Bio & Photos
A Mark Perry concert is like a Canadian roadtrip…
from playing hockey on frozen lakes or fending off the rising river each spring… 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… this northern BC singer-songwriter draws us in as he pays tribute to real characters and events in rural Canada, uniting us by telling our stories and showing we are linked from coast to coast. He is renowned in the west as a candid storyteller with down-to-earth charm that makes a theatre 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 northwest 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).
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.
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