Mark Cool is a folksinger and fingerstyle guitarist from Durham, NC who melds influences of Piedmont folk blues pickers like Libba Cotten and Mississippi John Hurt with lyrics and delivery in the tradition of Prine and Townes. He has also drawn Woody Guthrie and Steve Earle comparisons. Mark was born and raised in the snow belt, in Syracuse, NY, in a collective family. As a teen, Cool learned fingerstyle guitar from Dana Klipp, an accomplished picker, who was also Elizabeth Cotten’s accompanist. In his early 20’s the aspiring troubadour moved to Los Angeles to play in a friend’s band, and ended up spending 10 years there playing in bands, writing and pitching songs, and studying at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood.
After marrying and starting a family, Cool relocated to Durham, North Carolina, where he currently resides and works as a carpenter when not writing and playing music. Cool sings what he knows; a ballad about his Dad and step mom, stories of his own loves and losses, the challenge of keeping dreams alive while working to make a living, and tales of characters from his family and his travels. Cool has toured in Europe multiple times since 2008, playing folk clubs, house concerts, pubs and festivals.
Rob Ellen of Medicine Music, Scotland has dubbed him “Piedmont poet picker.” Americana UK magazine picked his 2007 album “Introducing Mark Cool and the Folk Stars” as one of the top 20 of that year, alongside artists like Wilco, Crowded House, and Peter Case. “…honesty, integrity, simplicity, humour, understatement, restraint, a ‘joire d’vivre’ that can only be found in folk who know exactly where the bottom and the top can be found, catharsis, realization… This is a rootsy, country, bluesy exposition of the highest order.” -Paul Villers, American UK magazine. Cool has garnered radio airplay across the US and in Europe, and has been featured on NPR’s “The State of Things,” and “Car Talk.”