Mark Schimick, the nationally renown mandolin player for Larry Keel and Natural bridge, was born in Chicago IL and grew up there and in Western North Carolina. In his youth he frequently visited his extended family in Southwestern Virginia (coincidentally, the same area where Larry’s family originates). Like Larry, Mark was exposed at an early age to the music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains by listening to the Stanley Brothers and Flatt and Scruggs on the radio. Starting for the age of 6, Mark pursued formal musical training in sacred choir singing and classical piano. Later he became a drummer in a variety of contemporary music bands. Mark has been playing the mandolin for 13 years, and has rapidly become one of the most versatile and fiery pickers on the acoustic music scene. Moreover, he has a clear and powerful singing voice that can range from high-lonesome to Beatles-esque to Motown-tinged soul. Mark has also been showcasing his talent around the country as a lead singer and drum; sometimes at the same time!
Over the years, Mark has shared the stage with many legends and luminaries such as Sam Bush, Ike Stubblefield, David Grisman, Colonel Bruce Hampton, and Merl Saunders. He has also been in the same band with Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, and Jim Lauderdale. Including 3 solo CD’s so far, he has appeared on numerous projects: 4 of Larry Keel’s recordings since 2002, Songs from the Road Band (with members of Steep Canyon Rangers and Shannon Whitworth Band), the Davisson Brothers Band, saxophonist Jeremy Saunders, and many more. His own CD “Ain’t No Records Spinning” features Larry as well, and was voted in the top 25 Bluegrass releases of 2007 by respected WNCW Radio in Western North Carolina. New musical releases with Mark are: Larry Keel and Natural Bridge’s Classic, which is in the top 20 bluegrass releases of 2012 on WNCW; Ryan Eversole’s In the Lowground; Boss Hawg’s Times We Never Knew (release pending), which features Jon Jon Davis, co-songwriter of the song “Take the Time”; and Mud Tea’s Live at the Grey Eagle (release pending), featuring Mark on drum kit and lead vocals.