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Milwuakee
There is a real shortage of good live music venues in Madison, maybe even more so in Milwuakee.  We are lucky to play at the Ale House, it's been there for a long time and has always had bands.  I remember going there when I was 20 years old and seeing Greg Koch and the [...]
03/12/2012 05:28:16pm
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rock bottom
I do believe that no one is reading these blogs of mine.  For a while I was featured under the blog heading on the website, but no more.  Thats ok though, most of my blog posts were shit anyways.  Just ramblings about how cool I am supposed to be, what a rockstar life I lead. [...]
03/10/2012 04:48:39pm
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02/23/2012 10:19:07am
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Like a Purgin'
So I got the flu... I hate getting sick, but whatever, every year about this time it seems to happen.  I spent an entire night ridding my body of everything it had in it.  I mean everything.  Seemed to me like a good time for a fresh start. Some backstory,.,,  We had our trailer stolen, it [...]
02/16/2012 03:13:10pm
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The Ghosts in the Barn
Silence.  I am in the silence business these days.  Not all silence is created equal.  The silence at night after a huge snow in Wisconsin differs immensely from the silence in a tiny basement apartment 4 blocks from the Pacific Ocean in Hermosa Beach, CA, or a monstrous church that has been designed to make [...]
09/29/2011 03:02:08am
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Posted by Mark Croft on May 4, 2011

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I thought I’d take some time today to tell you about my latest CD “Evening Flood,” which I released this past fall.  EF is my 4th CD and as far as I’m concerned it’s definitely my best.  I spent most of the spring of 2010 writing songs for this record and went up to Minneapolis to record it in July.  There’s literally something on here for everyone, and I was honored to have such a high caliber of talent playing on, producing, and mixing these tracks.  Here’s the info taken from my website where you can order a physical copy or find the link to download from iTunes.  You can also sample the tracks and find out more at my website www.MarkCroftMusic.com.

"Evening Flood'

"Evening Flood"

Evening Flood is the fourth and latest CD by Mark Croft.  The CD features the rousing funk-infused single “The Gas Is On” written in the wake of the gulf oil spill and reflects on the global impact and aftermath.  In a repertoire brimming with memorable pop singles, Local Sounds Magazine called the title track (“Evening Flood”) “the best-written, most succinct pop song he’s done yet.”  Croft incorporates genres like southern funk (”If She’s Gonna Shake It”), swampy blues (”One Mississippi”), gospel (”Amen and Hallelujah”), and gypsy swing (”The Crow and the Raven”), in the process, he demonstrates his continued maturity as a songwriter and storyteller.  The album also features Mark’s version of one of his favorite Peter Gabriel songs “Washing of the Water”.  Croft gives a profoundly intimate and emotional performance for which he received praise from Gabriel himself.
Recorded at Masters Recording Studio (formerly Flyte Tyme Studios) in Edina, MN, Evening Flood was produced by Anthony JW Benson and mixed by Grammy Award™ winning engineer Tom Tucker (Prince, Sting, Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt) and mastered by Airshow Mastering wiz Dominick Maita (Herbie Hancock, Glee Soundtracks, Curtis Stigers, Til Tuesday, Billy Joel). The album features a bevy of talented musicians and vocalists including drummer Noah Levy (BoDeans, Five for Fighting, Peter Frampton, Brian Setzer)  More information on ordering and downloading “Evening Flood” can be found by visiting the store at Mark’s website.

“This is one of those CD’s that once you put it in your CD player
you will not want to take it out!”
- Andy Ziehli, Americana Gazette
“My favorite record of the year
Evening Flood is phenomenal.”
- John Urban, Host of Urban Theater WISC-TV
“Great new album Mark!  I love it!”
- Gabby Parsons, 105.5 Triple-M FM
“Absolutely fantastic”
- Local Sounds Magazine

“Great version – Wonderful Voice”
- Peter Gabriel

Don’t forget to come out to the Annex tonight (5/4/11) for a showcase featuring the final 4 contestants of this season’s Project M. The show starts at 8pm and we’ll find out who the final three will be. You’ll also have the opportunity to buy CD’s and t-shirts from all of the contestants…and yes, I will have “Evening Flood” in tow!

Cheers,

Mark

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Posted by Mark Croft on April 27, 2011

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how glad I am that I don’t have to write a song this week.  The hardest thing about this competition is the weekly grinding out of another tune.  There have been some weeks that the songs practically wrote themselves and others, like this one, that I felt like I had to beat the song into submission.

My thought this week was that I really wanted to do something that was different from anything else I had done so far in this competition, and I decided to go ‘dark’.  Although many of you in the Madison audience will probably agree with my take on the Madison protests and budget bill issues, I know that some of you won’t.  This is just my take on the issue and I certainly don’t want to alienate any of you or create more of a divide between the people of this state, which I think is the much bigger issue at hand.  Sadly, I’ve heard of more than a few instances of people losing friends over this debate and find that very sad.  Regardless of how you feel or which side you take, none of this is worth losing friends over.  It might be a cliche, but in this instance it’s very true.  The more we fight amongst each other the weaker we all are.  Although this song was a tough one to write, I felt that I gave one of my strongest and most emotional performances of the competition.  I only wish that more of the judges would have noted that, and I hope it will be enough to get me into the top 3.

Next week the remaining four of us will be performing ‘un-judged’ at the Annex on Wenesday at 8pm.  I’m hoping the night goes quickly as I’ll most likely be leaving immediately following the showcase to drive overnight to play Muscle Shoals, AL and a festival in Dickson, TN.  I’m excited to heading south where the weather should be a little bit warmer!  Freakin’ April in Wisconsin!  Unfortunately this afternoon I’m heading further north to Wausau, FORTUNATELY I’ll be playing the very cool Malarkey’s Pub tonight at 9pm!

ALSO…This weekend I’ll be playing a solo show at Christy’s Landing on lovely Lake Waubesa at 830pm.  http://www.christyslanding.net

Hope to see you out!

MC

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Posted by Mark Croft on April 21, 2011

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What a great week of songs!  I finally got a chance this morning to sit and listen and was blown away by so many of the duets!  Great work everyone!

I’m glad that they liked my jingle and it was nice to win the week 4 challenge.  Wish I could’ve used the tickets and seen the Decemberists, but I was able to pass them on to a couple of big fans of theirs…hope they enjoyed the show:)

I had alot of fun working up “Picking It Up” with Keefe Klug last week.  He’s a talented guy and it was a blast working with him.  So cool to have all those previous Proj M contestants in as well.  I already knew a lot of them and it was great to get a chance to meet Mitch & Anna as well.

Keefe’s guitar part is sadly missing from the recording but I was really happy with the tune and our performance.  Doing a duet with another guy can be a challenge unless your singing about 2 cowboys that fall in love with each other:).  That being said, I’ll definitely be working this song into my repertoire!

I’m getting a little further with my song for the week 6 challenge.  There’s so many angles and different stories to tell about what happened in Madison over the past couple of months, so it’s been a good challenge to try to pick it apart.  I’m happy with my start though, and I’m looking forward to Monday.

I had a couple of people ask me for them, so here’s the lyrics for I and Keefe’s song “Picking It Up”.

“Picking It Up” – Mark Croft & Keefe Klug
I’ve definitely done it this time
I’ve gone and I’ve made my bed
But it’s as hard as a rock and I’m lying in shock
And hanging on by the thinnest of threads
I’ve been calling around but I still haven’t found
Anybody else that’ll help
It’s a shame and a sin that I can’t blame a thing
On anybody but myself

I must confess I’ve made a mess
I’ve fallen all to pieces
I’m on a phone with no dial tone
But still the tension on the line increases
I left too much slack it came crackin’ back
And it caught me when I was sleeping
So I must confess I’ve made a mess
But here you are baby now…you’re picking it up

I had the heaviest of burdens upon me
And I was struggling to keep it leashed
I took a line of credit but I’ll always regret it
Because I ‘m sure I’ve liberated a beast
I tried skipping town with the heat bearing down
And the sun shedding light on the scene
But they’d call it a theft just as soon as I left
And it’s about time I came clean

I must confess that I’ve made a mess
I’ve fallen all to pieces
I’m on a phone with no dial tone
But still the tension on the line increases
I planned a getaway but it got away from me
Now I’m stuck here weeping
So I must confess I’ve made a mess
and here you are baby now…you’re picking it up

You could’ve washed your hands of me
So many times before
And now you’re reaching one more time
To pick me off the floor

I must confess that I’ve made a mess
I’ve fallen all to pieces
I’m on a phone with no dial tone
But still the tension on the line increases
I left too much slack it came crackin’ back
And it caught me when I was sleeping
So I must confess I’ve made a mess
But here you are baby now…you’re picking it up

So I must confess that I’ve made a mess
I’ve fallen all to pieces (you’re picking it up)
I’m on a phone with no dial tone
But still the tension on the line increases (you’re picking it up)
I planned a getaway but it got away from me
Now I’m stuck here weeping (you’re picking it up)
So I must confess I’ve made a mess
and here you are baby now…you’re picking it up

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Posted by Mark Croft on April 15, 2011

Posted in: Uncategorized

Skunk Update:

I spent a Monday morning patching up the holes under the deck, as that’s where I suspected he was holding up.  After crawling around the deck for a while I got a good look underneath and noticed a sizable hole under the front porch.  The big tip off that it was Pepe’s home?…a black tuft of fur with a little white streak in it just outside the hole!  SO…after doing some research on the interwebs, I closed off all possible escape routes but left one gaping hole open for him to leave thru that night.  And then…I’m so freaking clever…I spread some flour around the escape hole to see if I could track the little guy leaving.  When I got home I made sure to check for little tracks.  Sadly the majority of the tracks seemed to be heading back under the porch.  Still, I closed up the hole and hoped the skunk had set off for the night.  Still no determination on whether the skunk is gone or not, but I’m trying a few different tactics that will hopefully let him know he is no longer welcome.  More updates to come…

I hope you all liked my jingle for last week’s Project M challenge.  I actually had an older jingle that Triple M’s been playing for a few years and when we got the jingle assignment I thought “Great, I have the week off!”  But in the end, I decided to see if I could write an even better one for the contest, and I’m glad I did.  I think it stood up well against the others, and it seemed like the judges dug it.

Congrats to Jason for winning the kid’s song challenge!  If someone wants to “accidentally” clip him in the parking lot that’d be okay with me:)   He’s had some great tunes and seems to be the man to beat at the moment.  Sad to say goodbye to Briana.  She’s a  talented songwriter and I’m always blown away by her voice.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing alot more about her in the future!

I’m pumped to be working on this week’s challenge with one of last year’s finalists on Project M, Mr. Keefe Klug.  I knew we’d be a good fit stylistically, and after getting together yesterday and working on our tune, I’m really excited about our performance on Monday!  Keefe’s a talented guy and I’m sure you’re going to like our song “Picking It Up.”

I’ve got a show coming up this weekend at the 5th Quarter in Verona on Saturday at 9pm.  With the weather we’re predicted to get this weekend, it’ll be a good alternative to staying inside your house all weekend!

Cheers,

MC

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Posted by Mark Croft on April 10, 2011

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It’s been such a long winter that today felt like salvation and hope had finally returned.  I was so glad to see that the last bit of snow outside the house…the remainder of the snowbank I’d been building in my frequent snow shoveling this winter…had finally, and completely, melted!  Goodbye winter!

So tonight I took a few moments to stand outside the house and get one last breath of the sweet smelling spring air.  My house is surrounded by big beautiful trees, so if you’re in the back yard like I was, it’s pretty dark.  There I was enjoying the last few moments of the day when I heard something moving between me and the house.  I was only about 5ft from the house so whatever it was must have been close.  Startled, I turned around and looked down. At first I didn’t see anything…then a noticed a white streak in the blackness on the ground not 3 feet from where I was standing.  I knew instantly what that white streak was… SKUNK!  I jumped back, and as I did that little white streak started hauling ass.  Not wanting to be within “butt-shot” of that little stink bomb, I peeled off in the other direction.  Amazingly, I escaped un-sprayed, though definitely freaked out.  I didn’t realize how close I’d come to getting juiced until I went back inside and discovered that that side of house wreaked of skunk…on the inside!  Evidently that little varmint did launch his “Sex Panther” musk in my direction, only to come up short.  Sorry Pepe, but you got served!

Evidently, I have a little bit of a skunk problem at my house, since this was NOT my first encounter this week.  After returning from my gig on Thursday night, I pulled into the driveway only to see a skunk running straight at the car!  He ducked into the sewer at the last second, narrowly avoiding a head on collision that would not have ended well for either of us.  So…it might be time to call Billy the Exterminator, as I’m pretty sure he’s living underneath my deck…the skunk I mean, not Billy.

Are these close encounters with my smelly little neighbors a sign from the Universe?  Some native American cultures believe encounters with animals such as these carry warnings.  If that’s the case, maybe my warning is “Don’t stink”.

Which takes us to this weeks challenge and the wrap up of my blog here today.  I’m putting the final touches on my jingle for the week 4 songwriting challenge, which I’m happy to say doesn’t stink.  The competition the last couple of weeks has been tough, and I’m definitely feeling like I’ve got to put my best foot forward on this week’s challenge.  But, the competition aside, taking part in Project M has been alot of fun so far and I’ve gotten to make some new friends and get back into songwriting mode.  All good things.

To close, I’d like to send a message out into the void…a warning to my little B&W friends living under the house;  “I’m coming for you!  No one tries to pee on Mark Croft and gets away with it!  NOBODY!”

Cheerio,

MC

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Posted by Mark Croft on March 31, 2011

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Ok, so I’m a little slow on the blooooggggggging this week.  Been a busy one…I’m finishing my taxes…er, starting them…W.A.P.I.T.A!  But, aside from my bright financial picture (please note sarcasm here), I’m excited to have won the first week’s challenge for my song “Captain Obvious” despite the tough competition!  So many great songwriters this season…keeping me on my toes!

I was glad to get the summer song out of the way and hope that “Summer Somewhere” spoke to some of you.  It was a pretty tough weather week to write a song about summer so I decided to write one about escaping winter to find summer instead.  Hope it played well with the judges…I think it did  I really appreciate the votes from those of you that took the time to give me some of your energy…always appreciated… and please keep it up!

I’m hoping that you’ll like what I come up with for the week 3 challenge as well.  I’m writing a children’s song based on the book “The Lion King”.  “Hakuna Matata!”  Wish that were playing out for me on this one!  I’ll get there eventually.

I’ve got a couple of shows this weekend to tell you about.  Friday 4/1 I’ll be playing in support of a very talented s/s, Julie Oehme, at Shank Hall in Milwaukee.  Then on Saturday 4/2 I’ll be at Baba’s in Sun Prairie playing for their grand opening celebration.  There’s more info at my website www.MarkCroftMusic.com in the gigs section.  Check it!

That’s all for now…will try to blog again this week…now back to my taxes.  Where’s that 1099 again?

Peace,

MC

PS>Anna Wang, who was voted off the show on Monday has a show coming up at the High Noon Saloon on Thursday, April 14th, with her band Anna Wang and the Oh Boys.  Hope I got that right.  I’ve heard great things about her group and i’m sure it’ll be alot of fun.  She’s got a great spirit and alot of talent!  Check it out!

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Posted by Mark Croft on March 23, 2011

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The new snow we got last night has me really psyched to write a song about summer.  Really…it does…really.  Ok, so summer seems a long way off right now but I’ve got some irons in the fire for the week 2 writing assignment….something about Pina Coladas maybe?…probably not.

Sorry JB Fans

Monday was alot of fun and I was glad to hear all the great songs from everyone after week 1.  Some really talented songwriters this year…hope I can include myself in there as well!  I was glad to play “Captain Obivous” and get that one out of the way.  I had fun writing it and was happy that I was not censored out of calling Kanye West a douche-bag.  I should apologize (though only half-heartedly) to the Justin Bieber fans out there…including my 6-year old who asked me “why does Justin Bieber suck?”  Apparently writing a funny song does not directly result in exemplary parenting.  I’ve tried so hard to push him in the direction of great music (bought him a Beatles CD for his birthday this year) and away from the Gagas and Biebers of the world.  Oh well, my first cassette (yes that’s a cassette tape for all ya’ll youngins out there) was “Kid’s Incorporated” and I turned out ok…right?

GIG ALERT!  Fellow contestant Ryan Mauer and I will be doing a show together this Friday, March 25th at the Club Tavern in Middleton.  Ryan Mauer and the Angry Fix will kick things off at 9pm and I and the band will close out the night starting around 10.  There’s no cover and should be tons-o-fun!

Zoiks!

Mark

P.S. Am I spelling Bieber correctly?  Or is it Beiber?  I’d look it up if I cared…

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Posted by Mark Croft on March 16, 2011

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What day is it today?  Tuesday, right?  Now I’m being told it’s Wednesday…from a fairly reliable source…I’m also being told I’m an idiot…less trusting of her authority there.  It seems like it has been a week since the first meeting for this year’s Project M, but I’ve been assured it’s only been two days.

It was great to meet all the contestants and all the folks involved with Project M reality show on Monday.  Having been given the contest rules and getting our pictures taken…and feeling like I should be doing the “I’m-going-crab-fishing-in-the-Bering-Sea-and-I’m-standing-here-with-my-arms-crossed-looking-tough” reality show pose…we were finally given our first songwriting assignment.

I didn’t quite understand when I first opened the CD case (in which our assignments were so creatively placed …shameless ’sucking up’ moment here), what the hell I was supposed to do with it.  But I quickly, and initially sadly, realized this was my assignment and that I would be going FIRST next week!  We were given a short phrase, pulled from the mind of Gabby Parsons, and asked to write a song using that phrase as the title.  Are you ready for mine?  Drum roll please…”CAPTAIN OBVIOUS”.  Thank you Ms.  Parsons…please note the heavy sarcasm here.  Admittedly I was a little freaked out having to write a song with this title, but after little contemplation on the car ride home, I realized it was do-able.  I spent the next couple hours crafting the tune and I’m happy…no…relieved to say that I pretty much finished it, Dick Clark and all.  I won’t say anymore about it here, other than that I’m excited to share the song next Monday.  Now I have to go learn 3 more Irish songs for St. Patty’s Day gigs.  Long day tomorrow.  3 gigs…starting at noon in Milwaukee and finishing up in Sun Prairie at 8pm at JB’s   Wish me luck…preferably in person. – Mark

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