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Mark Allan Atwood
Episode 30

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    My Story

    "You see, what had happened was..."

    I'm from Ennis, Texas. The Neel and Getzendaner sides of my family helped settled Ellis County, and the Templetons and Atwoods were in Ennis before it was a town. Given the lofty expectations that came along with that, I gotta say I reckon I've been somewhat of a disappointment. Fast forward to the summer of 1980, when you could find me at a few different songwriter haunts in the Lower Greenville area of Dallas, watching, learning, listening, and playing my own compositions (which frankly weren't that great back then), and zeroing in on what I wanted my life's work to be, without a clue how to make that happen. I'm still kinda clueless about how to do that, honestly. At that time it was called folk music, because that was the catch-all genre before "Americana" was invented. 


    I spent the next seven years doing this type of thing, as well as serving as a sideman, rhythm guitarist/ background vocalist in a number of country bands, and fronting one of my own. I learned lessons from every one of those experiences; some of them good, all of them necessary. In 1987 I was recruited to sing "hair metal," though that ain't what we called it then, by a band my brother was playing drums for. Over the next 10 years I fronted two successful, fun bands during the halcyon days of the Dallas Metal Scene, paled around with those Abbott boys, and Dave Williams, (RIP to all three), opened for many of the platinum selling artists of the genre across Texas, and was certain I was gonna be a rockstar. I was wrong, obviously, but I sure had a lot of fun. And I'm still around to talk about it, so there's that. In 1999 I took a job in the Texas Hill Country in a small town where I knew no one, to get my then 3-yr old out of the gang infested area of DFW we were living in, to give her a "hometown" to grow up in, and to heal from a busted marriage. Music got placed on the back burner for the next several years, though you could find me on a stage in Austin now and then singing a couple of tunes with a friend's band, or shamelessly showing off at local karaoke, or showing up somewhere in the Hill Country with a guitar hoping to sit in here and there. I was doing what I thought I was supposed to. Music was replaced by various hobbies and bad habits.

    In 2006 I started actively writing songs again, and in 2008 I walked into Timbre Lodge Studios and began work on my first, full-length record under my own name, titled How Country, which was released in late 2009. That album brought me lifelong music family relationships that hold up to this day, and garnered me the 2010 Texas Music Award for Rising Star of the Year (a title that my mom enjoyed ribbing me about at my advanced age, compared to the normally more youthful artists that award was given to). In 2011, my friend and co-writer Heath Childs and I released Atwood-Childs Trading Pains, also recorded at Timbre Lodge, a dark 14-song acoustic record of songs just like you'd expect to find, judging by the title. Notably, it included the first versions ever released of Dead Man, Anyone Listening and Home (later recorded by Brimstone), and crowd favorite Grace And Whiskey (penned by Heath). In 2012 and 2013, as Mark Allan Atwood & Brimstone, I released Burned At The Crossroads and Alive & Well, respectively, which were both recorded at Dave Perceful's famous Yellow Dog Studios, under the masterful production hand of Adam Odor. In 2013 I received the TMA for Male Vocalist of the Year (because Dave Fenley didn't make a record the year before - he'd won three years in a row, and rightly so), and in 2014 we were named Live Band of the Year (Alive & Well was a half studio/half live album). 


    I moved from Fort Worth to South Padre Island in the first week of 2016, and immediately took up what turned into a 6-year residency at a bayside bar. In the 6.5 years since I've played over 1,000 shows on the island and by even a low guess

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