The year was 1953 and Mark Graham was born in the inhospitable no-man’s land between Renton and Seattle, Washington. It was this harsh, unyielding wilderness that nurtured an incipient yet incendiary impulse toward musical satire. Under the unwholesome influence of Homer and Jethro’s classic LP “At the Country Club”, Mark embarked on a perilous and far reaching exploration of corn-fed American country musical humor that was to take an ominous turn toward obscure musical sub genres of even more dubious commercial viability.
Seeking to create a versatile and unique vehicle to comment on what has come to be called “the human condition”, Graham sought to combine the lyrical essence of Tom Lehrer, The Smothers Brothers, Gilbert and Sullivan, the mysterious Dublin balladeer, Zosimus and the Epicurean philosopher-poet, Lucretius and wed them to the barnyard sensibility of old-time music’s Uncle Dave Macon.
While modestly claiming complete and utter artistic success, popular acclaim has remained utterly and completely modest. For although Mr. Graham has performed at such exalted venues as The Newport Folk Festival, The Prairie Home Companion, London’s Festival Hall and Port Townsend’s Upstage Theater and Restaurant, he fortunately retains a deep and abiding interest in classical through rococo pick and shovel technique (with a wheelbarrow minor) and applies the theory and practice in the service of the Burton Water Co. of Vashon Island.
With his trusty Marine Band harmonica Mark Graham has rambled the world with serial offenders like The Hurricane Ridge Runners, The Chicken Chokers, Kevin Burke’s Open House, Danny Barnes and The Kings of Mongrel Folk, bringing a surreal mountain hilarity and lonesome musical terror to the big subjects: Cosmology, Mathematics, Biology, Food, Stupidity, Death and Festival Love.
An evening with Mark Graham is a trip to a rip-roaring, old-time slugfest illuminated by great flashes of wit and fascinating insight into “the human condition”.
“ Mark Graham is one of the most clever and inventive writers putting words on paper”
KMVR Program Guide
“Amazing harmonica player…songs irreverent, well crafted and often hilarious”
Sing Out Magazine
“Traditional harmonica wizardry with hilarious, off-beat songwriting”
Kim Field “Harmonicas, Harps and Heavy Breathers
“An asshole in a giant puppet head”