Native Pine Bluffian Mark Edgar Stuart has become one of the mainstays of the Memphis music scene, playing live or recording with dozens upon dozens of folks. You would be hard pressed to find a working Memphis musician who has not played with Stuart at one time or another. You’d be even harder pressed to find one with an ill word for Stuart or his talents. Over on this side of the river he is best known for his work playing bass with The Pawtuckets and then as one of the One Four Fives, backing Tennessee Telecaster wizard John Paul Keith. He has, at one time or another, graced the stages of the majority of the music venues in Little Rock. In 2003 he appeared with Cory Branan on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
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Until now, the entirety of his impressive resume has been backing others with his bass… and why not? Stuart is, after all, a classically trained upright bass player, starting in the orchestra program in the Pine Bluff school system earning a music scholarship at what is now the University of Memphis. In early to mid-2010, during a bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the resulting chemotherapy, Stuart started writing songs. He recently told me that he “never wanted to be a songwriter, but I was bored and need something to do. It was something I could do while I was stuck at the house.” Stuart eventually pulled through the illness, but then lost his father to a heart attack.
Fast forward to this week and Stuart’s first solo album, “Blues for Lou,” just dropped on Madjack Records, a label that is no stranger to Memphians with Arkansas connections, having released early recordings from Lucero and Branan, who lived in Fayetteville for a spell.
More after the jump.