Episode 87: Mark Spencer of Son Volt
Air date: 8.7.2013
The life of a musician is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. Be in the lobby at 9am or you will be left behind - so you can wait for the bus - on which you will sit for the next 8 hours as you drive from state to state, town to town and gig to gig. Mark Spencer is the kind of musician who knows this mantra all too well. He has been a professional musician for most of his adult life, starting out as member of alt-country pioneers The Blood Oranges before joining Uncle Tupelo founder Jay Farrar's solo tours, a gig that eventually evolved into his present job as a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist for Son Volt. There have been a lot more gigs along the way, in the studio and onstage with artists like Lisa Loeb, Freedy Johnston, Jim Lauderdale, Wanda Jackson and a host of others. He produces artists out of his Brooklyn studio, The Tape Kitchen, and can be found on the road this year touring to promote Son Volt's latest album "Honky Tonk." Spencer also recorded "Honky Tonk" in Son Volt's hometown of St. Louis - as well as in his studio - and also learned how to play the pedal steel guitar to ensure the album stayed true to Farrar's goal to pay homage to the Bakersfield style of country music. I had a chance to catch up with Spencer after a Son Volt soundcheck at The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California as the band was wrapping up the Southwest leg of the Honky Tonk Tour.