Mark Ross

Address: 1165 W Broadway, Eugene, OR
Email: sutfe17@gmail.com
Website: lehnherr.com/butte
Birthplace: New York, NY
Birth Date: 7/17/49

Describe the traditional skill/art… when/why done… your history with it:

Old Time 5-string Banjo is the first popular American musical form dating from early in the 19th Century.  An evolution of the instrument African slaves brought to the New World.

It is played for dances to accompany ballads to drive away the blues. It is a rich tradition with many different roots in American popular music, classical music, African-American tradition and mountain culture.

I first heard the banjo when he was 8-years old hearing Pete Seager play with The Weavers. I took up the guitar and started playing American vernacular music in the height of the GREAT FOLK MUSIC SCARE of the 1960’s. I’ve been playing the banjo for forty years, and have played with Snuffy Jenkins, Tony Trischka, Marty Cutler, Hank Sapoznik, Stephen Wade, and Ken Perlman.

When/why did you come to Oregon:

I came here because of a woman. (Why do folk singers go anyplace?)

Any other biographical information (awards, honors, presentations, etc.):

I was nominated for an INDIE Award (National Association of Independent Record Distributors) for my work with Utah Phillips on his Red House recording LOAFERS GLORY (1996). I was privileged to be part of a Grammy nominated compilation SINGING THROUGH THE HARD TIMES: A Tribute to Utah Phillips (Righteous Babe, 2009).  I have appeared at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife, and numerous other venues including colleges, coffee houses, concert halls, honkey tonks, hobo jungles, and other low dives. I’ve also recorded for Sesame Street, National Public Radio, and hosted a live public radio folk music show on Montana Public Radio for six years.