Mark's acoustic roots run deep. As a teenager, Mark immersed himself in the vibrant bluegrass and folk music scene in Washington, D.C. One of his earliest guitar teachers and mentors was Phil Rosenthal, from the famed bluegrass band, The Seldom Scene. A debut album (Common Ground 1988) and a last minute opening act for Tom Paxton lit the fire of the young writer, leading him to Nashville and a publishing deal with Cherry Lane Music.
Mark has gone on to staff writing positions with major publishing companies including, Bluewater Music Group, Maypop Music Group (owned by the super-group Alabama) as well as Sony Music Publishing. Mark's songs have been recorded by independent and major artists, receiving airplay on radio and TV in the United States and abroad. His songs have hit the Billboard Top Forty charts, highlighted by the hit single by Neal McCoy, "Every Man for Himself." Billboard Magazine called it "a song with rare lyrical and musical edge and the best cut on the album".
Buoyed by wins in singer-songwriter contests at major festivals across the country Mark began to build a reputation for standout live performances. However, it was winning the Kerrville New Folk Award in 1993 that put Mark on the map, and on the road. As one-half of the duo Culley & Elliott, Mark toured extensively in support of their acclaimed CD, "Flight of Dreams" (1993).
The year 2000 brought Mark back to a solo career and a successful new CD. "My Great Escape," featuring a duet with Tom Paxton (Stars in Their Eyes), was an Americana Chart's top 70 CD. The album was played on commercial and public radio programs across the United States and abroad. It generated a #2 song (She Rode Horses) on the independent country chart, "Inside Country". Sing-Out Magazine called it a "superb album" and Music Row Magazine said "almost too good" and "I'll bet he's a killer to hear live."
With experience and perspective that only time and miles can bring, Mark’s 2004 release, "American Road," captures the characters, towns and stories from his well-traveled past. American Road attracted vocal collaborations from luminaries Don Henry (Grammy Award-winning songwriter) and Jonell Mosser (renowned vocalist who has sung with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, and Ringo Starr). His national touring through 2005 continued to include high profile clubs and festivals, including an official showcase spot on the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.
In 2006, Mark's road led back to his Folk and Bluegrass beginnings. The CD, “Pickin' Blackberries” shares 12 new songs with some of the most respected names in acoustic music. Mark's guitar and voice, coupled with the likes of IBMA winner Jim Hurst, National finger-picking champion Pete Huttlinger and Americana Gospel Masters, The McCrary Sisters, make for a strong and genuine delivery of captivating stories!
In the fall of 2008, Mark released the CD “Good Life”. Maverick Magazine reviewed “Good Life” writing, “A man with valour to write and perform the songs he damn well wants, Mark Elliott is someone we should have heard of before. His obvious talent for putting together a first-rate album is there for all to see, and when the quality is this good, it makes you feel rejuvenated and to thank whoever that you are around to hear such quality.” - RH
From 2010 to the present, Mark is a vocalist and guitarist for Nashville Americana group, Runaway Home.
Mark is also a newly minted author with blogs, essays and two books to his credit. See the Books Tab of this website for more information on Mark's blog "It's the Music That Makes Us Smile," his eulogy essay to be included in the upcoming Philip Culbertson book, "Farewelling Our Fathers," and Mark's two books in process; Starmount: Memoir of A Ten Year Old and "The Trail" - a co-written novel with author Joe Johnston.