Mark Smilor
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Mark Smilor


Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rural Suburbia 7.5/ 10"

There are roads that meet their eyes at a crossroads or in the suburbs, where the signals flow in various directions as carriers of the tradition, one that remains hanging in advance of the time. Mark Smilor seems to have stopped there and has decided to freeze the lesson of the masters, who are at the doors of your home or light years away it does not matter, what counts is given a guitar on its frequency and spread the excitement, that we often forget to listen in a hurry to vacate the roadway of the senses. Born in Chicago but for years a permanent resident on the shores of Virginia, Smilor is not a novice and has done a lot, but the fun has never dismissed him the desire to turn the amplifier of attention, which certainly another as he deserves.

The new album follows the debut acoustic The Ugly Naked Truth (good title) and the already excellent Wanderlust, released two years ago. His music is a cocktail of alternative country and heartland rock, with Ryan Adams, Whiskeytown and Steve Earle in the veins, even if the heart is of Springsteen in its various forms. His songs are aware of grease stains on the blue-collar powder that is mixed with sweat, the muscles that load on his shoulders the burden of life, the sound is electric and draws often, if you like, especially Chris Knight's first disc in a blend of considerable charm to taste until the last drop, with touches of piano, steel body and clean the glass. The quality of the songs are above average and does not dissolve in the first hearing. A pleasant aftertaste imbued with energy and vigor, just listen to the original "Enemy Line" and get wrapped in a melodic structure that makes superb detail to attention and the cadences of his known, but several steps are worthy of mention. From "If I Wanted To" with the harmonica to rattle or "Some Of Us" who beats his feet and invites us to go back and start afresh to infinity, to turn the corner with "This Is Going To Hurt" good game, great guitar, grit to sell.

The debt to the boss is welded in the beautiful and strong "What I Came Here For" while the ballads reveal an excellent lyrical vein perfectly capable of marking the passage of the everyday life of the province, is listen to the beautiful "Rural Suburbia" With the pedal steel to embroider distant echoes, "Eisenhower's Got Me", "Long Way Down", "Rosewood", "Pocket Full Of Gold" and conclusive "Pictures Of My Life". Knoxville Girl is the only traditional readjusted for the occasion insaporisce folk that a sequence of almost complete, a perfect summary of tradition.
(David Nieri)Rootshighway.IT - David Nieri,

"Wanderlust Quote"

Tough-minded, well-worn alt-country from this Chicago-born, Virginia-based singer and musician. The songs roll out like miles of lonesome highway. (KCBS 91.3 FM, Seattle, WA) - KCBS 91.3 FM, Seattle, WA

"Rural Suburbia Review"

Third solo disc from this musician of Virginia. His music, including rock and roots, Alternative Country and urban rock, is influenced by Son Volt, Ryan Adams and in part Springsteen. Beautiful songs, exhibitions and eclectrical, a roots rock solid sound, text and a good strong voice. -

"Rural Suburbia 8/ 10" 8 out of 10 - Soundshighway

"Americana UK review of Rural Suburbia"

Mark Smilor seeks to "blend rural alt-country with the suburban rock genre," then he has certainly succeeded. This is liminal territory, both narratively and musically, but it has still been extensively explored by artists such as the Drive By Truckers in recent years and Smilor certainly has much in common with that band. Songs such as Eisenhower's Got Me are pure Patterson Hood. Fortunately, he has a comparable lyrical talent and whilst his stories of small town lives are undoubtedly similar, they are not necessarily inferior in themselves."

"This is far from a bad collection and nearly all of the songs are solid."

"The album also sounds very good, which is an impressive achievement considering that the sleeve notes suggest the whole thing was put together by a mere three people in their spare time. The rockers are appropriately propulsive and there is sonic depth throughout." - Kai Roberts

"Taproot Radio"

On his latest release, Wanderlust, Mark Smilor moseys through the landscape stopping by to visit with Uncle Tupelo, the Drive-by Truckers, and Neil Young but mostly he's following his own path. The opening track “Alright” has just the right amount of twang in the vocals and the perfect balance between the acoustic and electric instruments. It feels like a traveling song but it seems to be more about holding on to a relationship. “Write It Down” has a great vocal style which pushes back against the rhythm established by the guitar to create a tension that sets up the angst of the lyrics. “Emotions” is an acoustic singer/songwriter kind of track with a very cool bass line from the guitar and beautiful harmonies that add to the lead singer rather than competing with him. “Everything Is Catching Up With Me” has a gothic feel reminiscent of Drive-by Truckers. His music is available at - Calvin Powers


(Albums) The Ugly Naked Truth, Wanderlust, and Rural Suburbia. Visit for a list of radio airplay



Mark Smilor is an independent singer/songwriter based in Virginia Beach. As a writer and musician his songs have been compared to Springsteen (a little more than he prefers) with lyrics that sometimes can be described a very honest and personal. Songs about coming of age, growing up and making mistakes, sour relationships, and leaving home and never going back that are lyrically crafted so well you would swear they were about you. Coupled with the music that is influenced by the like of Son Volt, Ryan Adams, and of course Bruce Springsteen you get a lyrically driven alt-country sound from dustbowl America meeting at the crossroads of suburban rock. As a multi-instrumentalist he will play different instruments live from the guitar and mandolin to the pedal steel.

After playing and writing music for over 20 years he recorded his first record, the all acoustic “The Ugly Naked Truth”. It was a collection of personal songs never meant for commercial release but ended up that way somehow. With proper management and promotions it afforded him the opportunity to play small to modest venues as an opener and some instances a headliner and he was also able to open for some national acts. “The Ugly Naked Truth” had some local radio airplay and got him off to a good start.

In 2006 he went into the studio to record the follow up to “The Ugly Naked Truth” and on December 4th 2006 “Wanderlust” was released on Twarkey Records. Setting out through most of 2007 to support the album the venues got bigger, more people came out and record sales increased. He went from small venues to filling bigger ones and even a couple sellouts. “Wanderlust” received national airplay across America and in Europe where records sold overseas also. Solid reviews of the album from the press and studio radio interviews helped fuel the success of “Wanderlust”.

In November of 2007 he was ready to start writing and recording the follow up to “Wanderlust”. On December 2, 2008 “Rural Suburbia” will be released on Twarkey Records. It is a collection of more rock oriented songs with louder guitars all while still having mellow acoustic based songs all while keeping with the integrity of the music. Keeping with tradition the lyrics stay solid and still paint the vague picture of life, love, and growing older. The music goes from driving rhythms in “Enemy Line” and “If I Wanted To (I Can)” to the softer acoustic “Rosewood” and “Pictures Of My Life” and the Buffalo Tom-esque “This Is Going To Hurt” hence the title “Rural Suburbia” which is a combination of the rural alt-country blended with the suburban rock genre. Support of this release will follow with a late spring and summer tour for 2009