Mark Croft

Mark Croft

 Madison, Wisconsin, USA
BandFolkAcoustic

An acoustic guitar based singer/songwriter with Roots, Pop, & Americana song stylings, Mark Croft is the classic 'triple threat'; a skilled guitar player, a powerful and dynamic vocalist, and a talented songwriter and entertainer.

Biography

Mark Croft is an acoustic guitar based singer/songwriter with Roots, Pop, & Americana song stylings, Croft is the classic 'triple threat'; a skilled guitar player, a powerful and dynamic vocalist, and a talented songwriter and entertainer. A seasoned performer, Croft has been serving up exciting and emotional performances to unsuspecting audiences throughout the nation. His ability to navigate his six-string with superiority, wrapping frantic acoustic riffs around unforgettable melodies, has garnered him praise from press outlets, industry professionals, club owners, and fans alike.

“[He] isn't afraid of strong rhythms, which is part of the reason his polished singer-songwriter material is ready for prime time. Funk, blues, folk - it's all here. Croft is NOT just another guy with a guitar in the corner of a coffeehouse.” - Isthmus Magazine

“This is one of the best musicians we’ve heard in a long time. Definitely check out his music.” - Roy Elkins, BROADJAM Founder & CEO

Croft began his musical journey at the tender age of six, plunking out melodies on his parent’s piano. Recognizing his potential, his parents quickly enrolled him in lessons. He continued his study of the piano for more than a decade, composing some of his first original works while still in his teens. A self-taught guitar player, Mark’s love affair with the acoustic began in college; rarely traveling without his guitar and practicing 3 to 4 hours a day. After taking a songwriting class in 2002, Croft began seriously pursuing music; honing his songwriting skills and regularly performing live.

"Croft's skill as a rhythm guitar player distinguishes his music. His up-tempo strumming and rapid-fire chord changes fill his songs with energy." - Katjusa Cisar, Capital Times

Since turning his attention to music full-time in 2005, Mark has claimed 1st place in the Midwest Song Contest and the Inaugural American Idol Underground Rock Contest, and was designated “Favorite Singer/Songwriter” by Isthmus Magazine’s Reader’s Poll. A nine-time Madison Area Music Award winner, he was again honored in the spring of 2010 with five awards for his EP The Possibility of Disaster (Slothtrop Records, 2009), taking home “Pop Album”, “Pop Song”, & “Pop Artist” of the year, as well as “Best Male Vocalist” & “Best Music Video”. More recently, his song "One Mississippi" earned him 3rd place at the Great Lakes Songwriting Contest, and in March, he was selected to be the featured performer for the Broadjam Acoustic Showcase at the 2011 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. A popular guest artist on numerous local network news affiliates including NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox Morning News in Chicago, Croft’s tunes are being spun on the Clear Channel Radio Network, Pandora, college campuses, and Triple-A & non-comm. stations across the United States and Canada.

In the fall of 2010, Croft released his latest CD, Evening Flood, to rave reviews; raising his songwriting and studio work to a new level of sophistication. Recorded and mixed at Masters Recording Studio (formerly Flyte Tyme Studios), under the guidance of producer Anthony J.W. Benson and Grammy AwardTM winning engineer Tom Tucker (Prince, Sting, Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt), Evening Flood was mastered by mastering wiz Dominick Maita (Herbie Hancock, Glee Soundtracks, Curtis Stigers, Til Tuesday, Billy Joel) and features a bevy of talented musicians and vocalists including drummer Noah Levy (BoDeans, Five for Fighting, Peter Frampton, Brian Setzer).

Always unafraid to break the genre barriers, Croft takes inspiration from a variety of musical styles and blends them into his own Pop/Roots approach to songwriting. The CD features the rousing funk-infused single “The Gas Is On” written in the wake of the gulf oil spill and reflects on its global impact and aftermath. In a repertoire brimming with memorable pop singles, Local Sounds Magazine called the title track, “Evening Flood”, “the best-written, most succinct pop song he’s done yet", while his Top-40-Country-tinged, "Good Enough", "comes in a close second." Croft incorporates genres like southern funk (”If She’s Gonna Shake It”), swampy blues (”One Mississippi”), gospel (”Amen and Hallelujah”), and gypsy swing (”The Crow and the Raven”), in the process, he demonstrates his versatility and maturity as a songwriter, storyteller and performer. Mark also recorded one of his favorite Peter Gabriel songs “Washing of the Water”, which closes the album and will surprise many fans, old and new, as he gives a profoundly intimate and emotional performance of this moving song. Peter Gabriel himself, upon recently hearing Mark’s version exclaimed, “Great version - wonderful voice”.

”Croft hit one out of the park with Evening Flood. It’s not very often you find 10 songs on a CD of this caliber! [Evening Flood] shows his best work to date and deserves to be heard by the masses.” - Andy Zielhi, Americana Gazette

As someone who lo

Lyrics

One Mississippi

Written By: Mark Croft

He rolled into Jackson
selling dreams out the trunk of his car
Made the drive up from New Orleans
Where he was hoping to align the stars
He said, "Please accept my humble invitation
To become the richest city in the nation
And all I need is a little down payment"

People came a-running with their arms outstretched
And a desperate look in their eyes
Because he’d been selling ice to Eskimos for years and he knows
What it takes to keep 'em mesmerized
But I said "coming from a man in my position"
You seem to be the very definition
Of a lying 'n' cheating snake oil salesman"

So I said "boy I'm gonna count to ten
And then you better be outta my sight
Start heading south on fifty-five
Until you cross that county line…(and I said)

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine
One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

Well he stood up to try to talk me down
And he said I had it all wrong
Well his gold teeth shining and a twinkle in his eyes
He said "I'm just here to help you son"

But I said "yeah, you've put on quite an exhibition
but I can't seem to shake this premonition
That you're gonna take the money and run"

So I said, “Boy I'm gonna count to ten
And then you better be outta my sight
Get your butt back down to New Orleans
And across the Louisiana state line.”

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine (x4)

When he didn't move I knew needed to prove
That I was serious about the countdown
I went into my trunk and pulled out my shotgun
To drive that sucker right out of town
When he saw me coming with the gun in my hands
He realized that he a made a mistake
Because you should never underestimate the power of persuasion
Of a 12-guage stuck in your face


Oh and chunk-chunk went the shotgun
Chunk-chunk went the gun
Chunk-chunk went the shotgun
Chunk-chunk went the gun

“So for the last time boy I'm gonna count to ten
And then you better be outta my sight
Cause my stars and bars say I'm the law
So it's time for you to say good-bye"

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

The Gas Is On

Written By: Mark Croft

Well somebody left the light on
Somebody lit the stove
Now the burner's red and the canary's dead
And the house is just about to explode

Somebody turned the pump on
Somebody let it run
But now they're miles ahead and they left us for dead
And they said "we don't have to bother, we're the chosen ones"

The gas is on in the kitchen
The gas is on on the drill
Throw some gas on the fire
because we're gonna heat it up we gotta fight the chill
The gas is on and it itches
The gas is on and it spills
The gas is on in the kitchen
And we're gonna drink it up until we get our fill

Somebody tripped the trigger
Somebody jumped the gun
They crossed the sea because the wanted to believe
That it was to time to make the final end run

Somebody read the writing
Somebody said it right
When somebody said the war was coming to an end
But you know we can always find another war to fight

The gas is on in the kitchen
The gas is on on the drill
Throw some gas on the fire
Because we're gonna heat it up we gotta fight the chill
The gas is on and it itches
The gas is on and it spills
The gas is on in the kitchen
And we're gonna drink it up until we get our fill

The drip-drip-drop that won't stop the big top
Spinning like it’s out of control
the shell is cracking and the big money's backing
The lien and the lease on us all
The hammer that's nailing is paling in comparison
to what you can find underneath
The surface of the ocean is boiling with commotion
And the smell of the blood on the reef
Now the bedrock's getting thicker
And the slick is getting slicker
And it's threatening to double in size
Oh so don't look now,’ cause that big black cloud
Is pouring from the earth and raining the sky

The gas is on in the kitchen
The gas is on on the drill
Throw some gas on the fire
And we're gonna heat it up we gotta fight the chill
The gas is on and it itches
The gas is on and it spills
The gas is on in the kitchen
And we're gonna drink it up until we get our fill

The gas is on in the kitchen
The gas is on on the drill
Throw some gas on the fire
because we're gonna heat it up, heat it up, baby heat it up
The gas is on in the Lincoln
The Cadillac and Coup De Ville
The gas is on in the kitchen
And we're gonna drink it up until we get our fill

In My Defense

Written By: Mark Croft

I know I've been a selfish old fool
Wallowing around in the darkness and gloom
But I've taken hits that I cannot sustain
And I’m plagued by these tired old rules

You know I'd be as rich as the day is long
If I had a dollar for everything that went wrong
But I couldn't find my own steps to retrace
To figure out how the hell I ended up in this place

But in my defense
Nothing makes sense
In my defense
It won't make a difference
If I am saved, or if I am through
If I can walk on the water of my own pity pool
Where else could I be?
Where else can I go?
And is there is anyplace left for a man who's a stranger at home?

When living makes dying something worth living for
And hope is a feeling that I can't restore
Frustration is my mortar and anger as my clay
I've built up a prison that I'll never escape

But in my defense
Nothing makes sense
In my defense
It won't make a difference
If I am saved, or if I am through
If I can walk on the water of my own pity pool
Where else could I be?
Where else can I go?
And is there is anyplace left for a man who's a stranger at home?

But oh Lord can you tell that I'm, I'm out here on my own
Oh Lord, can you listen while, I'm screaming from my soul

But in my defense
Nothing makes sense
In my defense
It won't make a difference
I am saved or if I am through
Or if I can find something I've lost to give me something to lose
What's left for me here?
When there's nowhere to go.
Is there anyplace left for a man who's a stranger at home

Cripple Me

Written By: Mark Croft

I got some color back
After six months underwater
And the bluest face I’ve ever seen
And I blew my stash
Courting the preacher’s youngest daughter
And she finally made a man out of me

That quarter slice of moon has been hanging there for days
And I know you're waiting patiently to strip me of my faith
I traded in my high hopes to kiss the enemy
And now I'm standing here and waiting but you ain't gonna cripple me

So throw another back
and drink that dirty water
because I know you love that bitter taste
it’s a simple f act
that that drink will make you smaller
so you can wipe that smug look off your face

Well one drink is too many and a hundred ain’t enough
To take these stones and break these bones because I’ve made them out of love
Traded in my high hopes to kiss the enemy
No w I’m standing here and waiting but you ain't gonna cripple me

There's a pounding in my chest and I know you can hear it drumming
And I can lie, lie, lie to myself and say that you ain’t coming
take my arms and take my legs and take my final breath
You can have anything you want
But you'll never get…
that quarter slice of moon has been hanging there for days
And I know you're waiting patiently to strip me of my faith
I'm trading all my failures for one small victory
Now I’m standing here tall but you ain't gonna cripple me

Good Enough

Written By: Mark Croft, Michael Brandmeier

This is how I want to remember you
When after all that we've been through together you and I
Still see the sunlight in your eyes

All the terms are settled and agreed upon
And we both realize it's time we're finally moving on
Yeah and we knew it all along

And this long slow day is coming to an end
And this long broken heart is finally on the mend
You know that good enough is good enough for some
But good enough ain't good enough for us

There've been no broken promises or jealousy
But we both know complacency is ravaging my head
And it’s ravaging your heart

And this long slow day is coming to an end
And this long broken heart is on the mend
Well you know good enough is good enough for some
But good enough ain't good enough for us

And so we walk away
Because the lines in the truth can so hard to separate

This is how I want to remember you
When after all that we've been through together you and I
Still see the sunlight in your eyes


And this long slow day is coming to an end
And this long broken heart is on the mend

Well you know good enough is good enough for some
But good enough ain't good enough, ain’t good enough
And good enough is good enough for some
but good enough ain’t good enough for love

If She's Gonna Shake It

Written By: Mark Croft

People start to worry when the band starts to play
Because my girl picks a rhythm and gets carried away
They call themselves my friends and they call me to complain
That "It's your good reputation that she's gonna betray
She don't leave much to the imagination dancing that way”
But I'm not worried, no

They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
I said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
I'm gonna shake it like this and we're gonna be fine (break)

Superstitious women start to spit on the street
And the looks they're shooting at her would make most women retreat
But she can't, and she won't, once she start moving her feet
Cause she's a sucker for a rhythm with a zydeco beat
Most times I feel like jumping in and getting indiscreet
Right by her side

They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
I said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
I'm gonna shake it like this and we're gonna be fine

The preacher gets to thinking that the devil's at play
Because she can shake her hips in supernatural ways
That you've never seen but you gotta know she puts on quite a display
And that low cut Sunday dress gives all her secrets away
But I said, "Trying to stop her is like you're trying to stop a hurricane
It’s not gonna happen…

They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
I said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
I'm gonna shake it like this and we're gonna be fine

They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
They said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
Tell me boy are you gonna be alright?
I said "if she's gonna shake it like that,
I'm gonna shake it like this and we're gonna be fine

One Mississippi

Written By: Mark Croft

He rolled into Jackson
selling dreams out the trunk of his car
Made the drive up from New Orleans
Where he was hoping to align the stars
He said, "Please accept my humble invitation
To become the richest city in the nation
And all I need is a little down payment"

People came a-running with their arms outstretched
And a desperate look in their eyes
Because he's been selling ice to Eskimos for years and he knows
What it takes to keep 'em mesmerized
But I said "coming from a man in my position"
You seem to be the very definition
Of a lying 'n' cheating snake oil salesman"

So I said "boy I'm gonna count to ten
And then you better be outta my sight
Start heading south on fifty-five
Until you cross that county line"

And I said...
One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine
One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

Well he stood up to try to talk me down
And he said I had it all wrong
Well his gold teeth shining and a twinkle in his eyes
He said "I'm just here to help you, son"

But I said "yeah, you've put on quite an exhibition
but I can't seem to shake this premonition
That you're gonna take the money and run"

So I said, "Boy I'm gonna count to ten
And then you better be outta my sight
Get your butt back down to New Orleans
And across the Louisiana state line."

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

When he didn't move I knew needed to prove
That I was serious about the countdown
I went into my trunk and pulled out my shotgun
To drive that sucker right out of town
When he saw me coming with the gun in my hands
He realized that he a made a mistake
Because you should never underestimate the power of persuasion
Of a 12-gauge stuck in your face


Oh and chunk-chunk went the shotgun
Chunk-chunk went the gun
Chunk-chunk went the shotgun
Chunk-chunk went the gun

"So for the last time boy I'm gonna count to ten
And then you better be outta my sight.
These stars and bars say I'm the law
So it's time for you to say good-bye"

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine

One- Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-four
Five-Mississippi, six-seven-eight-nine


Discography

Evening Flood - Released Oct. 16th, 2010 on Mere Poet Records

The Possibility Of Disaster EP - Released April 11th, 2009 on Slothtrop Records

Madison for World Health - Dec. 6th 2008 featuring "Break My Heart"

Permanent Ink EP - Released June 1st, 2007 on Slothtrop Records

Sympathetic Groove - Released May 24, 2005 on Abacus Music

Made at Home - Madison Songwriters Group Compilation CD featuring Mark's recording of "She's a Landslide" on Slothtrop Records

Made at Home 2 - Featuring Mark's Demo Recording of "Juliet" on Slothtrop Records

More Barn - Neil Young Tribute Album featuring Mark's version of "Heart of Gold" 10/07

Live From Studio M; Volume 6 - Featuring Mark's in Studio Perfromance of "She's A Landslide" - 3/07

Madison Made Music Project Porchlight CD - Featuring "Is It Gonna Be Funky?" 9/07

My Music; The Best of the Urban Theater - Featuring The Mark Croft Band's in-studio performance of "Don't Speak".

Set List

Originals:
Evening Flood
Good Enough
One Mississippi
Amen & Hallelujah
Cripple Me
The Gas Is On
The Crow and the Raven
If She's Gonna Shake It
In My Defense
The Edge of the City
Superheroes
Never Going Back
Momma Don't Come Around
Angela
Forgive Me
Coming Home
Salvation Train
Don't Speak
She's A Landslide
Spinning Rhymes
Permanent Ink
Strangely Enough
Just the Same
America
The Highway
Momma Don't Come Around
The Edge of the City
Molly Brown
My Little Crime
Is It Gonna Be Funky?
Drink It Dry
Crooked Line

Covers:
Washing of the Water - Peter Gabriel
Shattered - O.A.R.
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Whithers
In a Daydream - Freddy Jones Band
Into the Mystic - Van Morrison
Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson
Jimi Thing - Dave Matthews
What I Got - Sublime
Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen

Typically 1 to 3 sets at 45-90 min. each
Shorter sets consist primarily of originals with a cover as a closer or encore