By SERINA MARSHALL
Personal editor [email protected]
Although he was born in the foothills of eastern Tennessee, musician Mark Larkins has always had a love for the ocean, and he decided to take that connection and turn it into something more.
A Tri-Cities local, Larkins, who has recently performed several times for the Jonesborough community, including at the Tennessee Hills Distillery and the Jonesborough Barrel House, has released several CDs, including “Feet in the Sand”, which s sold out during its first release in 2009. The project was re-released in July 2022, with the addition of two songs that weren’t on the original.
Before selling out albums and moving to East Tennessee, Larkins lived in a quiet California suburb, where he made his first guitar from scrap wood and started playing guitar. at a very young age. This action, he said, would help him expand his musical horizons from the coastline to the mountain range.
“(While I was in California) I spent a lot of time at the beach,” Larkins said. “I loved beach music and started playing with it. When my dad saw the possibilities, he signed me up for guitar and voice lessons.
Larkins said that after a while he decided to form his own garage band and it went pretty well.
“I’ve also played with several established bands and played guitar for some really big country artists who toured in the 70s,” he said. “They were coming to Kingsport and needed a band for the night, and me and some of my peers would be the band that night. It was fun. I did some fair acts for big names that needed a band for the night for some reason, and we would just have a crash rehearsal for a short time.
After performing on stage with various bands, Larkins said he went back to his own thing and formed another band called “Tangent”.
“I was in my late twenties and it was my first professional rock band. It went pretty well,” he said. lead singer, and we toured the southeast. We had guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, sound and lighting; I was quite proud of it. We all came in and made it into a real business.
While it was a lot of fun, Larkins admitted it was also a lot of work.
“I had to manage it and be the leader, it cost me dearly,” he explained. “That’s when I broke up with it. The band continued for another year, but I left on good terms as they brought in someone to take my place. That’s when I went to the countryside.
Larkins started out in country and ended up having a few successful country bands.
“We had a nice country vibe, we even had a violin. And it went very well for six or seven years,” he said. “And then from there I put out a CD, ‘All or Not at All’ which won awards and decided to go in a whole different direction.”
With one reporter calling it “A new wave. A New Mark,” Larkins began his solo career with beach music.
“It had a tropical feel and sound and it seemed to be less stressful,” he explained. “Even though I was doing the whole show (by myself), I didn’t have other (band members) to manage to make sure they showed up on time, which also helped reduce the stress. And with the solo, just like a quarterback, you get all the praise, but you also get all the blame.
According to Larkin, the aptly titled CD is now known as “The Sound of Summer All Year Long”, a catchphrase coined by his daughters, Courtney and Chelsea, and encapsulates Larkins’ philosophy of life.
For more information, please visit the website at www.marklarkins.com.