Thirsty Thursday Featuring Mark Elliott
Updated: Jul 19
Mark Elliott is a thirty-three-year veteran of the Nashville-based singer-songwriter scene, author, blogger, and podcaster. He is also a principal vocalist/guitarist for the Americana band Runaway Home. He has written for some of Nashville’s top publishing houses, including Sony-Tree, Maypop, and Bluewater Music. Mark's songs have been recorded by independent and major artists, receiving airplay on radio and TV in the United States and abroad. His songs have hit the Billboard Top Forty Charts, highlighted by Neal McCoy's hit single “Every Man for Himself.” Billboard Magazine called it “a song with rare lyrical and musical edge and the best cut on the album.” Mark is also a winner of the coveted Kerrville New Folk Award. In addition to releasing nine albums, Mark has a string of 2020-2023 solo singles out, including. “Craziest Thing,” “Watch Out Man,” “On My Way to See You,” “Talk to Yourself” and “Drunk for Nothin’.” He releases his newest single, “Taking You South” on June 30, 2023. 3 Minutes Away Publishing signed Mark as a staff writer in 2021. Along with being an accomplished musician, Mark is also an author. Kirkus Reviewsheralded Mark’s current book, "The Sons of Starmount: Memoir of a Ten-year-old Boy" (out in paperback and audiobook), as a “joyful book, permeated with gentle humor that brings to life the exuberance of youth.” Check out Mark’s weekly Substack literary newsletter, Words from the Hollow, and his podcast, Conversations On Cub Creek.
Where did you grow up and how has that influenced your style of music? I think my style of music was more influenced by when I grew up versus where. I was lucky enough to be a kid in the 1970s, 10-12 when music first sparks in a young soul. 1970s radio was like a “Best of” playlist. So, it was the singer-songwriters, like John Denver, Jim Croce, and Gordon Lightfoot who first got my attention. And then bands with great songs like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Grateful Dead, and The Band.
You recently released your new single, “Taking You South,” that you also co-wrote. Tell us about the writing process and where the idea came from. I’ve been writing with my pal Gabe Burdulis every Tuesday night at midnight for about six years now. We have 122 songs under our belt. “Taking You South” is number 13 – so it’s an old one. The last in a series of eight singles recorded in Nashville during the pandemic, Taking You South sings of a love that needs a boost. And a move from the icy chill of the north down south is just the boost it needs. And like most songs that work, it’s an amalgamation of each writer’s experience.
Aside from singing do you play any instruments? I play acoustic guitar mainly and I have a few gems. My main guitar is an early 1970s Martin D-35 that I bought when I was 13 years old from Steve Spellman’s Shop in Washington, DC. I also have a beautiful early 1990s Taylor 810, and a Wechter Nashville High String.
Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? My main inspiration comes from the discipline of writing every day. If you’re writing every day your radar is tuned on to that conversation in the booth behind you, that phrase on a passing billboard, or that thought that is always elusive when you’re not consistently creative.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing a career in music? Inspiration is inexorably tied to discipline – Tom Paxton
Was there ever music playing in the kitchen growing up? I grew up playing music around the kitchen table with friends most weekends. And the kitchen table that we had back in West Virginia way back in 1972 is now my kitchen table. And it’s the site of every co-write I do at the house.
What is your favorite sandwich? French Dip – Mitchell’s Deli – East Nashville.
Best food that deep fried? Fried Chicken Fingers from Teeter’s Market – Ashland City, TN.
If I was a bartender, what would you order? Lagavulin 16 Scotch
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal (the round ones) – for sure!
Website: Mark Elliott Creative