By Abbey Cannan
A Cooroy musician is set to release his third studio album with all original songs inspired by his travels on tour in Australia and overseas.
Mark Porter, who will be releasing his latest album titled ‘Blues Road’ featuring Tim Gaze and Doc Span in late September, is a third generation musician who was influenced by the early music that came out of Americas Deep South.
Growing up in Adelaide, he was surrounded by music.
His Grandfather Albert started the first brass band in Thebarton and his father Max played sax and clarinet and led a sixteen piece orchestra.
“I began playing guitar in my early teens, but due to an unfortunate event, it was almost 15 years before I became serious about playing again,” Mark said.
“From this time on, with many lessons and many hours of practice, I grew to love the instrument.”
When Mark first picked up the guitar his early influences were country and folk music, until he heard Eric Claptons’ renditions of Robert Johnson.
He has been playing the blues ever since.
Mark formed his first blues band, ‘Texas Flood’ in the mid 90’s and they played the Central Queensland area extensively.
In 2004 he made the move to the Sunshine Coast and immediately joined local band ‘The Blues Burners’.
The year 2007 saw the release of Mark’s debut solo album, produced and engineered by legendary guitar player Tim Gaze.
Tim also plays on the album with well known blues harp maestro Doc Span and Sydney bass player, Mark’s brother, Red Porter.
Shortly after the release, he hit the road to promote the album, travelling Australia for five years, and playing gigs all across the country.
Mark said his latest album was written over a three year period while he was on tour.
“Once I had enough material, I began recording in February of this year,” he said.
“For the listener, it’s basically an acoustic blues album with some folk influence.”
His renditions are raw, played on acoustic and dobro guitars, backed by a stomp box.
“They’re songs with stories. An 1800’s shipwreck, a road trip through the Southern States of America, a struggling town in Western Queensland, to name a few,” Mark said.
He has performed at popular festivals including Gympie Music Muster, Agnes Water Blues and Roots Festival, and the Rotorua Blues Festival, but this year has seen a halt to all festival gigs.
Mark said the Covid-19 pandemic had created a recipe for more blues songs.
“I suppose with the cancellation of gigs, it has given me the time to work on the recordings culminating into this finished product,” he said.
“Originally, I was booked to play in Cunnamulla for June/July and that was cancelled.
“But as things have improved out there, I will be playing at The Club Boutique Hotel, Cunnamulla for the month of October and I am very grateful for that.”
Mark’s album ‘Blues Road’ is available on Spotify and iTunes, with hard copy enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.