Mark Cosgrove’s distinctive flatpicking sound is known and respected on both sides of the Atlantic, and it seems like he’s just getting started. Not bad for someone who grew up in a Manhattan apartment surrounded by classical music and whose original musical ambition was to become a drummer.
“My first instrument was guitar, but I started playing drums when I was 10 or 11” he says. After flirting with drums, Mark returned to guitar but it wasn’t until he heard the glorious wail of Clarence White on the Byrds’ “Untitled” album that the guitar really took hold of him. Around the same time, Mark heard Doc Watson and made the connection that Doc and Clarence both were flatpicking the acoustic guitar. “I was hooked and have been ever since,” Mark says now.
Before long, he felt good enough to tackle the challenging guitar competition circuit. Making his first pilgrimage to Winfield in 1987, he entered his very first guitar competition at the National Flatpicking Guitar Championships. “I didn’t make the cut. I really sucked,” he admits freely. “I spent the next eight years pondering how to go about that and have more success.” By 1994, he felt ready to take another crack at the big time, heading to Merlefest for the flatpicking contest there. “I just wanted to get more experience; I had no concept that I might win,” he says, adding that, “I got lucky that day.”
“Getting the call to play with David closes a wonderful circle in my working life because he has been such an influence on my playing and performing. David has a magic touch with an audience and with any instrument he picks up. He also makes you laugh a lot on the road! I’m so glad to be a part of the band.”