Always wanted to play a musical instrument? Interested in the dobro? In recent memory, the dobro (resonator guitar) has evolved as one of the most in-demand instruments in a variety of musical genres, most notably: bluegrass, country, and folk, and the appearance of the dobro in recordings and live performances has increased dramatically over the past few decades. Like the lap steel, the dobro allows one to sustain notes for longer intervals, adding continual layers and texture with less concentrated effort.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based musician Mark Lavengood picked up the dobro in the mid-2000s and in the time since his introduction to the instrument has performed and instructed dobro on local, regional, national & international levels, winning the prestigious dobro competition at the renowned Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2012. In addition to Telluride, Mark has given workshops at notable festivals like Celtic Connections, World of Bluegrass at IBMA, Pagosa Folk and Bluegrass Festival, Wheatland Music Festival, Blissfest, and a laundry list of folk and roots music festivals of esteem.
In November of 2018, Lavengood recorded a series of instructional dobro modules for the beginning, intermediate, and advanced player, each accompanied by their own song to learn, as well as myriad video tutorials on technique, method, and style. The audio was recorded in the Bear Den (at Grand Haven's lauded Third Coast Recording Studio), while the video was recorded and edited by Sarah Ford of Surf Ford Productions (https://surffordproductions.com/ ) The instructional content is accessible via Lavengood's webstore at marklavengood.com, where interested parties can join his email list and follow musicwithmark.com for more free lessons or to schedule an intimate one-on-one dobro lessons with Mark. Dobro
Mark is endorsed by Beard Guitars, GHS Strings, and K & K Pickups, who recently named Mark their April 2019 artist of the month.
Everybody loves a story of the hometown kid who returns home to his roots - to the same streets and sidewalks that birthed him - giving back to a place, a community, a people and an idea that shares responsibility of where this grown-up success story came from. Yet again, this heartwarming tale proves true as West Michigan's most-huggable native son, Mark Lavengood, returns home to Lake Michigan's shore and Camp Blodgett, where he spent so many of his formative summers.
Each summer from 2004-2011, Mark spent June & July in West Olive, Michigan, picturesque home to Camp Blodgett, a source of hope, self-esteem, and inspiration for kids in Kent and Ottawa Counties. In that 7+ year period, Mark served in integral roles such as Camp Counselor & Head Counselor, and aided campers in various arenas as a member of the support staff. In the years since, Mark has performed a handful of times at the camp as a musician, entertaining campers & staff with an early namesake project, the Mark Lavengood Bluegrass Bonanza, and as a member of Lindsay Lou (formerly Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys).
However, for the summer of 2019, Mark Lavengood has been named the Music Ambassador for Camp Blodgett, a fitting honor for one of its favorite sons. Mark will be heading up the music-related programming at the camp, leading informative, instructive and interactive music workshops, as well as bringing in seasoned musicians from the area for guest workshops and intimate performances. Additionally, Mark will also be performing an acoustic set at the Sunday, June 2, 2019 for the season kickoff of Camp Blodgett's Acoustic Sunset Concert Series.
For more information on Camp Blodgett, head over to camp blodgett.org, and for more info and to interact with Mark, check him out live in concert, via social media outlets and his Patreon page, as well as the homebase for everything "Huggy Bear", mark lavengood.com.
Michigan singer-songwriter, educator, philanthropist, and jack-of-most trades Mark Lavengood is simply overjoyed to announce his recent partnership with and endorsement by the Can'd Aid Foundation! The Can'd Aid Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on' people-powered dogoodery' with its origins in Colorado's high elevations, began in 2013 as a direct response to historic flooding in the towns of Lyons and Longmont (homes of Oscar Blues Brewery, who have been integral to the campaign) . Since its inception, Can'd Aid has provided disaster relief, spawned recycling efforts, and donated clean water (to Flint and other communities in need), bicycles, and musical instruments to communities in dire need, not only restoring community, but building culture and togetherness in the affected areas, in addition to much other 'dogoodery'.
As part of their work, Can'd Aid has teamed up with a variety of gifted musicians from around the country deemed 'TUNES Ambassadors' to host one-of-a-kind interactive and intimate music workshops for underprivileged youth. Mark joins a all-star list of rising, nationally touring acts across myriad genres including: Trout Steak Revival, Mo Lowda & The Humble, Sunsquabi, and Steep Canyon Rangers.
"I couldn't be happier to be named a Tunes Ambassador for the Can'd Aid Foundation! Their much-needed work has benefited countless communities all across the country, (including Flint) and I'm truly honored to be a part of this. As an artist, you can't underestimate the joy that comes with being able to share your music and inspire others to create. I can't wait to see what we CAN do!" remarked Lavengood.
To date, the Can'd Aid Foundation has cleaned up 7 rivers around the country, built over 2,000 bicycles & donated over 1,000 musical instruments, planted over 6,000 trees, and donated over 1.25 million cans of clean drinking water as part of their mission. Go to marklavengood.com for updates on Mark's work with Can'd Aid, and check out candaid.org to learn more, get involved, and do some goodery for our communities and our planet.
A hidden gem of Southwest Grand Rapids, Dogtown Studio, the creative base of young creative and everything-man Robby Fischer, and a haven for affordable-yet-professional high-quality video and audio recording, recently played host to buzzworthy American Roots act, the Mark Lavengood Band.
The three-song session, featuring Justin Avdek (Earth Radio) on bass, Tom Wall (Cosmic Knot) on guitar, as well as Dutcher Snedekar (Blushing Monk, Earth Radio) and Nathan Coles (Black Swamp Conservancy) on piano & drums respectively, was recorded over a wintry afternoon in February, one of those blisteringly bitter snowy days where 10am, 2pm & 6pm were all impossible to differentiate. Two songs, "Sliding Rock" (an instrumental fast-picker's delight) and "In Transit" (a rollicking, juke joint-style blues diddy) were published March 12, via Dogtown Studio's YouTube account, whilst the star of the session, "A Woman Needs A Man" will be available exclusively via Mark Lavengood's Patreon page.
In recent history, Patreon has emerged as the go-to platform for artists to connect directly with their fans. It's one of the most straightforward ways (perhaps even moreso than purchasing a record) for people to support the artists they love, without the money-grubbing, sticky fingers of the middle man. "A Woman Needs A Man", a soulful tearjerker, the heartfelt frailty of Lavenood's vocals sewing a sweet honeyscape of sound with Wall & Avdek's vocal harmonies, is worthy of the repeat button, and can be found on Mark's Patreon page.
"A Woman Needs A Man", was written a decade prior by Ben Fidler of winter/sessions, a twinkle of a bluegrass supergroup, forever immortalized as the first band to perform at Founders Brewing Company's first-ever Founders Fest. Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys also recorded the song for their 2015 LP Ionia, which has to date, garnered nearly 100K listens via Spotify alone.
The surely soon-to-be-anointed Prince of Roots, Bluegrass and Americana, Mark Lavengood, released a new single Thursday, February 28, 2019, a spirited rendition of Bobby McFerrin’s classic happy-go-lucky tune, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Recorded at the “Bear Den” inside of lauded Grand Haven recording studio, Third Coast Recording (owned/operated by Bill Chrysler, known for his work with John Mayer, Maroon 5, and Christina Aguilera amongst others) & Joe Sturgill (of Four Finger Five fame), this is the first single dropped by Lavengood in 2019 as part of his ambitious aim to release one single per month for the remainder of the 2019 calendar year (in addition to constant touring and rumored video, LP & EP releases).
For tools of the trade, Lavengood employed his Beard Guitars wooden-body resonator (Dobro) & Mule Resophonics metal resonator guitars respectively, a custom acoustic Weissenborn slide guitar from Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Lazy River Guitars, as well as Ear Trumpet Labs' "Louise" model microphone. Chris Zuker & Jason Whalen of Grand Rapids’ Fauna Creative shot the accompanying 360 degree video from inside the Bear Den, which also serves as Bear Mark Productions' (Lavengood’s new artist-first boutique agency) official headquarters.
Lavengood’s re-imagining of McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” can be streamed at marklavengood.com, bearmarkproductions.com, at digital service providers like Spotify, Apple Music & Pandora, and is clickable at all of Mark’s social media outlets. For those looking to support Mark Lavengood’s many artistic, educational, and philanthropic projects, check him out live in your area, and consider support his Patreon account, where you can find loads of entertaining, original & organic content from Lavengood & friends throughout 2019.