Mark Ambrose is the kind of songwriter you might happen on
some late-spring evening under a tree at Kerrville, or one night in
someone’s living room or at your favorite local listening room venue.
As the title of his recent live compilation album Troubadour suggests,
Mark Ambrose is the real thing: a hard-working songsmith whose
voice, song-wisdoms, effortless flatpicking guitar style (whether
playing rhythm or lead), and sincere delivery remind us what it really
means to "talk story" through song. Mark Ambrose clearly upholds the
folk tradition and integrity of the “old guard”—Townes, Guthrie,
Ramblin’ Jack, Guy Clark, and other bonafide troubadours who have
traveled this same dusty road.
Born and raised in Chicago, Mark Ambrose was working on a
horse ranch when he first fell in love with Texas music through Jerry
Jeff Walker. At the same time he was being steeped in the blues—from
Muddy Waters, hanging round in blues clubs in Chicago, and even
playing guitar with Junior Wells. A turning point came for Ambrose
when he met Bill Monroe after a show and sat down and sang a song for him. Bill Monroe sang harmony to it and
then told Ambrose to come to Nashville and get to know people. So Mark loaded his guitar and his girlfriend into
his ’72 Dodge Dart and they headed for Nashville.
In Nashville, Mark Ambrose soon drifted to the Texas side of town, meeting friends like songwriter Doak
Snead, who introduced him to Townes Van Zandt. Townes showed Mark how to fingerpick and opened doors for
him on the songwriting process. Townes reinforced the freedom in songwriting that Mark would later realize, “I
already knew was there.”
Mark spent some years honing his craft traveling between Nashville and Texas, before deciding he needed to
track Texas music to its roots. So he moved to Austin where he now resides. In Austin, stories and songs came alive
for Mark and his writing started to really dig in, turning up songs faithful to the Texas folk/roots tradition yet still
sounding like a much-needed revival for our modern times. Songs like “Train Whistle Blues” will strike the listener
with the feel of an instant classic—familiar yet you know you haven’t heard this one yet. Meanwhile, songs like
“Shadow on the Moon” and “Redbirds” speak to the depth and romance embedded in Mark’s songwriting, as he
addresses matters of the human spirit and the heart.
In Texas, Mark continued to ramble and write, playing shows with Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie
Hubbard, the Dave Rawlings Machine (with members of Old Crow Medicine Show), and others. His guitar playing
was recognized by Gillian Welch who asked him to come play guitar (acoustic and electric) on her CD, Soul Journey.
Mark’s guitar playing can be heard on the single “Look At Miss Ohio.”
Mark Ambrose’s modest but earnest contributions to Americana music are beginning to be noticed. At least a
couple dozen artists have either sung or recorded Mark’s songs, including live performances of “Willie the Outlaw”
by Dave Rawlings, and recordings of “Shadow on the Moon” and “Suitcase Full of Tears” by Austin stalwart Toni
Price. “Shadow on the Moon” also won First Place in the Singer/Songwriter category of the Austin Songwriters
Group Song Contest in 2011. As a songwriter working under the aegis of folk/blues/Americana/country music,
Mark Ambrose’s style is deceptively simple yet, in that simplicity and sincerity, also satisfyingly profound—as the
very best of folk music should be.
As a performer Mark Ambrose will win the audience over with his particular charm, laidback and charismatic,
yet brimming with musical integrity. He brings magic and spontaneity to his song-sharing and storytelling; there is
no distance between him and his audience. He’s all there with you in that room for every single second that he’s
onstage. He’ll catch your eye while he’s singing, he’ll smile, and he’ll even mean it.
Mark's music is refreshingly authentic and unpretentious, conveying an old-souled troubadour's view on
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 512.565.5073 | Booking: BeThereBooking@yahoo.com
On the Web: markambrose.com | markambrose.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/markambrose | reverbnation.com/markambrose
Mark Ambrose Artist Bio