Mark Tolstrup
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Mark Tolstrup

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


If you need any convincing about Mark Tolstrup’s chops, drop the needle on his cover of Love in Vain on That’s The Way I Heard It. He coaxes sweet, slick licks out of his steel guitar, seamlessly alternates slide and fingerstyle, and powers it with his sometimes wobbly but always convincing vocals. Clarinet player Peter Davis sidles along nicely. It’s a far more interesting take on Robert Johnson than you will hear on any Eric Clapton record, and the rest is just as good. - Review by Jeff Calvin


Review by THOMAS DIMOPOULOS
From the opening sounds of Mark Tolstrup's fingers sliding across the fret board of his National Steel guitar, Delta-style blues hounds are in for a feast of the form born in early 20th century Americana.

Tolstrup revisits Blind Boy Fuller's 'Walking My Trouble Away,' covers a trio of Robert Johnson tunes and adds a pair of self-penned originals that fit right in with the bluesy ragtime experience.

Even Tolstrup's cover of Dylan's 'Meet Me in the Morning' is south of the folkie-protester's normal form -- this is a heavy brooding Zimmerman, in all its depth, churned through the metallic resonator of Tolstrup's guitar.

The 10-song CD was recorded live at CaffP Lena and at the band's Levon Helm's Woodstock studio. Accompanists Dave Sokol paints a neat bass bottom with his tuba and Peter Davis riffs along on the high end of his clarinet.
- The Saratogian


"When a guy makes a album with only his guitar, he`ll have to be good, because you can hear every mistakes, Mark does not have to think about that, he is not good, he is great, and with a Danish name, and since I`m from Denmark, he can change passport anytime, we would love to such a great musician in Denmark." - Radio Holstebro, Denmark


"Thanks again for sending me your great album "Root Magic" Your mix of covers, traditionals and own songs makes it one of the best rootsblues releases I've heard this year." - Radio show "Blueprint" Holland.


Mark Tolstrup's follow up to the fine 'That's The Way I Heard It' is another
slab of roots blues music guaranteed to delight aficionados of the genre.

On this set Tolstrup is joined by Tony Markellis (bass), Dale Haskell
(drums) and Richard Bell (piano) on a mixture of original blues and
well-chosen covers ranging from Leadbelly to Bob Dylan and Ivory Joe Hunter.

The set opens with Robert Johnson's 'When You've Got A Good Friend',
Tolstrup capturing the plaintiveness of the original as he starts in
conventional Johnson mould before adding a distinctive Leroy Carr feel that
is enhanced by Bell's lonesome piano and Tolstrup's Scrapper Blackwell
influenced guitar. 'Careless Love' demonstrates the blues depth of Tolstrup'
s vocals, his voice infused with a pathos that is echoed by his mandolin,
the mood enhanced by the New Orleans' funereal feel imparted by drummer Dale
Haskell.

Jesse Mae Hemphill's 'Lord Help The Poor & Needy' is an aching spiritual
infused with deep pulsing slide and tambourine; Dylan's 'Crash On The Levee'
is a compelling slide driven blues infused with a brooding intensity; Roy
Brown's 'Good Rockin' Tonight' is stomping retro real rock'n'roll at it's
finest; whilst Hank Williams' 'Your Cheatin' Heart' is a pure delight
replete with declamatory vocals, stomping rhythms and wailing slide. An
Elmore styled rendition of Leadbelly's 'Good Morning Blues', and a poignant
reading of Ivory Joe Hunter's 'Since I Met You Baby' are further fine
examples of Tolstrup's ability to add new dimensions to other's songs
without losing the deep blues consciousness inherent in them.

Tolstrup's original blues mesh seamlessly with the covers; 'Root Magic' is a
percussive downhome stomper that rides an hypnotic slide riff; 'The Monkey
Dance / Shake Baby Shake' is a wildly exhuberant blues in the Jesse Fuller
style, replete with spoken asides; 'I'll Be Your Man' has a tough Broonzy
feel enhanced by sparse drums and deep rolling Black Bob styled piano;
whilst 'The Second Day Of November' is imbued with a haunting Crescent City
feel.

Listening to Mark Tolstrup, I am often reminded of Terry Garland, which is
as fine a compliment I can give to a talented artist deserving of greater
recognition.

- Blues In Britain


"Mark Tolstrup melds rock, blues, ragtime and jazz on Root Magic but sticks closest (and most authentically) to the sounds of the Mississippi Delta: Robert Johnson, Son House and even Muddy Waters. Tolstrup’s aggressive fingerstyle guitar and slide National Steel make this album worth hearing." - Blues Revue Magazine


"It's a gem of an album with the guitarist-vocalist balancing a strong selection of rippling, slashing original tunes with nuggets from the song bag of such greats as Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and Leadbelly." - Albany Times Union


Discography

That's Thge Way I Heard It - 2004
Root Magic - 2005

Photos

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Bio

With a real passion for roots music and especially the blues Tolstrup blends blues and ragtime influences with folk, jazz and rock , sending you on a journey to the back roads of America.. With his rhythmic finger-picking and slide-guitar playing and his soulful, unaffected vocals, Tolstrup attacks every song (traditional as well as originals) with deep feeling and energy. Tolstrup's heartfelt singing and merciless slide guitar will carry you to the distant sounds of the American roots musical landscape from New Orleans to Tin Pan Alley.
Born in Massachusetts in 1957, Mark first got hooked on the blues listening to the classic bluesmen of the 1930's - Son House, Robert Johnson and Blind Blake as well modern players such as Dave Van Ronk, Rory Block, John Hammond and Ry Cooder.. While many of his peers were listen to the rock and pop music that was derived from the blues. Mark sought out the sources and the roots of the music.