Mark Cool

Mark Cool

 Durham, North Carolina, USA
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

Sounds like a mixture of Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie and the Carter Family.

Acoustic fingerstyle guitar and soulful storytelling with gritty honesty in the voice and the stories.

"Piedmont Poet Picker" as dubbed by Rob Ellen, Scottish Promoter.

Biography

Mark Cool is a singer/ songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist who was raised in the snow belt in Syracuse NY in the 70's in a hippie collective where folk concerts, protests, composting, family meetings, and healthy, but not always palatable vegetarian food were part of life.

His music is twangy and folky, acoustic based, in the ballpark of Prine, Townes, Libba, and Guthrie with a bit of Cash influence as well. His fingerstyle guitar pays homage to these and other old-timey pickers.

“A roosty, folky, bluesy exposition of the highest order…” said Paul Villers of Americana UK magazine, who picked Cool’s 2007 cd as one of their top 20 of the year.

Performing solo and as a duo with slide and lap steel guitarist Art Champagne, Cool has been winning over audiences with his from the heart playing and singing, and engaging stage presence.

As a teen Mark learned guitar from Dana Klipp, who was Libba Cotten’s accompanist. Klipp made a bargain that for every Led Zeppelin or Cream song he taught, his pupil had to learn an Elizabeth Cotten or Mississippi John Hurt song.

In ’91, while tending bar, Cool met a Nashville ex-pat and songwriter studying at Syracuse University. The two became friends and played some music together, and Cool ended up spontaneously moving cross-country to Los Angeles to play guitar in an alt-pop band Hip Hip Goliath, fronted by his Nashville friend. A couple of months into the project, Mark was given his walking papers for sounding “too much like Buddy Holly.”
The newly transplanted Northeasterner licked his wounds and focused on writing his own material, moved into a studio apartment with a Murphy bed and a view of the Capitol Records building, and attended the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, studying guitar, voice, songwriting, and theory.

During this LA period Mark plied his craft at songwriters’ circles, song pitches, playing live shows solo and with bands and releasing an EP and a bunch of demo tapes.

Cool relocated fresher air and a slower pace in ’01, splashing down in Mebane NC, and eventually migrating to his current home place, Old West Durham, where he currently writes, records and tours from.

In recent years, Mark has focused his live playing on house concerts and listening room type venues, launched and plugged away at the “100 House Concerts Tour,” and has toured the UK and Europe annually. A new musical release will likely be out in, 2011, with original material that he’s been road testing in Europe and the US.

Charity work; Mark has performed at benefits and written a song for Alzheimer’s research, as well as playing at the Ronald Mc Donald House, Durham, and a halfway house in Chapel Hill. In Europe he’s performed to raise funds for Maggie’s Centre for cancer patients. Every November the songwriter sprouts a moustache for Movember, to raise funds for research for men’s cancers.

Discography

Discography:
One LA-era ep, “Mark Cool Songs,” is still in circulation, and 2 full length cds, “Introducing Mark Cool and the Folk Stars” (2007), and “Pie” (2009) were released in North Carolina.
IMFS was recorded and mastered at Durham’s Sound Scripture Studios. Pie was recorded at Overdub Lane in Durham, and mastered at the Kitchen, Carrboro NC.