ARTIST NAME: Mark Freshwater
SONG TITLE: Native Meditations
ALBUM TITLE: Native Connections
RELEASE DATE: June 2018
GENRE: New Age
Go into detail on why you decided to choose music as a career.
I grew up in a musical family; dad had a jazz combo that performed in our hometown. My mom was a pianist and piano teacher. Creating and performing original music is a second career that evolved after my retirement. I have been performing since I was a youth, including piano, choirs, glee clubs, folk bands, rock bands, Christian Praise Bands, Party band frontman, a duo act, and solo acts as a cover artist.
Brief us the feedback you are getting from fans on your music.
Many of the folks that are hearing my music and who know me from way back are surprised at both the type of music and the fact that I have come up with the creative energy to do this in my 60’s. The feedback I get from specific projects has been very positive and that my music is both relaxing and stimulating.
Discuss the relevance of social networking to music.
I have to admit that I have not done a very good job of taking advantage of the social media outlets that are available. I have found fans through Facebook and also through the Jango music channel. I am still finding that public performance is important. I have also garnered new followers from being involved as a director of a local piano society, which is a “non-internet” form of social engagement I suppose.
Tell us how you record your song.
Typically I will be at the grand piano or possibly my Yamaha electric when back in Ohio and an idea will come to me………it might be a melody in my head or a chord progression that I find interesting. I take that seed and then attempt to develop a song from it. Sometimes it works and many times it doesn’t (of course) in which case I end up having a “practice” session.
Tell us the story behind the song.
The history and plight of the Native Americans have always intrigued and disturbed me at the same time. The song “Native Meditations” was written to be very deep and reflective, therefore the slow movements. It is both contemplative and can be considered mournful.
State your musical skills.
I took classical lessons on piano for 6 years. I have been singing since I was a child and have been a member of a variety of performing groups where I was “frontman” and primary vocalist. I also took up guitar and bass for a number of years and played bass in a 5 man acoustical folk-rock group. The songwriting started back in the 1970s where I wrote perhaps a dozen rock songs. A few of these were performed while on the road in the mid-1970s until the band broke up in Dec 1975. The new songwriting started up again in 2012 upon the reunion of a college rock band.
Tell us how long it takes to complete a song from the start.
I have had some songs take as little as 2-3 hours to put together. There are others that I have taken weeks or months (and countless hours) refining. It just depends.
Discuss your music style.
My music is an amalgam of merging styles based on my background and interests in music. There are classical elements to many of my songs, but also pop, rock, and new age influences.
There are also a few songs where percussion and Latin influences prevail. And lastly, there are project songs that are very new age in the style in which they were created and recorded.
State your five favorite genres of music.
The music I listen to runs the gamut from jazz to pop to rock to American Songbook. The jazz and American Songbook stuff are what I grew up listening to. Pop and rock is a function of doing club work and learning songs that the public wanted to hear and see performed.
Discuss your rehearsal.
Since I am a solo artist (except for periodic jam sessions and specific add-ins of musicians, such as flutists), rehearsing requires some discipline and since I am only doing public performing about once a month, I find it important to spend at least a couple days a week at the keyboard.
State your favorite musical instruments.
The piano is number one……. the second favorite is probably bass, following by strings and flute. I believe these instruments add texture and influence mood.
Describe the chemistry between you and your fans during a live performance.
I typically try and tell the story behind the song (if it is one I have written). Fans tell me that they really appreciate the music more if they understand the context in which I was inspired to write it.
Discuss your personality in full detail.
People tell me I am open and gregarious. As I have aged, I am a bit more reserved but still consider myself very outgoing essentially. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who seem to “know it all” or who believe their values are right and others are wrong. I am an accepting person that basically likes to look for the good in people and tend to overlook people’s faults (of which we all have them).
Discuss your music career.
I was a full-time career musician for only a period of about 4-5 years and I found it difficult to survive. I enjoyed the music but did not enjoy traveling every week to different towns and clubs to perform. I established myself with a career in insurance which allowed me to do music as an avocation for some 40 years. (Party bands, praise bands, etc.).
List your musical work.
Other than a handful of rock songs in the 1970s my original works consist of 7 CD/album projects (approx. 100 songs) and I am currently in the process of producing my 8th album. I also have 18 songs for which sheet music is compiled into a book (“Songbook”). A second songbook project (7 songs) is in the work, all of these will be published this year (2019) under the title of “Inspirations.”
Share your memorable experiences with us.
Many musical performance memories – singing at the Washington Cathedral………singing on TV shows with Glee Clubs. Performances at many venues and especially as a “House Band” musician for a couple of years in Columbus, Ohio. These are just some.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Album Review: Native Connections
2018 / Mark Freshwater
Review by Kathy Parsons
Native Connections is the seventh album from Arizona pianist/ keyboardist/composer Mark Freshwater.
Nine of the twelve tracks were compiled from Mark’s first five albums and are based on Native American or spiritual themes.
Two of the pieces from previous albums were remastered for this collection.
The son of a piano teacher and a professional trombonist, Freshwater started taking classical piano lessons at the age of five and has been musically active ever since.
From rock bands, praise bands, and church choirs to fronting a “weekend horn and party band,” Freshwater has had a very eclectic music career.
He stopped composing music for almost forty years until his muse and inspiration returned in 2012.
He released his first solo project, Nuevo Piano in 2013 and has released at least one new album each year since then.
Native Connections begins with “Talisman,” a haunting piece from Freshwater’s 2015 release, Legacies, and one of my favorites from that album. Dark and mysterious, it is played on piano and keyboard with some ambient effects.
“Pilgrims Winter,” from 2016’s The Diary, was a favorite on that album, too. You can almost feel an icy wind blowing off this piece! The steady cadence of the piano rhythm combined with a simple piano melody, droning cello, and acoustic guitar cry for the hardships the early settlers had to deal with.
“Native Meditations” from Trees of Life (2014) tells a beautiful but poignant story with piano and keyboard instrumentation.
“Petroglyphs” utilizes a strong percussive rhythm along with flute and piano to suggest being transported back in time.
“Mandalas” is a new arrangement of an older piece and features piano, bass guitar, and flute – hypnotic!
“Poison Arrows” is one of the three new pieces and begins with choral voices and tambourine. The music becomes very intense as it develops, adding more instrumentation and bolder voices to the piano and cello (or bass) that play throughout. Very cinematic and powerful, I really like this one!
“Warriors March” is also new. Very slow and solemn, this is no victory march. Feelings of loss, tragedy, and defeat run through the mournful piece. Orchestrated with piano, strings, percussion, and keyboard, it’s beautiful but very sad.
“Solace” is soothing, but also expresses feelings of loss and sadness.
“Progress of Man” elevates the mood considerably with its driving beat and lively rhythms. Electronic effects add to the spirited fun of this one from Biosphere (2013).
“Amerind Elegy” is a newly-remastered version of an earlier Elegy with some very effective additions to the instrumentation – graceful and deeply heartfelt.
The closing track, “Spirit Rising,” is also new. Piano, keyboard instrumentation, and ambient effects combine to create a piece that is dark and funereal at the beginning, but ends on the hopeful, ethereal side as the spirit breaks its earthly bonds and soars heavenward.
Native Connections is quite an interesting retrospective of Mark Freshwater’s work of the past six years and is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby.
October 29, 2018
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
As a solo artist, I perform and record under my own name Mark Freshwater. The name is English in origin but many folks (wrongly) assume it might have a Native American connection due to the sound of it.