Mark Simos

Mark Simos

BandAmericanaFolk

Mark Simos is an acclaimed neo-traditionalist songwriter (songs recorded by Alison Krauss, Del McCoury and others), as well as a champion old-time fiddler, "tunesmith" / composer, and respected accompanist for traditional Irish music. He currently teaches songwriting at Berklee College of Music.

Biography

Pioneer “neo-traditionalist” Mark Simos—songwriter, “tunesmith” and composer, fiddler, accompanist, and educator—combines long apprenticeship in varied roots music traditions with continuing willingness to stretch forms and take musical risks. Widely known as a songwriter, he’s had more than 50 songs recorded by prominent Americana, bluegrass and folk artists including Alison Krauss and Union Station, the Del McCoury Band, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum among others. Alison Krauss says: “Mark Simos is a remarkable songwriter. He's one of those rare people who knows what words sound good together, and his lyrics are just as unique as his melodies. I never stop being amazed at his songs, and I'm never surprised that I love another one.”

As a tunesmith, Mark’s self-styled “traditional tunes from imaginary countries” have entered the repertoire of many players in the Celtic, old-time, and contra-dance scenes. Mark’s larger-scale works, such as the cello piece “Rakish Paddy’s Departure” composed for the 2006 Irish Cultural Centre Commission, build on and extend traditional forms and materials. Dr. Mick Moloney calls Mark “a musician’s musician… one of the few musicians I know equally at home in the often incompatible roles of traditionalist and innovator.” Mark is currently Asst. Professor in Songwriting at Berklee College of Music.

Mark has recently been collaborating with choreographers, including the innovative ensemble UnBeaten Path, NY dancer/choreographer Darrah Carr, Daniel McCusker and Molly Gawler.

Lyrics

Love and Let Love

Written By: Mark Simos / Jon Weisberger

Love and Let Love
(©2006 Mark Simos—Jon Weisberger
Devachan Music/BMI—Use Your Words Music/BMI)

Alice was a waitress, widowed at 35, pretty but shy as could be
Mike had a job at his father’s garage, he was quiet for twenty-three
When they got together, it was May and September
Or that’s what people called the affair
But I watched the way they looked at each other
And saw the love that was there

Darryl came back after three years in the service, we heard that he had a new wife
Brought her to his folks’ home for Sunday dinner, saying: “Sandra’s the love of my life”
They took him to the kitchen, “Son what were you thinkin’,
Can’t you see this just isn’t right?”
Darryl said, “My world is a rainbow now
You’re still living in—black and white”

Chorus: Tell me why can’t we just love and let love
When there ain’t enough love to go ‘round
When two hearts catch fire in this cold world
Why second-guess the happiness they’ve found?
It’s a blessing from above
So love and let love

Sharon and Suzanne used to sit out at the playground, watching their kids playing ball
Talked about divorce court, paychecks and child support, tryin’ to make sense of it all
Soon they were roommates, if one had to work late,
The other put the children to bed
And when they told me they’d become more than friends
I just smiled at them and said

Chorus: Tell me why can’t we just love and let love
When there ain’t enough love to go ‘round
When two hearts catch fire in this cold world
Why second-guess the happiness they’ve found?

Tell me why can’t we just love and let love
When there ain’t enough love to go ‘round
When two hearts catch fire in this cold world
Why second-guess the happiness they’ve found
It’s a blessing from above
So love and let love
So love and let love
So love and let love

I'll Make It Up to You Somehow

Written By: Mark Simos

I'll Make it Up to You Somehow

I came home from work so tired this evening
I could barely get you washed and into bed
Till in that silent kitchen, wiping the dishes dry
I found that I was wiping tears instead

You came stumbling sleepy-eyed from the bedroom
Pajama legs dragging down across the floor
You stood there staring for awhile
Not knowing what to say
You’d never seen your mama cry before

CHORUS:
I'll make it up to you somehow
For all these sorry days
Days when my best just ain't enough
Things look tough right now
But I'll make it up to you somehow

I watched you play last Saturday at the Little League game
Sat on the bleachers with your pal Jimmy’s dad
You trotted toward the outfield
I cheered and called your name
And thought about the things you’d never had

Across the little Playmate coolers
Baseball caps and beer-can sleeves
I saw an old familiar shadow fall
High pop fly, sun in your eye
For a moment time stood still
Then it seemed like you and I both dropped that ball

CHORUS:
I'll make it up to you somehow
For all these sorry days
Days when my best just ain't enough
Things look tough right now
But I'll make it up to you somehow

Things look tough right now
But I'll make it up to you somehow

Discography

- Mark has just released (Summer '07) the final volume of a trilogy of traditional and original old-time fiddle music:
The Cliffhangers: On the Edge; (2006)
Clifftop Notes, Vol, 1; (2006)
Clifftop Notes, Vol. 2: Big Ears. (2007)

Music Supervisors please note: one-stop licensing for both compositions and master recordings are available for all Mark's instrumental recordings on Clifftop Notes Vol. 1 and 2, all original instrumental compositions in the style of traditional Appalachian old-time fiddle music (with some contemporary twists!). (Also available for Race the River Jordan, below.)

- Mark’s 1995 debut solo album, Race the River Jordan (Yodel-Ay-Hee CD017), original fiddle tunes in a Southern old-time style, garnered critical acclaim and frequent radio play on traditional music programs.

- After many other artists had recorded his songs and tunes, in 2003 Mark released an album of his own songs, Crazy Faith (Devachan CD4347), produced by Bruce Molsky, and featuring Bruce, Tom Rozum, Sally Van Meter, Ronnie Simpkins and other great players. Two songs from this album, including the title track, were recorded by Alison Krauss and Union Station. Songwriter Bob Franke says of Crazy Faith:

“Every now and then you run into an artist who has spent enough time with traditional music to learn its spiritual as well as its musical lessons, and to use that learning to forge an art that is at once timeless and utterly contemporary. Mark Simos has put together a stunning collection of songs demonstrating that art. Traditionalists who listen to this recording are going to get their hearts stretched, and somewhere out there there's a young singer-songwriter for whom it will open a door to an entire world of possibilities that were previously obscured by the flim-flam of the music industry… Mark's the real deal.”

- A member of fiddle ensemble Childsplay, Mark’s orchestral fiddle compositions have been centerpieces of each of the band’s three albums:
- 12-Gated City
- The Great Waltz
- Childsplay: Live
- Heaven and Earth

Set List

-- While not touring regularly at this time due to his teaching commitments, Mark occasionally performs solo sets of original songs. Depending on the venue and the occasion, his sets may also include traditional and original fiddle tunes, piano compositions. He also enjoys opening for, splitting bills, and accompanying fellow songwriters.

-- Mark also frequently performs as a guest fiddler for live contra and square dances, and as an accompanist for traditional Irish musicians.