Outside of his son, a curly haired cutie named Liam with a shock of Scottish Highlands red hair, Mark Evitts’ only other love is music. It started early and it has now grown into a complex, alternating harmonic and dissonant blend of scores and arrangements that range from down-home Nashville country sounds to the full-bodied orchestrations of symphonic strings.
Mark Evitts has stamped an indelible imprint on Nashville and the west coast with his ingenious instrumental creativity and his ability to make big sound come from a small studio nestled in Nashville. Having toured as a fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and piano player with such artists as Rodney Atkins, Jimmy Wayne, Jaida Dryer, Dillon Hodges (Firekid), Bo Bice and many others, Mark has also become the foremost called-upon session string arranger/violinist working with pop artists such a Blues Traveler, Jewel, and Katharine McPhee. He most recently performed on the season finale of the hit show Nashville.
In 2013 Mark created a string and children’s choir arrangement for the Grammy Award-winning pop rock group Train’s New Year’s Eve Time Square performance of John Lennon’s Imagine. And Mark’s string arrangement and performance on the original song Voice In A Dream for NBC’s SMASH was nominated for an Emmy in the Best Original Music category.
“It’s been an amazing few years since I arrived in Nashville,” Mark says. “Shortly after I moved here I auditioned for a gig with Rodney Atkins. He had just had four number one singles on country radio in 2008 and I had only been in town for a short time. I really felt like an odd man out. I never imagined that I’d get the job. But the offer came and that was really the start of what has been an incredible volume of work ever since, both here and in LA. I started making so many contacts through the work that I began to get calls from a wide range of musical producers for everything from a tour with Brooks and Dunn and ZZ Top to working on films and TV shows.”
Mark was catapulted from his instrumental work with Rodney Atkins to playing to crowds of 70,000 people in sold-out arenas behind the likes of ZZ Top. “These were some of the biggest tours in country music,” Mark says. “I found myself thrown into a world I would never have imagined. I played with them for about a year on the road and it was a really cool experience.”
That was just the beginning of a production and performance career that has taken Mark all around the country and to Europe for a number of tours as well. “I was just in Sweden this past fall working with a woman named Caroline Larsson and her band of Swedish musicians. I’m really not sure how she found me but she sent me a Facebook message and wanted me to work with her on a European tour. So I’ve toured with her several times now.”
Mark has also worked with a German performer named Lisa Marie Fischer. He has produced several of her albums. “We actually wrote a song together with LA writers Josh Edmondson and Charity Daw called Done is Done which went to number one in some European markets,” Mark adds.
Mark is a 1999 Tilghman graduate whose musical mojo was more than apparent as he walked the halls of PTHS with long sheets of musical scoring paper flopping out from under his textbooks. “One day in Mrs. Blackmon’s class I distinctly remember her turning to me as I was writing a piece of music and saying, ‘Mark I know you are going to do music. We all know you are going to do music. But right now I need you to do chemistry.’”
Lesson learned. Mark Evitts has a way of formulating sounds that transcend the logic of music science to reach the incalculable chemistry of music magic. He has scored several films and documentaries, has recorded with some of the most respected singers and musicians in a variety of genres, and has a new movie score coming out later this year. But Mark’s musical LIFE started here.
“The truest sense of the beginning was probably when my dad, who was a truck driver, took me to a truck stop when I was about five or six and told me to just ask the guys who played there every week if I could sit in with them. So I did. I really didn’t know any better,” he laughs.
Then at the age of 15, Mark attended Mark O’Conner’s fiddle camp and fell in love with the music, the instrument, and the voice he learned he could express via the string music he created.
“There are very few days that I don’t shake my head at what my life has become,” Mark comments. “I still get excited about the music. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a big time artist or doing something for a local up-and-coming band. Being able to make the music come to life is really all I need.”
You can follow Mark Evitts on Twitter and Instagram with @MarkEvitts. Hear his music at MarkEvitts.com.