" program. Among the artists he has opened for are Bill Morrissey, Steve Forbert, Buskin & Batteau, Don White, Kevin So, Geoff Bartley, Claudia Schmidt, Susie Burke & David Surrette, and the James Montgomery Band.

Band Members