Mark Paffrath
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Mark Paffrath

Racine, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Racine, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Pop


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• "In The Doorway" with Edward R. Morgan, EP 1974.
• "The Minstrelsinger" with Edward R. Morgan, LP
• "Everybody Knows" with Paffrath & Dykhuis, LP
•"Business Woman Blues" with Marvin & The Dogs,
Single, 1981
• "Listen" with Paffrath & Dykhuis, Cassette 1984.
• "Moulin Rouge" with Moulin Rouge, Cassette 1987.
• "Honey Bee"with Big Nick & The Cydecos, CD 1998.
• "Rainbeat" with Paffrath & Holly, CD 1999.
• "Born Half Wild" with Big Nick & The Cydecos CD
• "Retrofix" Mark Paffrath CD 2001.
• "Soothe" Mark Paffrath CD 2004.
• "Live at George's" with Marvin & The Dogs CD



Pop/folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Paffrath has been charming audiences for over 25 years. From the concert and festival stage to your local bar and grill or coffeehouse, his thoughtfully chosen interpretations and well crafted original music are as much about his history as where he would like to be; as much about how the world is, as the way he’d like to see it. His observations, repartee and humor are self-deprecating but keen, quirky and refreshing. His command of vocal and instrumental skills is well honed from years of performing. Artists of his genuine sensitivity and caring are rare and often alienated or discouraged by the music business - but this is all he’s ever wanted to do - and he’s doing it!

While he’s not fond of comparisons, his vocals have been called reminiscent of Kenny Loggins, Dwight Yoakam, John Denver and Lyle Lovett. (That’s some kind of hybrid!) And whether he’s flat-picking, finger-picking, or soloing, his rolling and percussive “big” guitar sound is not only due to the vintage Gibson he is so attached to but also to his many years as a drummer and mandolin player.

A performance by Mark Paffrath may leave listeners a little more aware of the foibles of the human condition, the ironies that life is made of, the difficulties and joys of living in this world, but may also leave them feeling just a little bit better about their part in all of it - and this alone is well worth the price of admission.

Not too long out of high school and still performing with a band formed during that period, Mark got an offer he couldn’t refuse - to be part of a tour (of undetermined length) of folk clubs and festivals in Germany with friend and Racine, WI native Don Owens. That was 1976, and he has been has been a full or part-time performer/musician ever since. After coincidently spending the 4th of July in a still “cold war” East Germany, and most of the U.S.A.’s bicentennial out of the country, he was beginning to long for all things American. So, somewhat reluctantly, he left the castles, autobahns, and the land of his forbearers behind to return stateside. Mark and Don released two recordings together (“In The Doorway” and “The Minstrelsinger”).

Over the next eight years, through the mid-1980s, Mark performed full time with Marvin Dykhuis in the duo Paffrath & Dykhuis, releasing two recordings (“Everybody Knows” and “Listen”) and garnering a WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) award for “Best Folk Artists.” During this time he was also the drummer for the regionally popular R & B band Marvin & The Dogs, releasing one recording. During the end of the 1980s he performed with Julie Schroeder in the duo Moulin Rouge and released one recording (“Moulin Rouge”). For a short stint, in the early 1990s, he performed as a duo with Milwaukee's Willy Porter and occasionally with Willy’s band. Mark and longtime friend and music collaborator Richard Holly performed on and off as a duo beginning in the early 1990s. In 1999 they released the CD "Rainbeat" which won the award for “Best CD” in a (Racine) Journal Times readers poll. They were also nominated for a WAMI in 2000 as “Best Folk Artists”. Mark has also been picked “Best String Player” for several years running in the (Racine) Journal Times poll. From 1997 until 2000 Mark performed as mandolin, fiddle, acoustic and electric guitar player, as well as percussionist and vocalist in the Milwaukee based Zydeco band, Big Nick and the Cydecos. The band released two recordings during his tenure with them (“Honey Bee” and “Born Half Wild”).

Currently Mark is performing as a solo act, singing and playing guitar and mandolin. In the fall of 2001 he released an award winning CD called "Retrofix - Life's Journey With Musical Friends". It features music, original and borrowed,from many of the different groups he has performed with, plus one new original song produced by Joe Puerta of the group Ambrosia and Bruce Hornsby and the Range. In 2002 Mark "swept" his hometown music awards, winning the categories for “Best CD” ("Retrofix"), “Best Song” ("Forest Green Beret"), “Best Songwriter”, “Best Male Vocalist”, and “Best String Player”. Mark got another nice surprise in 2003 when he received the honor of being voted “Best Musician” in the “Best of Racine County” poll. In early 2004 Mark completed his first solo release of all new material called “Soothe”. The CD (which received glowing reviews) features original material as well as thoughtfully chosen, time tested material from his live shows including songs by other songwriting friends and several favorite standards. When not making music, Mark was the former coordinator and director of Racine County Project Emergency (now the Racine County Food Bank) for over 10 years (1986 - 1996). This organization is a United Way agency that provides emergency food to Racine area food pantries. He was also the past managing director of the Prairie Performing Arts Center Entertain