Mark Hodges shows his generous side

Mark HodgesAnyone who has had dealings with Mountain Fever Records knows label head Mark Hodges to be a jovial fellow. A bear of a man, Mark is always quick with a quip, or a self-deprecating comment, and when he laughs you have no choice but to laugh along.

We got this note from Dean Wood, a bluegrass picker and fan who lives not far from where Mountain Fever is located in Willis, VA. He shared a heartwarming story about a losing a friend who loved to sing, and how Mark played a part in preserving his legacy.

“I want to brag on Mountain Fever Studio. Seems like they keep one of their productions in the top 5 rankings. Mark Hodges knows how to put together a great CD.

I could brag on about Mark and his studio staff, but there is something about him that I want you to know.

Mark has a kind and generous heart to go along with that bluegrass recording gift of his. Please allow me to explain:

Butch TannerThere was a gentleman that lived about 45 minutes from Mountain Fever Studio. Butch Tanner was his name. He was diagnosed with cancer about 3 years ago. Butch grew up with a gift of singing, and sang in honky tonks up around West Virginia growing up. Then when he got older he started singing Gospel music.

Butch recruited a bunch of us guys in the neighborhood that had instruments to come over and play at his house this past Winter. Butch would sing to our playing and we had the best time. One time Butch mentioned that he has always wanted to record a CD to leave behind for family and grandkids to remember him by.

We had never recorded anything and didnt know were to start. We all were so close to Butch, that we wanted to carry out his wish, even though we didnt think our playing matched his great singing. It was something that he wanted, and that is all we needed to hear.

Jammin' with Butch TannerWe knew there was a recording studio in Willis, but we didnt know the name of it. We looked it up and called Mark. We told Mark what we wanted and he said that he would do it, but he would be donating his time and the use of the studio. He even got us in as soon as he could due to Butch’s condition.

We went in one night and laid down the music. We needed Butch to come and put his vocals on it. Butch’s health went downhill fast and we didnt think he was going to be able to pull it off. He had a couple good days and was able to get up there and put the vocals on the CD.

Butch died less than a week later.

I could go on and on with this story. The main thing I want you guys to know is that Mark Hodges may do well with his recordings, but what he did for our friend meant the world to us and his family. It ranks higher than any #1 album.

It is not everyday that you run into someone like Mark. Please give him a shout out and recognize him for his generosity.”

And so we did. Thanks for sharing this story, Dean.

And hats off to Mark Hodges and Mountain Fever!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.