Cincinnati based musician, Mark Becknell is releasing his debut solo album, Like the Vine Sunday at The Southgate House Revival with special guest Ben Knight! A drummer and percussionist at his core, Becknell takes a very rhythmic view when it comes to his melodies and compositions.
We sat down with Mark Becknell in anticipation of the album release!
Tell us about the release party and where we can pick up the album…
I am releasing the album with a full band at The Southgate House Revival in Newport, KY! It will be on Sunday, June 14th at 4:00 and Ben Knight will be opening the show with a solo set. Along with working as a professional musician, I also work as a private music instructor...so I wanted to have an early, all ages show where my students, friends and family could attend. For you out of towners, Like the Vine will be available for purchase on bandcamp.com starting June 14 where you can order the physical CD and download a digital copy. But soon enough...I'll have it up and running on iTunes, Spotify, rhapsody and available through Amazon. BUT right now.... it’s available exclusively at Shake-It Records!
Tell us about the writing / recording process…
My writing process comes in waves. I'll have a dry spell but then all of the sudden pop out a couple tunes all at once but thankfully, my dry spells keep getting shorter and shorter. I guess I first hear melodies in my head...then I quickly find a guitar to sort out the chords and then pretty much orchestrate the rest in my head. My lyrics are usually very personal to me...either about myself or inspired by friends and family...but I try to stay away from nail on the head and make my message universal. So many times I listen to songs and twist them into my own life...thinking "damn...I wish I wrote that one." I may not have a clue what the original inspiration was but I've made it my own and related it to my own life, love, dreams, etc. That's what music is about and I hope that someone finds a piece of themselves in my songs.
I am and will always be a drummer...way before I was singing and writing songs...and still am of course. I guess that's why my songwriting and guitar playing seems to be more rhythmic based. The cool thing is I have full reign over rhythms, chords and lyrics! So after laying down a scratch guitar and vocal track to make sure the form was good.... I added the drums...then the acoustic guitar. I had to bring in some real musicians to take care of all the fancy sounding stuff. In the end, it sounded more like a full band being recorded live in a room rather than separate tracks being pieced together at different times. I feel that this is partly due to me being the drummer and guitar player...but also I've known the other guys that played on the album for so long... that they know what I'm going to do before I do it...musically speaking. I like to keep them on their toes otherwise.
What does this album mean to the band?
Well...this is my first solo effort...so it means to world to me. I will probably look back on it in five years and say, "what was I thinking?" But for now...it's who I am and what I have to say!
What are the hopes with the album?
I just hope the album speaks to people. Simply. I hope they find enjoyment in listening to it and I hope they tell 5,000 of their closest friends. I will follow wherever it takes me. I am a songwriter that needs to write and sing and record albums and I want to share my music with whoever would like to listen. I joke to friends that my fame will come as an old man when people will come see me play just because I've been doing it for so long... I will play music till I die.
Who helped record / mix etc. the album?
I recorded Like the Vine at Cappel Recording with the one and only Tommy Cappel. I met Tommy around 2009 when we both played in the band, Josh Eagle and The Harvest City and found that we both had the same musical ideas and pretty much see eye to eye. Not sure if this album would have turned out the same if it wasn't for him. We worked on the arrangements together and co-produced the album. Great friend and an amazing musician and engineer. Tommy also played bass on the songs along with Jeremy Smart on guitar and Dusty Bryant on piano and organ. David Faul played acoustic guitar and harmonica on a few tracks as well. I could go on and on about these guys...and I hope they know how much I love them and respect them. This line-up is pretty much my dream team. They will also be the band at the release party on June 14 along with my long time awesome friend, Nick Mavridoglou on drums. Dream team.
What is next for Mark Becknell?
I feel that this is just the beginning for me...my hair is turning gray but my musical spirit is young, motivated and focused! I look forward to writing more songs for another Mark Becknell album of course. I also lead and write for a Caribbean style group called the Queen City Silver Stars that actually just got done recording a 12 track all original album! So keep an eye out for that! I'm about to start a recording project with Frontier Folk Nebraska...I've been drumming with them for the past two years and just love playing and creating music with them. We have a studio album in the works AND a live album which is being recorded at the Southgate House Revival in August.
Sunday, June 14th
3pm doors/ 4pm show
$10 adv/ $12 dos
Free CD with admission