Bio & Photos
Mark Perry’s music takes you on a roadtrip
through his heart and his love for rural Canada… from playing hockey on frozen lakes, to grieving the sinking of a BC passenger ferry, to trading a car for “two cords of wood and 24 beer”. “New Jersey has Springsteen, New York has Billy Joel, northern BC has Mark Perry. These are the storytellers of their times and places,” salutes a recent reviewer in the Prince George Citizen. Throughout this singer-songwriter’s prolific career, Perry has always paid tribute to the characters and events in his small town region and, by sharing his own personal introspections, he taps into things that resonate with us all… even if we live in a metropolis like Toronto.
Audiences are transfixed by his dirt road ballads one minute, then cutting a rug to an accordion-infused river-rising frolic the next. With 11 records under his belt, Perry’s got a huge selection of original music to share and a candid stage presence that warms people’s hearts and gets them grinning. “Mark was a highlight for festival goers and had the crowd up on their feet dancing away,” says David McTavish, Artistic Director, Midsummer Music Festival.
Mark is currently touring as a trio or full band with various musical compadres including Ian Olmstead (bass/accordion/vocals), Mark Thibeault (pedal steel/electric guitar), Rachelle van Zanten (slide/electric guitar/vocals), Kiri Daust (violin), and Richard Jenne (percussion). He recorded his 1st album in the 1990s with his west coast hero Roy Forbes (Bim) and has produced 10 albums since — the most recent in 2018, recorded in Whitehorse and Smithers with Jordy Walker (Old Cabin, Jordy Walker Music).
As a kid growing up in the 70s in small town Smithers, BC, Mark got his start when he tuned in to the scratchy, hard to pick up, late night radio waves coming from Vancouver and heard CCR, the Rolling Stones, Eric Burdon and Gordon Lightfoot. He traded an old lawnmower for what he calls an “electric(ish) guitar” and into the neighbour’s basement he went – guitar in hand, trying to play that music. He earned his calluses, learned to survive playing 6-nighters with his road band, and started to write and craft alluring songs. In between raising a family and working for the Canadian railroad, he continued to perform to a growing fan base.
These days, Mark is writing and performing more than ever as well as running a small horse farm with his wife Jane in a beautiful mountain valley outside Smithers BC. With his new album release, Mark and bandmates are fired up and touring Canada, enjoying the experience of connecting with audiences.
What others say…
“Mark Perry had our audience captivated through the entire show. His heart shines through in his voice and his songs. Mark Perry’s performance is a ‘must-see’ and a ‘must-see again’.”
~ Bruce Champion, Terrace Concert Society
“Mark Perry is to the Northwest what Gord Downie was to Canada – he captures our hearts by telling our stories in a way no one else does. His humility and humour join with an artist’s heart as he writes about the way we see ourselves.”
~ Nathan Cullen, MP Skeena-Bulkley Valley
“The soundtrack for my life is taken from Mark Perry’s music. His song-writing, musical expression and stage presence emanates the very best, most magical qualities…. Perry’s music invites me in to sit by his fire and feel like a cherished neighbour for a while.”
~ Carolina DeRyk, Host, CBC Radio
“This singer/songwriter from Smithers is one of ourfinest, a guy whose songs are full of the telling little joys, frustrations and messy minutiae of real life. In a world of so much artifice, he’s one of the real things.”
~ J.P.M., The Province, Vancouver, BC
“Mark writes the kinds of songs other writers wish they had written.”
~ Shari Ulrich
“New Jersey has Springsteen, New York has Billy Joel, northern B.C. has Mark Perry. These are the storytellers of their times and places.”
~ Frank Peebles / Prince George Citizen
“Mark was a highlight for festival goers and had the crowd up on their feet dancing away.”
~ David McTavish, Artistic Director, Midsummer Music Festival
“Offers a real slice of life, sans saccharin. I recommend it.”
~ Rogue Folk Reviews, Vancouver, BC
Mark Perry 2016 – photo Marie Perry