Mark Ransom
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Mark Ransom

Bend, OR | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF | AFM

Bend, OR | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2006
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"The Mostest will ‘Teleport People’ in Bend"

Published Feb. 28, 2019 at 12:02AM
The Mostest will ‘Teleport People’ in Bend
Long-running band plays album-release show at J DUB

The Mostest -- from left, bassist/producer Patrick Pearsall and guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Mark Ransom -- releases its fourth studio album, "Teleport People."

BRIAN MCELHINEY
THE BULLETIN

Mark Ransom experienced his first UFO dream while attending college in Colorado in the late ’80s.

That same dream, or variations on it, haunted the singer-songwriter and music educator for nearly three decades, and for most of that time, Ransom didn’t understand why. But in the last few years, he received insight into the dream from one of his professors, psychologist Jonathan Young of the History Channel series “Ancient Aliens,” while studying Jungian and archetypal psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California.

“I began to understand that image as a call to what I’m supposed to do with my life: Here I am, this is what I’ve been doing; if I keep following it, where does this take me?” Ransom said.

After completing the two-year program at Pacifica, Ransom may just have a better understanding of what that dream is all about. Ransom, who has worked in music education in area schools for many years through Rise Up International, wanted to study the connections among arts, music and psychological well-being.

At the same time he was going back to school, Ransom recorded his fourth studio album with bassist and producer Patrick Pearsall and longtime band The Mostest. His first studio set in five years, “Teleport People” ties together many of these threads in a sprawling album that he hopes will lead to more interconnectivity between his performing and educating work. The Mostest — Ransom, Pearsall, drummer Jeff Ingraham and keyboardist Patrick Ondrozeck, plus guests Aaron-Andre Miller, Gabe Johnson and more — will perform a CD release show at J-DUB Restaurant & Bar on Friday.

The album’s cover, featuring a flying saucer suspending an electric guitar in the air via tractor beam, reflects Ransom’s reoccurring UFO dream, as does the title track, written by Ransom’s college friend Brian Deckebach. The space theme also features in some of the ethereal synthesizer sounds Pearsall and Ondrozeck featured between (and often within) songs.

“We looked at the theme and where I was at in my life, and we thought, well, it kind of tells a story that goes beyond my own personal thing,” Ransom said. “It’s kind of a midlife crisis story in a way; there’s some elements of that.”

For example, the song “Rewind” features the lyric, “I traded in my minivan for a new Maserati; left my true love for a new, young hottie.”

“People will hear a song like ‘Rewind’ and they’re like, ‘Dude, did you really leave your wife and go after some young girl?’” Ransom said. “… Being able to write that and put that out there, it embodies a sentiment that we hear frequently in our culture, and it’s probably pretty accurate to say that in our lives we have those kinds of feelings. But I’m sure my wife’s happier that I made a song and an album than got a girlfriend. And there again, that’s the idea behind creative process: to process our stuff, to write it down, to get it out.”

Then there’s “Julian,” a mid-album set piece that shifts suddenly from upbeat folk-rock into an acid-jazz breakdown mid-song. The song is about a hitchhiker Ransom picked up on Red Mountain Pass in Colorado one snowy morning while driving from Durango to Telluride.

“I just thought to myself, wow, anybody that just has the balls to jump in the car with somebody else driving over this on a snowy day, I said, ‘Either they’re just desperate or they’re really, really comfortable with the whole life-death scenario,’” Ransom said. “And sure enough, I thought to myself, my wife’s not gonna like that I’m picking up a hitchhiker, but this guy obviously needs help, and I know for certain that I’m gonna get a song out of this.”

Ransom isn’t kidding about being familiar with this treacherous stretch of road: He and Pearsall have toured Colorado roughly 30 to 40 times, per Pearsall’s count, since The Mostest formed in 2006.

The band’s open-membership model — roughly 50 people have played on albums or at shows with the duo over the years, Pearsall said — continued with “Teleport People.” Ingraham — known for his work with Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and others — Ondrozeck and lead guitarist Pete Lupi formed the core band, but the album features at least 11 other musicians.

“We recorded everybody doing everything because you never know what you’re gonna get, right?” Pearsall said. “Sometimes you just get something great, and sometimes — like, Gabe Johnson’s a great guitar player. (He) came in, played four or five solos, one made it on the record. Just the way it is, and not that the stuff wasn’t good, but it’s just not fitting with all this other (stuff).”

With the album out, Ransom said he hopes to start touring with Pearsall again (the duo’s last trek out to Colorado was a couple of years ago). He wants to tie in more music education on the road, possibly teaching kids in schools at tour stops before playing an evening show.

And Ransom’s UFO dreams are different now, too. Before going back to school and making this album, Ransom said, he only saw the lights on the ship in his dream.

“As soon as I got into this work in my program and started to write songs about the stuff and did a lot of other work with it, all of a sudden the dreams shifted in character, and now the craft is structured,” he said.

GO! listen to “Teleport People,” the title song from Mark Ransom & The Mostest’s latest album: https://soundcloud.com/markransom/teleport-people - Bend Bulletin


Discography

1998 Mark Ransom   Man of My Word
1999 Rhythm Beans  Ocean in the Air
2002 Mark Ransom   Stride
2006 Mark Ransom  Champion of Mystery
2007 The Mostest  The MOSTEST
2009 The Mostest   Masala Mostest
2013 The Mostest  Zara Dreams

2019 The Mostest  TELEPORT PEOPLE

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Bio

This page is home to Mark's newsletter, "Ransom Notes," and a way to keep fans, friends and media current on musical activity, tour info and side projects. For a more elaborate history, discography and biography of Mark Ransom please visit http://www.markransom.com. For info about the Bend Roots Revival and Rise Up Presents' arts education outreach projects in Central Oregon click here: http://www.bendroots.net.

Hello Friends,

I welcome your communications. Feel free to email me at mark@markransom.com. And be sure to check out this month’s song, “Look Out!” (https://vimeo.com/4110131280). Like my new website, it is a work-in-progress, a co-write with lyricist Mark Fesche (the guy who wrote the lyrics for “God Bless the Taco Stand”). 

There is one line we are still working into the piece—Mark Fesche wants it to be like Eminem’s hip hop girls singing sweetly in the background. Fesche wrote, “trying to reduce my carbon, working in the garden.” I like: “Workin’ in the garden, reducin’ my carbon.” Anyway, it’s still coming together and the finished product is likely to always be a bit unresolved—depending also upon availability of “hip-hop girls.” I think that’s why I like jam bands: fresh interest and insights with each new interpretation.

 Ambiguous is the new decisiveI say! We are always presenting an evolution or something like that. For “Look Out!” I made a quarantine music video which shows-off a few of my multiple personalities. And I plan to post a novel song recording with each new entry. 

Fesche and I have another coming soon, and I have begun some remote projects with (my partner in The Mostest) Pat Pearsall, members of Toast, cousin Eric, and hit-maker Andy Armer. I am also looking forward to a virtual jam with friends from Sickbird—a new project which features Andy Armer on keys, Jeshua Marshall on bass, Lindsey Elias on drums, and me on guitar. Who knows, there might even be a quarantine album when we get done, maybe a double-album if this keeps up... Deep Quarantine Grooves & Ambiguous Outtakes.

Learning the world of work-from-home, or in my case, work-from-barn, I’ve found Zoom works well for music lessons, meetings, and happy hour too. To my surprise, this forced tech move, which I have been slow to embrace, has created some new opportunities already, and re-upped my imagination. 

As I continue my education and research, the goal is to blend psychological perspectives into arts education, while bringing the tools of the artist-musician to psychotherapy. With human connection at the root of our relatedness, I am encouraged to see technology supporting this in many cases, and to see it opening doors, as we move into a realm of necessary non-locality.          

Fesche is in North Carolina and I am in Oregon, and lately we’ve been communicating more than ever. Though segments of our new song, “Look Out!” have been around for some time, the music and arrangement are fresh. The song came together as the world went into lock-down. Kind of a weird time to write a song, but a fun collaboration nonetheless. Thanks Mark Fesche for your poetic ear and masterful wordsmithing! 

The creative process of polishing the song and then recording it for the video gave me a place to put uncertainties, anxieties and run-away thoughts. In Jungian terms, creative engagement became a place where I was able to hold a “tension of opposites.” A way to get comfortable with the ambiguity and face some demons imaginatively. This process, not so incidentally, sits at the center of my psychological studies. 

This installment of Ransom Notes celebrates the launch of the new website (http://www.markransom.com), which is a synthesis of my work as a musician, songwriter, arts-educator, and depth-psychologist. Many thanks to Anne Pick for her work on the site, and for her patience with me as my ambiguity has lead us on and off-task for quite a while now!  

Best to all in these stressful times. May we have the patience and flexibility to reflect, embrace and endure the situation at hand. And may Rock N Roll live-on in a multifaceted array of digital forms and delivery systems! 

Wishing you well,

Mark


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