A Mark Perry concert is like a Canadian roadtrip…
from playing hockey on frozen lakes or fighting the force of a rising river… to that time you were sinking on a west coast ferry or bought the family car for “two cords of wood and 24 beer”. Towns dying, towns being born, small planes going down, helicopter rescues lifting us up… this northern BC singer-songwriter draws us in as he pays tribute to real characters and events in rural Canada, connecting us from coast to coast. He is renowned in the northwest as a candid storyteller and has a knack for making his audience feel like they’re in his living room.
New Jersey has Springsteen, New York has Billy Joel, northern BC has Mark Perry. These are the storytellers of their times and places,” salutes music reviewer Frank Peebles in the Prince George Citizen.
With 12 albums recorded, Perry has a huge repertoire of both contemplative and lively songs; you’ll be transfixed by a dirt road ballad one minute, and cutting a rug to a river-rising frolic the next. He is well-loved in regions across Canada and recently began to broaden his reach; his songs are getting a new rush of international airtime and favourable review in places like New Zealand, the UK, and across North America– from Alabama to New Jersey to Alaska. He’s touring BC & Alberta 2019-20 & central/eastern Canada 2020-22 as a duo, trio & full band. Perry’s rich vocals are accompanied by his acoustic guitar and various musical companions including Mark Thibeault (pedal steel), Tobin Frank (accordion/bass), Ian Olmstead (accordion/bass/percussion), Mip (vocal harmonies/bass) and Richard Jenne (percussion).
Mark Perry performs 12-20 concerts/year & tailors his program to the venue (seated vs. danceable spaces) & audience demographics, geography & topics of interest.
In the past few years, tours have included:
- soft-seat theatres ranging in size from Terrace’s REM Lee Theatre (700 seats) to Smithers’ Della Herman Theatre (300 seats) to Calgary’s Nickelodeon (200) to Toronto’s Tranzac (150), to Hazelton’s Hazelbranch (60 seats).
- festivals & community hall shows with audiences ranging in size from 2,000 at the BV Exhibition, 1,900 per day at the Filberg Festival to 150 at Glenwood Hall and 85 at the Dunster Schoolhouse.
- performing in communities with populations ranging in size from Toronto (2.9 million), Calgary (1.3 million), Prince George (75,000), Comox (15,000) to rural towns like Houston BC (3,000), Fort St James (1,700) & Hazelton (270).
“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.
He produced his 1st album in the 1990s with his west coast hero Roy Forbes (Bim) and recorded the next 10 with acclaimed producers Steve Dawson, Hugh McMillan, Bob Hamilton, Joby Baker & Jordy Walker. In 2019, Perry released a collection album, “Recollections”, re-recorded his single “Queen of the North” and released a new single “Cold Road” which premiered nationally on Roots Music Canada. More songs are scheduled for release in 2019-20 working towards a new album in 2020-21.
As a kid growing up in a small northern BC town in the 70s, Perry got his start when he tuned in to the scratchy, barely audible, 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 playing consecutive 6-nighters with his road band, and started writing and crafting his own popular songs. In between raising a family and working for the Canadian railroad, he recorded and performed to a growing fan base.
These days, Perry runs a small horse farm with his wife Jane in a beautiful mountain valley outside Smithers BC.
“When Smithers, BC-based singer-songwriter Mark Perry heard about the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan last April, he felt numb. The former up-and-coming hockey player and rural hockey coach went to his shed to deal. He wrote a song called “Cold Road.” We’re thrilled to be premiering it here today on Roots Music Canada…”
“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
“Offers a real slice of life, sans saccharin. I recommend it.”
~ Rogue Folk Reviews, Vancouver, BC
“This singer/songwriter from Smithers is one of our finest, 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
“Geography may have shaped Perry’s character, but it hasn’t compromised his music’s universal appeal.”
~ The Georgia Straight, Vancouver, BC
“New Jersey has Springsteen, New York has Billy Joel, northern B.C. has Mark Perry.”
~ Frank Peebles / Prince George Citizen
“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 of life in a northern town. 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
“Mark writes the kinds of songs other writers wish they had written.”
~Shari Ulrich, musician & songwriter
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