2017

"I Didn't Come This Far (To Only Come This Far)", a song from Mark's upcoming new CD, received Honorable Mention in the July/August edition of American Songwriter magazine's lyric contest.  This is the twelfth award Mark has received from American Songwriter.  Details at www.americansongwriter.com


"Leonard Cohen Christmas" received an "Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting" award as a top five selection in this year's Great American Song Contest, the 25th song of Mark's to receive an award in this contest.  Details at www.greatamericansong.com

Local singer-songwriter Greg Klyma recently covered "When Vernon Moved From Tupelo" at one of his great "Americana Sunday" shows at Thunder Road in Somerville.  Here's a clip of Greg playing the song: https://youtu.be/ZbnRyEA_LDk

"Leonard Cohen Christmas" was number 3 on the national Folk-DJ radio airplay chart for the month of December.  This is Mark's third top 10 song on the folk airplay chart.  Details at http://www.folkradio.org


2016

Lots of exciting events and honors in 2016, and work continues apace on Mark's upcoming CD!

NEWSFLASH:
For the eighth time in the last eleven years Mark has been selected as a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition. Details at www.songwriting.net

NEWSFLASH:
Mark's song "Cold Blood" is discussed in detail in the chapter on narrative songs in the fine new book on songwriting by local singer-songwriter Jane Fallon, "Beyond Reason: Songwriting on Purpose".  For more info go to
www.townforestbooksandmusic.com

NEWSFLASH: Mark has recorded a new original holiday song that is going to be included on an upcoming sampler provided to Folk Radio by Hudson Harding radio promotions. Through the incredible efforts of the amazing Christine Lavin, a video of the song is featured in Gene Weingarten's column in the Washington Post online.  Gene calls the song "wonderful".  Check it out at https://live.washingtonpost.com/gene-weingarten-20161101.html. Or to access the video directly, go to:
https://vimeo.com/189841930

NEWSFLASH:
A video of the entire Mighty Sam McClain tribute concert from last November has been posted and can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KODpwwNxMP8.  Check out Mark's song over the closing credits . . .

NEWSFLASH: "
Making Guns", a new song of Mark's, received an "Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting" award as a top five selection in this year's Great American Song Contest.  Mark was also named a finalist in the country and specialty categories.  Mark has now had a grand total of 24 different songs receive awards in this contest over the years.  Details at www.greatamericansong.com


2015

Another great year -- Some really cool shows and honors.  And Mark also began work on a new CD --

NEWSFLASH:
On November 28, a tribute concert was held at the Regent Theatre in Arlington for legendary soul/blues singer Mighty Sam McClain, who passed away in June.  The concert featured Mighty Sam's band and an array of incredible blues and roots performers from the local scene and beyond, with all proceeds going to benefit the homeless.  Mark had written and recorded a song about Mighty Sam that appeared on Mark's 2006 album There Goes The Neighborhood, and was deeply honored to be asked to play at the tribute concert.  Unfortunately a scheduling conflict prevented Mark from being able to perform, but his song was played at the close of the evening.  A wonderful review of the event can be found at www.suzereviewstheblues.com    

NEWSFLASH:
"Excuse Me For Living", a new song of Mark's, was named a finalist in this years USA Songwriting Competition, the seventh time in the last ten years Mark has been selected as a finalist.  Details at www.songwriting.net

NEWSFLASH: "
Memory Museum" was a finalist in this year's UK Songwriting Contest. This is the first time Mark has been selected as a finalist in this contest, to go with three semi-final awards.  Details at www.songwritingcontest.uk


NEWSFLASH: For the fifth time, Mark was named a semi-finalist in the Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest. "Liquor Don't Lie" was selected in the Americana/Folk/Bluegrass category.  Details at www.dallassongwrtiters.com

NEWSFLASH:
Mark has been selected as a finalist in the Connecticut Folk Festival's Grassy Hill Songwriting Competition, and will be performing in the finals at the festival on September 12.  Details at www.ctfolk.com

NEWSFLASH:
For the second year in a row, Mark received four awards in this year's Great American Song Contest.  "Rottweilers, Pitbulls & Dobermans" (a new song of Mark's) was a Top 5 selection, and "Damaged Goods" (another new song), "Cowboy Dreams" and "Vicarious" were finalists in, respectively, the Lyric Writing, Folk/Americana and Specialty Categories.  Details at  www.greatamericansong.com

NEWSFLASH:
For the fourth time, Mark was named a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.  Details at www.songwritingcompetition.com

NEWSFLASH: 
The fabulous Christine Lavin posted a wonderful review of "The Story Behind The Story" on her Facebook page.  She called it "a rarity - an album where every song is an A+".  See more on the Reviews page or check out the complete review at Christine's page.


2014

Lots of good stuff in 2014 -- Some great shows, accolades and awards.  Looking forward to 2015!

NEWSFLASH:
Mark received Honorable Mention in this year's Telluride Troubadour Competition.  This was quite an honor as the Finalists and other Honorable Mention selectees comprise a very impressive list of fantastic songwriters and performers.  Details at www.bluegrass.com/telluride/contests

NEWSFLASH:
For the third time, Mark has been named a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.  Details at www.songwritingcompetition.com

NEWSFLASH:
"When Vernon Moved From Tupelo" received Honorable Mention in the May/June edition of American Songwriter magazine's lyric contest, the eleventh time Mark has been honored by American Songwriter.  Details at  www.americansongwriter.com

NEWSFLASH:
Mark had a record haul of awards in this year's Great American Song Contest, as he received First Prize for the second year in a row (and third time overall), this time for "Memory Museum". This is the first time in the history of the contest that the same songwriter has received First Prize in back to back years.  Also, "Beer View Mirror" was a top 5 finalist in the Folk/Americana category, making Mark the only songwriter in this year's contest to have two top 5 songs.  And "Singer-Songwriter Hell" and  "They're Not Making Love Like That Anymore" were also selected as finalists, making Mark the only songwriter in this year's contest to receive four awards.  Details at www.greatamericansong.com
 
NEWSFLASH: "
Memory Museum" was a semi-finalist in this year's International Songwriting Competition.  This is the third time in the last five years that Mark has been named an ISC semi-finalist.   Details at www.songwritingcompetition.com
 
NEWSFLASH:
Mark appears on the cover of the January 2014 issue of Metronome magazine.  The issue features a lengthy interview with Mark, and some very flattering comments from publisher/editor Brian Owens, who calls The Story Behind The Story "one of the finest recordings you'll hear from any artist locally or nationally".

NEWSFLASH: "
The Story Behind The Story" was number 14 on WMBR's "Weekly Rock Report" for the week of January 11, and the top folk album on the chart.  Details at http://wmbr.mit.edu/cgi-bin/track?d=20140111&g=Rock

NEWSFLASH:
"The Story Behind The Story" was selected one of the best CDs of 2013 by Roots/Americana DJ Colin Fielding, Paul Porzio of Radio Fairfax, and Michael Stock of WLRN in Miami.

NEWSFLASH:
Mark's song "Santa Drank The Whole Damn Bar", featured on the holiday compilation CD "Hudson Harding Sampler Vol. 8: Happy Holidays", was the number 3 most played song on national folk radio for the month of December.  Details at http://www.folkradio.org


2013

A stellar year for Mark, with the phenomenal reception to "The Story Behind The Story" (great reviews, several "best of 2013" selections, two top 10 songs on the national folk chart, Passim campfire, several songwriting awards, etc.)   2014 will kick off with a bang with the CD's official release party at Passim.

NEWSFLASH:
For the sixth time in the last eight years, Mark was named a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition.  Details at www.songwriting.net

NEWSFLASH:
"The Story Behind The Story" received a very nice review in the November issue of Metronome magazine, which selected the CD as one of its Top 5 picks for the month.  (See Reviews page for more details).

NEWSFLASH:
"The Story Behind The Story" was the number 13 album for the month of September on the national Freeform American Roots radio airplay chart.  Americana DJ Colin Fielding selected the CD as his Album of the Month.  Details at http://tcmnradio.com/far/

NEWSFLASH:
"The Story Behind The Story" was the number 17 album for the month of September on the national "Folk-DJ" radio airplay chart.  "You Either Get It Or You Don't" was the number 10 most played song.  Details at http://www.folkradio.org

NEWSFLASH:
Mark has been selected to perform at this year's Downtown Key Largo Songfest over Columbus Day weekend, along with some amazing songwriters, including
Lisa Carver (who has had songs recorded by Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire and Sugarland), Mark Stephen Jones (cuts by Toby Keith and Jake Owen), Jon Nite (Dierks Bentley and Blake Shelton), Bud Tower (Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr.), and acclaimed Nashville by-way-of Brooklyn songwriter Ben de la Cour, with whom Mark will share a bill Friday and Saturday night.  See Gig page for details.

NEWSFLASH:
"Cold Blood": and "Memory Museum" were both selected as semi-finalists in this years Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest (Folk/Americana category). Mark was the only songwriter in the category to have two songs selected. Details at   http://dsasongcontest.blogspot.com

NEWSFLASH: At long last, Mark's new CD "The Story Behind The Story" is here!!! The CD, coproduced with Seth Connelly, features 12 new songs and backing from some amazing musicians, including Mark Erelli, Danielle Miraglia, and Jenee Halstead.  The CD is available at CD Baby (<http://cdbaby.com/cd/markstepakoff2) and can also be downloaded on ITunes.  An official CD release celebration show will be held in January at Club Passim, in a split bill with the wonderful Susan Levine.  Susan and Mark, along with Rob Laurens and Doug Kwartler, will also play in the round at the Passim Campfire over Labor Day weekend.  Check the Gig schedule for details.

NEWSFLASH:
Mark won two(!) First Prizes at the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival songwriting contest.  "When Vernon Moved From Tupelo" took First Prize in the folk category, while "Cold Blood"  was named the winner in the lyrics category.  This was a fantastic event featuring some very fine songwriters, so it was very gratifying to receive this recognition.

NEWSFLASH: "
Pretty Damn Blue" was named a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest.  Details at www.songwritingcontest.uk


NEWSFLASH: Mark has been selected as a finalist in the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival's songwriting contest, and will be performing in the finals in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on August 17.  Details at www.smswf.com 

NEWSFLASH: The accolades for "Cold Blood" keep on coming, as it was just named runner-up in the Nashville Songwriters Association international (NSAI) Song Contest. This contest had a total of two winners and ten runner-ups, meaning that the song placed in the top 12 of approximately 2000 entries in this contest, sponsored by what is probably the world's best known and most highly regarded songwriters trade association.  The song will be included on an upcoming compilation CD featuring these twelve winning selections.

NEWSFLASH:
"Cold Blood" was awarded 1st Prize in this year's Great American Song Contest. This is the second time Mark has won 1st Prize in this contest.  Mark also received an "Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting" award in the Folk/Americana category, while "Pretty Damn Blue" was also select as a finalist.  Details at www.greatamericansong.com

NEWSFLASH:
Mark's new song "Memory Museum" won Honorable Mention in the May/June edition of American Songwriter magazine's lyric contest, the second straight issue in which Mark won an award and the tenth time overall Mark has been recognized in American Songwriter.  Details at  www.americansongwriter.com

NEWSFLASH:
"They're Not Making Love Like That Anymore", a new song of Mark's, recieved Honorable Mention in the March/April edition of American Songwriter magazine's lyric contest, the ninth time Mark has been honored by American Songwriter.  Details at www.americansongwriter.com

2012

2012 was another great year, with Mark winning American Songwriter magazine's first prize for the second time and being selected as a finalist in the USA Songwriting Contest for the fifth time, among a number of other honors.  Mark also did extensive recording in 2012 for his new album, to be released in 2013.

NEWSFLASH:
Mark was selected as a semi-finalist in this year's UK Songwriting Contest (Acoustic & Folk Category).  Details at http://www.musicaid.org/cgi-bin/ukscresultscgi.cgi

NEWSFLASH:
For the fifth time in the last seven years, Mark was named a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition.  Details at www.songwriting.net

NEWSFLASH:
Mark was named one of four winners of the New Orleans Songwriters Festival Songwriting Contest.  Details at
http://www.nosongfest.com/song-contest

NEWSFLASH: For the third consecutive year, Mark has received honorable mention for the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase.   Hopefully Mark is not turning into the Susan Lucci of folk music . . .  But the honorable mention selectees (not to mention the ten finalists) include some of the finest singer-songwriters around, and it is quite an honor to be placed in their company.  Details at www.bluegrass.com/folks/contests    

NEWSFLASH:
"Cold Blood" was awarded First Prize in American Songwriter magazine's July/August lyric contest.  The issue includes an interview with Mark.  This is the second time Mark has won First Prize in this contest, and the eighth time overall he has won an award from American Songwriter.   Details at www.americansongwriter.com

NEWSFLASH:
  Mark received Honorable Mention (Folk category) in this year's West Coast Songwriters Songwriting Contest.  Details at www.westcoastsongwriters.org

NEWSFLASH:
Mark received four separate awards in this year's Great American Song Contest, the only songwriter to do so.  "Liquor Don't Lie" and "War Movies and Westerns" were named finalists in the Folk/Americana category, while old favorite "High Maintenance Love" won an "Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting" award for finishing in the top five in the Specialty category, and "Sleepin' On The Sofa" was also selected as a finalist in that category.  Details at www.greatamericansong.com.  The nods to "Liquor Don't Lie" and "Sleepin' On The Sofa" bring to eight the number of songs from the Some Assembly Required CD that have garnered awards from national songwriting contests.

NEWSFLASH:
For the second time, Mark has been named a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.  Details at www.songwritingcompetition.com

NEWSFLASH:
For the second year in a row, Mark has been selected as a top ten winner in the Great Lakes Songwriting Contest.  His murder ballad, "Cold Blood", took ninth place.  Mark is the only repeat winner in this year's contest.  Details at www.greatlakessongwritingcontest.net
  

2011

2011 was another exciting year for Mark.  In addition to several awards, Mark also got to play some great venues for the first time, including the Somerville Armory and Tupelo Music Hall.  2012 promises to be another great year as Mark begins work on a brand new CD. 

NEWSFLASH:
Mark received honorable mention (folk category) in this years' Mid-Atlantic Song Contest.  Details at www.saw.org

NEWSFLASH:
For the second year in a row, Mark received honorable mention in the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase.  Details atwww.bluegrass.com/folks/contests

NEWSFLASH:
For the second time in the last three issues, and the seventh time overall, Mark was recognized in American Songwriter magazine's lyric contest, this time receiving honorable mention in the July/August edition for "Cowboy Dreams", a new song.   Details at www.americansongwriter.com

NEWSFLASH:
Mark received two major honors in this year's Great American Song Contest, results of which were announced on March 31.  "War Movies and Westerns" was named a top 5 selection and earned Mark an "Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting" award.  Meanwhile "Little Black Dress" was a finalist in the folk/acoustic category.   Details at                            www.greatamericansong.com

NEWSFLASH:
Mark is featured on the cover of the April edition of Metronome magazine.  There's an accompanying interview and article which calls Mark "the songwriter's songwriter" and goes on to rave that Mark's material "makes you stop and ask, How'd he think of that? . . . He seem(s) to be able to say all the things that everyone else [is] trying to say. . . Make it a point to pick up one [of his CDs ] as soon as possible."  Well, apparently there's no accounting for taste . . .

NEWSFLASH: "
When Vernon Moved From Tupelo" received Honorable Mention in the Nashville Songwriters Association International's 2010-11 Song Contest.  It was one of only 22 songs out of over 2,000 entries to receive an award.   Details at www.nashvillesongwriters.com

NEWSFLASH
: "Beer View Mirror", a new song of Mark's, received honorable mention in the March/April edition of American Songwriter magazine's lyric contest, the sixth time Mark has been honored by American Songwriter.  Details at www.americansongwriter.com

NEWSFLASH: "Chevy Biscayne" was selected as one of ten winners of the 2010 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest, announced January 31.  The song finished in eighth place overall.  Details at www.greatlakessongwritingcontest.net

NEWSFLASH
: Mark was runner-up in the Fall 2010 Tennessee Songs Contest.  Details at www.tennesseeconcerts.com



2010

2010 was a great year for Mark, with several more songwriting awards and some fantastic shows (including the Passim Campfire, Johnny D's, opening for Claudia Schmidt and Buskin & Batteau, etc.)

NEWSFLASH
: For the fourth time in the last five years, Mark was selected as a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition.  Details at www.songwriting.net

NEWSFLASH
: Mark received honorable mention in this year's Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase, placing him in some very fine company indeed.  Details at www.bluegrass.com/folks/contests

NEWSFLASH
: "When Vernon Moved From Tupelo" was named a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.  Details at www.songwritingcompetition.com

NEWSFLASH:
"Worst Kept Secret" was named a finalist (Contemporary Acoustic/Folk category) in this year's Great American Song Contest.  Details at www.greatamericansong.com   This is the sixth song on the Some Assembly Required CD to receive an award from a major songwriting contest.  
 


2009

2009 was a very productive and satisfying year for Mark.  Among the highlights (some of which are summarized below) were the release of a new CD and the great reception it engendered, the opportunity to play some great shows including a CD Release Show at Passim and opening for Steve Forbert, and a host of other songwriting honors.  Looking forward to more exciting events in 2010.

NEWSFLASH: 
In December Mark was selected as a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition for the third time in the last four years.  Details at www.songwriting.net

Some Assembly Required
was on the national "Folk-DJ" airplay chart for both September and October, and as of December began its fourth month on the Roots Music Report national folk airplay chart.   Thanks to everyone who came out to the official CD Release Show at Club Passim.

On November 6 Mark appeared on New England Cable News' "Coffeehouse" feature.  Click here to see his performance.

NEWSFLASH
: Some Assembly Required was number 33 on the "Folk-DJ' national folk airplay chart for the month of September, and number 27 on the Roots Music Report national folk airplay chart.  Where's Casey Kasem when we need him?

Mark's new CD, Some Assembly Required, is at long last finished!  The CD features 11 new songs, with the legendary Duke Levine on guitar, Paul Kochanski of the Resophonics on bass, and Lorne Entress on drums.  Sean Staples (also of the Resophonics) plays mandolin on the record and Joyce Andersen plays fiddle.  For information on how to order, click on the "Music" tab.  The official CD Release show for Some Assembly Required will be on November 23 at the legendary Club Passim in Harvard Square.  Click on the "Gigs" tab for more details.

NEWSFLASH:
"Little Black Dress", from Some Assembly Required, received Honorable Mention in the July/August American Songwriter magazine lyric contest, the fifth time Mark has been honored by American Songwriter and the fourth song from his upcoming CD to receive a songwriting award.

NEWSFLASH: 
"When Vernon Moved From Tupelo", another track from Some Assembly Required, has received four recent awards.  In November it won Honorable Mention in he Great Lakes Songwriting Contest.  Details at www.greatlakessongs.com.  In May it won Honorable Mention in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Folk Category).  Details at www.jlsc.com.   In March it was selected as a finalist in The Great American Song Contest (Contemporary Acoustic/Folk category).  Details at www.greatamericansong.com.   In February it won third prize in the Dallas Songwriters Association 2008 Songwriting Contest (Folk/Americana/Blues category).  The Grand Prize Judge called it "one of the most interesting lyrics I've heard in a long time".  For details see www.dallassongwriters.net. 



2008

2008 was an exciting year for Mark.  Among the highlights, Mark won 1st Prize in the Great American Song Contest, and was selected as a finalist (for the second time) in the USA Songwriting Competition.   Mark was also named runner-up in WUMB's "To Kill A Mockingbird" songwriting contest, leading to his inclusion on a benefit CD featuring performers such as Vance Gilbert, Kate Campbell and Chris Smither.  Additionally, Mark was invited to play Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe for the first time.  With the upcoming release of his new CD, 2009 promises to be another banner year.

NEWSFLASH
: General Gao was "Song of The Week" on the October 18 Lost Highway show, the great roots music program on Cambridge's WMBR (88.1 FM).  In the immortal words of ESPN.com's Bill Simmons, now I can die in peace . . .

"Dead Man's Hand", a new song of Mark's, received Honorable Mention in the March/April 2008 American Songwriter magazine lyric contest.  This is the fourth time Mark has been honored by American Songwriter; he has previously been a first place winner and first runner-up, and was interviewed for a "Spotlight" feature in the November/December 2007 issue.



Mark is also the host of the long-running open mike at the Center for Arts in Natick. The open mike is held the first and third Tuesdays of each month.  More info at href="http://www.natickarts.org"><span"> www.natickarts.org.


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