A musician for over 35 years, guitarist Mark Fitchett is an accomplished artist who’s compositional, and improvisational skills cross multiple musical boundaries. Through his original music, as well as his interpretations of jazz, blues, and rock standards, Fitchett’s unique approach to his guitar and vocals adds an exciting intensity to his ensemble and solo performances. He is an entertaining and intense performer with an exciting persona both on and off stage.
Inhabiting the space between jazz, rock, and blues, Mark’s playing exemplifies the best of each world while emphasizing his own unique approach and personality. Never afraid to take chances and make bold musical statements, Fitchett is a fearless improviser who plays with unadulterated commitment, feeling and passion.
Mark Fitchett’s love for the blues started at his grandparent’s house, where as a toddler when he would sit for hours mesmerized by his grandfather’s boogie woogie piano playing. Then there were the Elvis 45’s from the 50’s, the Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee albums, and other blues, boogie, ragtime and country records that were lying around. When Mark was old enough to use the record player on his own, the first place he would go when visiting would be the living room to explore his grandparent’s record collection.
Originally inspired to play the piano, he learned some boogie from his granddad but his parents were not receptive to the idea of owning a piano. Around the age of nine a cousin brought over a guitar and a life long 6-string love affair began. Although Mark didn’t start any training until four years later, he looked forward to his cousin’s visits, anxiously hoping she would bring the guitar and allow him to hold it and pluck the strings. Meanwhile he was falling in love with the sound of Scotty Moore’s guitar solos on the old Elvis songs and would play air guitar to them.
As a teen Mark listened to blues influenced bands like the Allman Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Led Zeppelin but it was the electrifying blues playing of Johnny Winter that started the gradual transition of tracing the blues to their original sources. The journey was not without some detours; jazz, rock and even some country, but no matter what the musical tangent, the blues kept calling him back. And today, although considered a modern blues guitarist, his style is firmly rooted in past traditions but fused with his own unique perspectives and influences.
Fitchett’s playing demands the listener’s attention, but the result is that they are rewarded many times over. From fiery licks to slow, beautiful melodic statements, there is no denying his passion combined with his skill makes the even the simplest song become larger than life. Stir in an emotional vocal delivery and everyone believes it when he sings about having the blues but rising above it, and that his guitar playing is testifying to the truth of that.