ABOUT MARK – THE SHORT VERSION:
Being born with one arm (the left one) but being blessed with the ability to make songs up in his head, from an early age, forced Mark to struggle for many years trying to find a way to play guitar one handed. Being a massive Beatles fan he fantasised about having his own Beatles group from the age of 8 and was determined to find a way of realising this, dismissing the ‘playing guitar on the floor with his feet’ possibilities as it seemed to him so ‘uncool’!
Eventually through sheer frustration, and dogged determination, Mark found a way to play guitar one handed by playing right handed guitars (upside down – strung normally) bass-style from listening and copying Paul McCartney’s bass lines from ‘Sgt Pepper‘. From these humble beginnings Mark began to learn bass licks and then guitar chords and strumming and finally finger-picking (of sorts) using his thumb to pick & strum and 3 fingers of the same hand to fret with. Whilst this was physically limiting it opened up the possibilities for him as a songwriter and he began to record the ideas happening in his head!
Spending the next few years recording (crudely) at home Mark wrote many songs and developed many styles – not being able to read or write music actually allowed him to experiment musically and gave him more freedom. Eventually he moved to London and formed a succession of pop/rock bands of which he was the chief songwriter and guitarist for many years with varying degrees of success.
After 20 years of playing in rock bands, and collaborating with others, he eventually discovered the freedom of being a solo performer and in 2010 left the band life to start writing songs for himself and began performing at local gigs and festivals in Surrey.
Mark has since showcased on local radio stations in Surrey, performed around Britain and abroad in Romania & Kosovo. Although having spent a lifetime (almost) recording his own demos and albums, he finally released his first ‘properly mixed’ studio album in 2013 “In from the Cold” a collection of blues songs, ballads and pop songs. His mission is to get his music out there and eventually be successful enough to become a full time musician.
From 2011 Mark also began being accompanied by a blues harp player, Phil Thorpe, and soon after a cajon player Paul Stone. The three friends became ‘Nunk and the Two P’s’ then just ‘The Mark Nelson Trio’. They released an album of original songs and blues versions of cover songs on their “Out of the Blues” album released in 2014.
Mark has released several albums of original material since – ‘Out in the Sun’ which is more of a full on production pop sound; ‘Lost Gems’ – a retrospective collection of unreleased tracks and a ’60’s Psychedelic album ‘A Trip to Euphoria’ by The Electric Tricycle Band. More recently, Mark has released a pseudo post-punk (80’s style) album under the guise of Statik Faktion – ‘Dead End‘.
In the pipeline is a much anticipated blues band follow up album – a Mark Nelson Blues Band album which will feature Kevin Rowe on bass and blues harp players Phil Thorpe/Glen Vaal and Paul Stone on the Cajon. (Glen has become the group’s full time harp player since Phil went off touring the world).
Catch Mark and the band in Farnham, Guildford and the surrounding area.
- “Sounds akin to Richard Hawley via George Harrison, a crafted well spun set of thoughtful and alluring tunes avoiding MOR-ness by being nicely spaced and organic sounding, good stuff”. – BUGBEAR PROMOTIONS 2017
- “A great Blues player….smokey voice that mixes Billy Corgan and Kurt Cobain, a smooth sound and a song called Pepperoni Girl” – (Andy Vale from Farenheit 55, Guildford).
- “Great guitar virtuoso who could shame even the most accomplished guitar players with just one arm!” – (David Durant from Brooklands Radio).
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