Many bluegrass lovers recognize Mark Schatz as a prolific and highly sought after bass man, having been an integral part of The Tony Rice Unit, a member of The Bluegrass Album Band, and for having toured and recorded with B???la Fleck, Jerry Douglas and Nickel Creek. Fewer, perhaps, know him as a clever and inventive clawhammer banjo player, which he is every bit as much as a bassist. It is Mark’s banjo work that is the focus of his upcoming solo release, Steppin’ in the Boiler House, due on April 11 from Rounder Records.
Mark started work on this project several years ago, but it fell by the wayside (in a manner of speaking) when he got the call to go out with Nickel Creek in 2003. Now completed, the CD was co-produced by Schatz and Fleck, and features such stellar guest musicians as Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien, and B???la Fleck, complementing the core band of Schatz, Casey Driessen, Jim Hurst, and Missy Raines. The tracks feature energetic old time music, primarily of his composition, with Mark on banjo – and a bit of flatfooting just for fun.
There are no audio samples up yet on the Rounder site, but Mark has put together a MP3 medley previewing six of the tracks from the CD, which can be found on his web site (scroll down for the audio link).