John Mark Nelson makes early Minneapolis impact via Bandcamp
Over the past decade, it has only gotten easier for artists to upload music and potentially get it out to a mass of strangers on the web. As there are more and more musicians employing these techniques every day, standing out is a challenge, but 18-year-old folkie John Mark Nelson has been scooped out of the Bandcamp fray.
Similar to another young phenom called Observer Drift, who we highlighted earlier this year, Nelson's popular trajectory has more to do with a pleasantly constructed presence on the web -- with the all-important "Minneapolis" tag -- than a lengthy run in local clubs. So far, anyhow. According to his Facebook page, rehearsals are in the works for full-band performances leading up to the release of his second full-length, Waiting and Waiting, out in August.
The two songs from that album have garnered the approval of 89.3 FM the Current staffers Andrea Swensson, who did a piece on Nelson in May, and Jon Schober, who just recently wrote about "Reminisce," the second song to emerge from this upcoming batch of songs. "There is now no doubt in my mind that John Mark will be one of the most talked about local musicians during the latter half of this year," he writes. And this will certainly be the case on their station as we get closer to an on-air performance July 8.
This fresh graduate of Minnetonka High, who is heading to McNally Smith College of Music in the fall, is indeed worth some level of fuss in these early steps in his career.
In the case of "Reminisce," you have a bank of harmonies as rich (or richer) as the Fleet Foxes', and an attention to detail in the crafting of the arrangement that some vets can never master fast enough to keep pace. In short, Nelson's songs already sound like they belong alongside the mainstays of the indie-folk up-swell currently figuring into our daily lives on radio, commercials, movies, and certainly spilling out of live music venues of all sizes.
Although Nelson has not played live a whole lot yet, he can already say he's made significant steps in a career in music by getting his stuff on the web, and making it impactful. This is a lesson he can pass along to his classmates this fall.
Check out more recordings at John Mark Nelson's Bandcamp.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.