“I’ve always wanted to live and work in the country. I have found that piece of paradise here, in Duck River, Tennessee,” says Mark Baczynski, Hickman County’s resident fiddle player. “I often bring my fiddle out to the front porch to practice and listen to the sound of the stream running by the house as I play. I swear the birds and frogs sing along with me sometimes,” Mark says with a laugh.
Mark Baczynski, who grew up in a suburb of Chicago, has been fiddling for over thirty years. He first picked up a fiddle his senior year in high school, and proceeded to teach himself how to play by listening to one of his father’s old Cousin Cecil Brown fiddle records. By playing the record over and over he was able to learn a few of these songs by ear. He showed off what he had learned to friends and family and quickly became addicted to the smiles that his fiddling seemed to create.
In his younger days Mark was a member of several bands an successfully made his living playing in bars and nightclubs. Mark loved playing, and yet as he became older he found himself quickly outgrowing the smoky bar scene. Having received a full drama scholarship to a junior college in Missouri and landing many lead roles, including one in “Godspell” opposite Scott Bakula, Mark considered himself more than just a fiddle player; he was a performer and he yearned for the stage. His theater career started in Branson, when he was called to perform fiddle and tic tac bass in a new production about the music of Patsy Cline. It was here that Mark found his niche and from there Mark’s theater credits continued to grow. Mark has performed in: “Lost Highway”, “Big River”, “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”, “Woody Guthrie’s American Song”, “Fire on the Mountain”, “Grapes of Wrath”, and “Patsy!” just to name a few. Mark currently hits the road several times a year with Jason Petty (who is also a Hickman county native) and the show “Hank and my Honky Tonk Heroes” which is a musical tribute to Hank Williams.
When Mark is not on the road he enjoys his quiet country home in Hickman County with his wife and one year old daughter. He is happy to be a part of a community which has spawned some great fiddlers. “Hickman county has a rich history of fiddlers,” says Mark, “Paul Warren, of Flatt and Scruggs fame and Howdy Forrester both grew up here in middle Tennessee.” Mark has his workshop set up at his home and he offers string lessons of all kinds and string instrument repair. Over the years Mark has become an expert in string instrument restoration. “Now I have a quest,” he says “to restore broken violins and other string instruments to playing condition. I want more people to have access to affordable, cool, older instruments. There is some kind of magic in those older string instruments, a kind of beauty that can’t be replicated. Of course I can also help them learn to play as well.”
Mark often shares his talents within the community. He has been a part of the Grinder’s Switch Radio hour, and performed in a few of Clay Harris Theater productions as well as performed at the annual Banana Pudding Festival. This year you can also find him, once again, playing as a part of the Arts and Ag tour on May 25th. He will be at April’s Attic during the afternoon and most likely jamming on the Centerville square later that evening.
“There’s just something that feels right about being a fiddle player in Tennessee’s country. Music is in everyone’s veins, I can feel it. There is no greater feeling than grabbing my fiddle at any moment and seeing the joy that it can produce in others. Not only is it appropriate for a fiddle player to live in middle Tennessee; it is also where I belong.”
Lots of information on Mark can be found at: http://www.Markthefiddlist.com and to see his upcoming tour dates check out http://www.Jasonpetty.com. Also be sure to like the Markthefiddlist face book page and feel free to contact Mark in regards to string lessons and repair at: 931-729-1637.
Written by Kristin Carter Baczynski