MARK DVORAK: WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD:A FAMILY FOLK SAMPLER
“One of a vanishing breed… Although all of us benefit from the tradition, Dvorak is one of the few who keep it alive. Listen. Join in.” – Utah Phillips
Mark Dvorak follows in the footsteps of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy and Art Thieme. What a Wonderful World, is a 22 song compilation assembled from over 16 years in the recording studio. Eleven of the tracks are from Dvorak’s 1995 award-winning CD Old Songs & New People, three are from 1996’s Just Something My Grandma Used to Sing, three from 2000’s Weavermania! LIVE and one track from Use It Up, Wear It Out released in 1992. All previously released material has been digitally remastered for this release and Dvorak has added four new tracks, recorded with The Sons of the Never Wrong, to the collection. The result is a 57 minute trip through Dvorak’s wonderful world where the breadth and beauty of American traditional music finds its rightful context in a variety of creative settings.
The list of musicians reads like a who’s who in Chicago folk music, with appearances from Michael Smith, Tom Dundee and Barbara Barrow, Rick Sherry from Devil in a Woodpile on blues harp, old-time fiddle master Steve Rosen and John Williams plays whistle and accordion.
Born in Chicago, Mark is the third of four sons raised in Cicero and LaGrange, IL. After High School, he tried out for a scouting division of baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals. In 1978, he took a day job in the shipping department of of a xylophone factory where he earned enough money to buy a Harmony guitar and take a 14,000 mile motorcycle trip around the U.S. A touring musician since 1981, his travels have led him to Okemah, Oklahoma, for research on Woody Guthrie; to Lead Belly’s grave near Mooringsport, LA; and back home to Chicago’s Maxwell Street with its living blues tradition. Dvorak’s “Streets of Old Chicago” CD led to a meeting with Frank Hamilton, co-founder of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, now of Atlanta: “Frank and I have become friends over the years and in many ways he remains a great mentor. Frank and I have played some concerts together, but mostly have fun jamming and talking about music; talking about learning and teaching.” Mark also credits Art Thieme and the late Fred Holstein for early encouragement. Now part of the faculty of the Old Town School of Folk Music, Dvorak has helped start several venues and concert series in the Chicago area. He performs at schools, libraries, and nursing homes and continues to teach. As part of “Weavermania”, since 1999, with Michael Smith, Barbara Barrow and Tom Dundee, he performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, where the group sang “Blowin’ In the Wind” with Peter Yarrow and jammed with Richard Thompson for 4,000 people. They swapped old Weaver arrangements with Pete Seeger at a Chicago concert in 2002.
When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin’ Along
My Daddy Flies That Ship In The Sky
I’m A Little Cookie
Put Your Finger In The Air
The Gray Goose
Jump Little Children
Little Pink Pig
God Bless The Grass
I’m My Own Grandpa
Square Dance Medley
Lay Down Little Dogies
On Top Of Old Smoky
This Land Is Your Land
She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round The Mountain
What A Wonderful World