Published on July 19th, 2013 | by TLV News0
Memorial for J.D. Mark is Saturday, July 20 from 1-4 pm at The Blind Pig
by Amy Gibson, with Scott Barretta
From The Local Voice #184
Local musician J.D. Mark died in Detroit on July 11, 2013 from natural causes. He was just 43, and was buried this past Tuesday after a Mass of Christian burial at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in his hometown of Flint, Michigan.
Mark was born on March 18, 1970, and began playing guitar in his youth; he also became proficient on bass, keyboards and drums. After graduating from the University of Michigan School of Fine Arts he moved in 1992 to New Orleans, where he began his long and varied musical career, which included writing about music, production work and playing bluegrass, country, gospel, punk, rockabilly, electronica and blues. In the late ‘90s, while living in Madison, Wisconsin, he worked as an engineer on the radio show of Bill C. Malone, the premier scholar of country music, with whom Mark also performed.
Mark moved in 1999 to Oxford, where he played with the rockabilly group The Belvederes, soul band (Herbert) Wiley & The Checkmates, the Gina Sexton-fronted retro pop group Carroll County Picture Show, and, most recently, The Cowboy Killers, a country group that included Jake Fussell, Tyler Keith and George Sheldon. Together with Craig “Sweet Dog” Pickering he operated Pickmark Records, which issued a single and a CD by Wiley & the Checkmates, a single by Carroll County Picture Show, and an LP by The Dexateens. His work as an engineer included the most recent LP by Tyler Keith & The Apostles, Black Highway.
Over the last decade he also played regularly with the New Orleans-based Michael Hurtt & His Haunted Hearts, a group whose repertoire included swamp pop, rockabilly and covers of songs from the Detroit area’s rich but underexplored post-WWII country scene. With the Haunted Hearts and The Checkmates Mark backed many legendary rockabilly, soul and swamp pop artists at the annual Ponderosa Stomp Festival including Harvey Scales, Ralph “Soul” Jackson, Herman Hitson, Roscoe Robinson, Bobby Patterson, Alex Chilton, Jay Chevalier, Grace Broussard, Joe Clay, Warren Storm, Maggie Lewis, Jivin’ Gene, Johnnie Allan, Earl Stanley, Eddie Powers, and Frankie Ford.
Mark’s proficiency on multiple instruments, deep study of various musics, professionalism, and good nature made him desirable as a sideman, and he worked with a diverse array of artists including traditional blues artist Precious Bryant, gospel-bluesman Rev. John Wilkins, and garage band artists The Royal Pendletons, Jeffrey Evans, and Jack Oblivian & The Tennessee Tearjerkers, with whom Mark toured Europe. His most prominent platform was a one-year stint on tour with the popular New York City-based electronica group LCD Soundsystem, which whom Mark appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.
During his extensive travels, including his “day job” on the road for Oxford-based Preusser Research Group, Mark continually sought out his appreciation for music and art, always seeking out museums, record and book stores, vintage clothes stores, art galleries and concerts. His record collecting interests were deep and varied, and he was a voracious reader of books on the arts and political movements.
Mark is survived by his parents Dale Mark and Eva (Dan) Kryglowski, brother Christopher Mark (fiancé Tonya Horvath), former wife Amy Gibson (Mark), and special friend Lucinda Corbin. He leaves to cherish his memory all the Lewandowski family aunts, uncles and cousins and the Mark family uncles, aunts and cousins. Jim had many friends throughout the world whom he met through his music career, and his gentle soul, sense of humor and infectious passion for music will be greatly missed.
A memorial service for J.D. will take place at The Blind Pig in Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday, July 20, 2013 from 1-4 pm.