Mark Erelli

Photo of Mark Erelli wearing glasses, a blue and white colourful shirt beneath a black jacket and pants, sitting on a chair with hands clasped, with arms resting on his knees against an orange background.

Mark Erelli joining WhiteStickFest 2023

WhiteStickFest is ecstatic to welcome internationally popular songster and guitarist Mark Erelli for his debut show on our 2023 virtual stage.

A gifted American singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist,[1] and touring folk musician, Mark released his debut album in 1999 the same year that he won the Kerrville Folk Festival's New Folk Award.

His first recording for the Signature Sounds label, Compass & Companion, spent ten weeks in the Top Ten on the Americana Chart. Erelli has worked as a side musician for singer songwriters Lori McKenna and Josh Ritter. He has performed at various music festivals and shared the stage with John HiattDave Alvin, and Gillian Welch. Erelli's song “People Look Around”, which he co-wrote with Catie Curtis, was the Grand Prize winner at the 2005 International Song writing Competition. His songs have been recorded by Ellis PaulVance GilbertAntje Duvekot, and Red Molly.

During a performance in summer 2020, Mark Erelli looked down at his guitar neck and couldn’t believe what he saw. Or rather, what he couldn’tsee: his fingers on the frets.

Soon after, a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease, would bring some answers, but it also yielded new questions.

Does diminished eyesight correlate with lesser insight? Does your songwriting change when your perception of the world around you changes?

His many questions to face his adversity are at the heart of his new album Lay Your Darkness Down (released Feb 2023 on Soundly Music).

Throughout Mark’s latest album, he contains a sense of spiritual resolve and relatability united with harmonious shadow and light dynamics

which uniquely signifies his songs. Erelli makes clear that this album isn’t about blindness. Rather, these tracks document an artist's reinvigorated lust for life.

“I could not have accessed the emotions and the observations that inspired these songs without realizing that I was losing my sight.”

He adds, “In some way, I am grateful for that.” 

Mark continues to spread awareness and joy in his music globally and has proven to be an incredible spokesperson for the blind and low vision community even taking part in Foundation Fighting Blindness’s last ‘music to my eyes’ livestream

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