Mark (left) discussing dobro with Captain Midnight (right).
Some years ago, Mark was introduced to the resophonic slide guitar, aka the dobro, by Drew "Captain Midnight" Howard and Joe Wilson. He was working at Founder's Brew Co in Grand Rapids, MI and earning himself the moniker, "Huggy Bear."
This was about six years ago, and much has happened in the space between then and now...
Bliss Fest 2010
Mark played with a number of bands, including Michael Beauchamp and the Barn Roughs, Winter/Sessions, and the Fauxgrass Quartet, and in 2010, we found each other at the BlissFest Music Festival in Northern Michigan. All soul searchers up to our ears in the formative years of our musical journey through life.
New York City, New York 2012
Before long, we had made the decision to play music full time together, and Mark was showing us the reigns of booking tours outside the mitten.
We've been working tirelessly together ever since...
Front Range BBQ, Fort Collins, CO
In July, we made our third journey out west to tour through the Colorado Rockies (we can't get enough of those mountains!), and made a final stop at the Rocky Grass Bluegrass Festival in Lyons, CO.
RockyGrass has a number of instrument competitions and when Huggy Bear saw dobro on the list, the decision to participate was already made!
He decided to play Leather Britches and an original tune called "Roll On Rayco Roll" for Round 1 of the competition, which earned him a spot as one of the three finalists to compete in Round 2!
For Round 2 he played Red Prairie Dawn and Wheel Hoss, accompanied by Dominic Leslie on the mandolin.
Well friends, the rest is history... Mark took 1st place! He wasn't present to hear the announcement as we were serenading patrons of the Stone Cup Coffee House down the street, but when the news arrived, our entire entourage turned into one big beaming smile!
AND NOW... we just received news that Mark will be gracing the main stage at this year's International Bluegrass Music Association's convention in Nashville, TN. He'll be honoring the greatness of dobro pioneers, while representing the new up-and-coming generation of dobro pickers brave enough to wear orange short shorts like those pictured above.
Meanwhile, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys continue full-steam ahead with the Earthwork Music Collective, Hearth Music, the Americana Agency, Big Foot Media and all our friends and families by our side.
We couldn't be happier!
Photos Mark took of us sleeping in the van while on tour.
Yes... he was behind the wheel, driving down the freeway, while taking these pictures...