Nathan Bell / Mark Stuart – November 2, 2016
Mark Stuart will spend 2016 doing what he has always done. He will tour full-time as a musical artist, bringing his years of experience to the stage. Onstage, his focus is on the songs he has penned and recorded, delivered with a soulful singing voice and highly memorable guitar playing.
After many years on the Americana/Folk circuit, Stuart has cultivated a very rounded performance. His show consists of storytelling, flashy guitar “chops”, and songs that seem to draw from his rock, blues, country, and folk music roots. Mostly, this artist from Tennessee has toured solo or in a notable duo with his wife (“Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart”). There were stints along the way as a sideman, though (Steve Forbert, Freddy Fender, Steve Earle, Joan Baez). If placed on the bill with a contemporary artist he is usually asked to play guitar on their portion of the show. Just ask Jason Ringenberg, Ray Wylie Hubbard, or Jimmy LaFave.
One can find Mark Stuart on any given night in a small theater, coffeehouse, house concert, festival stage, club, church auditorium, etc. giving it his all. Aside from that, he could be instructing at a guitar clinic, songwriting workshop, or playing on someone’s recording session. As co-owner of Gearle Records he has produced or co-produced many albums. Stuart’s career has repeatedly taken him to all of the USA, Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom, and, has spanned several decades.
Tennessee singer-songwriter Nathan Bell is known for his straight forward yet poetic lyrics, and expert musicianship. His stories are of everyman, sung with honesty and empathy. Though his subjects are often dark and troubled, Bell never leaves the listener without, as Cohen wrote, ‘the crack, where the light comes through.’
A master guitarist, Bell often performs solo, allowing his instrument to turn his poetry to song, his metaphors to melody. Acoustic Guitar Magazine described his music as “rock-tinged country-folk,” his voice as “rustic, coupling the grain of Levon Helm with the gruff troubadour lilt of Kris Kristofferson.” And his playing, “encompassing delicate rhythms, mountain drones, and surging melodic fills. His fingerpicking marries thumb blues to his guitar’s mimicry of frailing banjo…”
Son of famed poet-laureate of Iowa, Marvin Bell, his early years were filled with the comings and goings of literary giants such as Kurt Vonnegut and Studs Terkel. But Instead of picking up a pen, he picked up a guitar. “I learned to play by listening to blues greats Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee. I learned to write lyrics by reading Jack London, William Carlos Williams, and Frank Herbert.”
Bell has shared the stage with Emmy Lou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, Taj Mahal, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. He is currently touring in support of his new record, Blood Like a River, which has topped Folk/Roots charts in the U.S. and in Europe.