Mark Insley was born in a rural Kansas farming community. He left home in high school, lived and worked in the mountains of New Mexico. Influenced during his formative years by large doses of everything from Jimi Hendrix to Buck Owens, Insley developed his own unique musical style and is one of those rare artists who actually live the life he sings about. Eventually he made his way to Southern California where, for nearly two decades, he was a mainstay in Los Angeles’ early alt-country and bluegrass circles.
During his west coast stay, he earned a reputation for his raucously entertaining live shows at local venues such as the legendary Palomino, as well as club and festival appearances around the country. His touring band at the time often included such stellar musicians as guitarist Tony Gilkyson (X, Lone Justice, Chuck E. Weiss) and bassist Taras Prodaniuk (Dwight Yokum, Lucinda Williams).
Insley founded Last Roundup, a Bluegrass trio, and made regular appearances at festivals around California from 1984 to 1989.
Next Insley formed a country dance band, Luke and the Drifters, and they ruled the Los Angeles Honk Tonk circuit, playing five nights a week all over southern California from 1990 through 1995.
In 1995, Insley landed his first record deal with Country-town music. His first album, Good Country Junk, was recorded at Dusty Wakeman’s Mad Dog Studio in Venice Beach California, and was released in 1997 to much critical praise.The album featured most of the same players who helped launch many west coast country greats, including Pete Anderson, Greg Leisz, and Alber Lee. Good Country Junk was lauded by country and rock critics alike, and helped to introduce Insley to a larger audience.
In 1998 Insley formed a conceptual performance art group known as Fester and Bile. Using only children’s toys as instruments, Fester and Bile perform nursery rhymes in Los Angeles rock clubs, leaving audiences stunned.
In 1999 Insley took time out from his own recording and touring schedule to produce the debut album for The Tatters; a trio of female singers.
In 2000 Insley signs a second recording deal, this time with Rustic Records in Phoenix Arizona, and records Tucson, an Americana gem that spends nine weeks inside the Americana music charts top ten. Tucson, which was co-produced by Insley and Paul Dugre, offers a much grittier sound than Insley’s first record, and features a host of Americana music greats, including Greg Leisz, Claire Muldare, Bob Glaub, Dave Alvin, Tony Gilkyson, and Rick Shea.
In 2003 Insley records Supermodel, the follow-up to Tucson. Once again the fertile ground of his imagination, more focused songwriting, and the continued support of his stellar band mates and producer, yield another top ten charting record, with the album drawing comparisons to The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers.
In 2004 Insley relocated from California to a ranch in the desert of Southern Arizona where he hosted his own outlaw country music showcase, Arizona’s Most Wanted. His guests have included Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jim Lauderdale, Chris Gaffney, Rosie Flores, Peter Anderson, Albert Lee , and many others.
Currently Insley is still living in the Arizona desert, where he has been thrilling local audiences while honing his songwriting craft and working on his highly anticipated fourth album.
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MARK INSLEY ARTICLES ON OTHER SITES
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