Live at the Rogue
Originally aired November 5th, 2021
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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.
A dozen albums strong, Mark Perry is deeply loved in Canada for his good-humoured and thought-provoking performances that get festival audiences up on their feet and make theatre crowds feel like they’re in his living room. He sweeps you up in emotional and animated tales of sinking ferries, rising rivers, NHL dreams, or buying a car for “two cords of wood and 24 beer”. Towns dying, towns being born, small planes going down… this Canadian singer-songwriter draws us in to reflect and to laugh as he pays tribute to real characters and events in rural Canada. His music connects us from coast to coast.
While northern BCers have grown up singing the lyrics of this popular musician, Perry has recently stepped out on a national level. After Perry performed at Folk Alliance International in Montreal and New Orleans, he saw a surge of interest and airplay in Canada, the US, the UK and New Zealand. In 2020 he was recognized by Roots Music Canada for his 2019 single premiere of “Cold Road” in their Top 10 most popular reads. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Perry released a song and quirky video “Flatten out the Curve” that went viral on Facebook and was picked up by newspapers and radio DJs across Canada and the US.
Perry has been writing, recording and performing since the mid-1990s when he recorded his first album with Roy Forbes and Shari Ulrich, and headed out to tour with Connie Kaldor as her opening act. These days he sells out his own theatre shows in western Canada, currently touring with a variety of talented accompanists including Mark Thibeault (Hungry Hill), Tobin Frank (Spirit of the West), Ian Olmstead (Alex Cuba) and Mip (Mip Power Trio). With 12 albums recorded and a new album due soon, Perry has a large repertoire of both contemplative and lively songs to suit his audience. He enraptures you with a dirt road ballad one minute, and has you cutting a rug to a river-rising frolic the next.
These days Perry is focussed on writing and creating music in his home-based studio and runs a small horse farm with his wife Jane in a beautiful mountain valley outside Smithers BC.
Mark is celebrating the release of his latest recording 'Northwest', and will be accompanied by Mark Thibeault and Ian Olmstead.
"New Jersey has Springsteen, New York has Billy Joel, northern BC has Mark Perry. These are the storytellers of their times and places.” - Frank Peebles, Prince George Citizen.