His musical prowess has taken him around the world several times over, playing with an eclectic mix of noted musical talents from Sting to Elvis Costello, and Travis Tritt as well as his own solo work. A multi stringsman, Mark has mastered electric/acoustic/lap steel guitar as well as the mandolin and dobro, and with a voice reminiscent of many rock and bluesmen before him- it has the familiarity of an old friend yet the power and soul of many of today’s rock, soul, folk and R&B icons. For years, Newman and fellow songwriter Naomi Margolin have run the “Music From the Hive” Singer/Songwriter Series, and for the past two years- “The Original Music Series” for bands, in an attempt to keep original music alive on Long Island. Although he’s played a ton of exciting solo and full-band showcases in the past few months–notably NYC’s B.B. King’s for the Delbert McClinton Birthday Show, The Space at Westbury opening for the one and only Don Felder, The Blue Note in Tokyo, Japan, The Space at Westbury opening for David Bromberg, and NYC’s Legendary Bitter End–he has also worked as sideman to so many soul, blues, and rock greats of our time like John Oates (Hall and Oates), Jim McCarty (The Yardbirds), Willy DeVille, Sam The Sham, and Sam Moore! His album, “Walls of Jericho,” which was released in 2010, is filled with intricate guitar work and mixed with a plethora of sounds from hard rock to a lighter more Dylanesque folk tinge, but this style comes even more to the forefront on 2015’s “Brussels”.
The live acoustic-driven EP packs a bluesy punch reminiscent of Clapton’s “Unplugged” album through both the guitar work and raw vocal power. On the first track “Mean Season (Lucille, Lucille)”, Newman bellows “I waited til’ dawn, see if the sun will shine when you’re gone // You turn away, I just can’t stay where I don’t belong” and like many early bluesmen before him, you can hear the soulful longing and strife in his voice. With the brilliant slide-guitar work in “Dead Man’s Shoes” we’re easily transported in our minds to the West in the era of outlaws and cowboy boots, and in “Must Be A Pony” reminded about the power of a child’s enthusiasm and the efforts not to lose it as time goes by. His most recent release “Scapegoat” is yet another tune that brings Newman’s full-scale musicianship into the forefront as not only a brilliant slide-guitarist, but a gifted lyricist as well. His imagery depicts an innocent man on the run from the law after being framed for a murder he didn’t commit when he bellows “Walking home through an alley when I witnessed a hit, he was fightin’ for his life when his throat got slit // I screamed ‘hey stop!’ but not in time, I saw their faces and they saw mine”. The story takes an even darker turn when he continues “The police showed up to take care of business // They were looking for a weapon, looking for a witness // Though I know who it was I refused to name names // They took me downtown, I think I’m about to get framed”. Though a darker tale, the song itself verges more on the upbeat and danceable blues feel with a hammond organ solo that wouldn’t be out of place in The Band, The Doors, or many of the great iconic rock songs of our time.