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Mark Melloan

Mark Melloan grew up in a family where music and writing were parts of everyday life. So no one was shocked when he followed in his sister’s footsteps and started taking piano lessons. But it was when he dug up his father’s old Gibson that family members really started to see the fire in his eyes.

By the time Mark was in high school, he was the regular bassist in the First Christian Church praise band. When the lead guitarist moved to another church, Mark stepped into that slot. When he’s home in Elizabethtown, that’s still where you’ll find him on Sunday mornings. The church band is also something of a family affair: His sister, Amanda, plays piano, and his mother sings with the vocal team. On Sunday nights, Mark leads the youth worship service.

An Elizabethtown High School graduate (class of ’99), Mark received an academic scholarship to Western Kentucky University, where he started out as a physics major. Although his head could handle the math and the labs, his heart was leading in another direction. Each road trip and each new experience sparked song ideas, and he was meeting new people who were helping to expand his musical horizons. Whether playing bass guitar in Kurtis Matthew’s blues band, performing in a Bowling Green coffeehouse with his buddy Micah Gerdis, or picking in the living room with legendary dobro player Curtis Burch (New Grass Revival), Mark was honing in on his own unique style.

On February 18, 2001, Mark turned 20 years old. Over the next 12 months he wrote a book full of songs, many of them for one of his long-term dream projects, a Civil War anthology called To Climb a Hill. Twelve of the songs are on his genre-crossing album The Shadowlands, released on Labor Day 2002.

Program 511

On the road in Bowling Green, Chip introduces several Southcentral Kentucky artists and visits the Kentucky Museum at Western Kentucky University. (#511)


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