Mark Ransom and The Mostest

History

On the eastern slope of the Cascade mountains... in the center of Oregon grows a community full of energy. The high dessert oasis of Bend is inspiring for its natural beauty and groovy, small-town vibe.

Mark Ransom moved to the area in 1992 searching for "a quality ski hill" and quality life.

The life-long musician began as a student of his father, a lap-steel, upright bass and ukulele player. He started composing his own material in college and continues his education today under Rich Hurdle, a local Jedi-Jazz guitarist, mentor and friend.

Mark’s passion for quality life and music are exemplified in his work as a performer, collaborator and recording artist. While helping his wife Shannon with her coffeehouse business, from 1996 to 2005 Ransom developed himself as one of Bend, Oregon’s most talented and well-respected musical acts.

In 1998 Mark released his first CD, Man Of My Word--a folky collection of original love songs. Despite the “home-brewed” quality of this first recording effort, it was music to the ears of the Sisters Folk Festival--where he won the opportunity to perform his work on stage.

At about the same time he formed the acoustic trio, the Rhythm Beans (mandolin, string bass and acoustic guitar). In 1999 the Beans released Ocean In The Air, a “brewgrassy” masterpiece visiting scenes of snowy seclusion and real friends. Local press applauded the CD and the group--honoring Ransom as “Best Local Musician” in 1998 and 1999.

In 2001 Mark began working with a talented singer and pianist named Colleen Cordis. Through their collaboration a funkier, 70’s-style groove emerged and in 2003 they released Ransom’s third CD, Stride. With the help of engineer/producer Linken Olsen, Cordis and Ransom arranged some of Bend’s finest talent to help in the studio, and created the MagicTurtle Band--a live act that supported the record release in 2003 and 2004.

Ramshackle Then, in 2005, came a most eclectic collaboration with Eugene-gone-Bend troubador David Bowers in a group called Ramshackle . Alt-Country ethic crossed with Dead-Soaked Jams: Ramshackle bootlegs are coveted in the Northwest.... A few of these recordings slipped onto Bowers most recent release--Ransom's overdriven Les Paul a melting pot of Neil meets Duane.

Although Ramshackle was eclectic and fun, it ended up being a side-project for both Bowers and Ransom. David Bowers and Ramshackle bassist Tyler Mason went on to form the David Bowers Colony; while, at about the same time, with the help of drummer Nick Papa and Magic Turtle Band-mate Coleen Cordis, Ransom and Mason recorded and produced Mark's fourth CD, Champion of Mystery.

Released early in 2006, Champion of Mystery is a collection of song-demos which were organized to tell the story of a mythic counter-culture character known as Willy Bova. Champion is an artistic "concept" record tied together with extensive liner notes (and one story about Willy Bova) as well as print reproductions of three original paintings by Mark.

Also, in 2006, with his daughter Joni in the first grade, Mark's focus moved to music education and to developing a network of performing artists in the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by the work of his friend Brad Tisdel (Sisters Americana Project/Sisters Folk Festival); Ransom visualized music education outreach in Bend schools, and an annual celebration of Central Oregon's performing arts community.

Westside Village School Rock BandThis same year, Ransom started the Westside Village Magnet School Roots Music Program, and produced the first annual Bend Roots Revival--an event which has truly grown, blossomed, and become a loud, clear voice for Central Oregon (www.bendroots.net). Now a project of KPOV 106.7 Bend Community Radio, the annual event showcases more than 60 acts and workshops, is family friendly, totally free and open to the public!

Over the last few years Mark Ransom has become passionate about music education in Bend. He continues to work with kids at Westside Village School and with students at REALMS middle school, and wants to start a similar program for high schoolers somewhere in the area.

Pat Rocks the Uke "Teaching music has helped me become a much better musician, songwriter and performer," says Ransom. So, in addition to his teaching projects, Mark is putting lots of energy into his musical partnership with good friend, fellow music instructor, basist and Bend Roots organizer, Patrick Pearsall.


Together, Mark and Patrick organize and produce a collective of players known as The Mostest.

In 2007 The Mostest released their self-titled debut--a power trio mix of heavy Americana drivin by the steady beats of drummer Anthony Houston. The Bend cult -classic, God Bless The Taco Stand (penned in 1993 by Ransom's cousin Eric and friend/lyricist Mark Fesche) was finally pressed into digital audio on this record--perhaps the most enduring song of Ransom's career.

Mostest With TonyMore recently (2009), partnering with violinist Julianne Southwell and percussionist, Shireen Amini, The Mostest has been supporting their new CD, Masala Mostest--an acoustic and world music take on Ransom's positive affirmation jam-rock.

Masala Mostest

FRESH MOSTEST NEWS:
The Evolution of the Electric Ensemble...

Mostest Along side the release of his new CD... Nov, 2009, Bend-based singer-songwriter/keyboardist Brad Jones has taken up a side-project: The Mostest. Joining Bend's favorite rhythm section (the team of Pearsall/Elias--Shireen Amini Band/Empty Space Orchestra/Eric Tollefson Band), Brad brings extreme talent and a stylistic compliment to the Mostest. Brad's sound is distinguished, influenced heavily by 70's and 80's synth-funk.

Jones' vibe in The Mostest has given Ransom's songs powerful new energy and inspired Elias and Pearsall to play new and often syncopated rhythms. The band is bouncier than ever; and extremely DANCE-friendly. Brad Jones' songs are being worked into the Mostest mix-- freeing Ransom up to to lay into the guitar. Already the new ensemble is writing together with itself as muse and medium...

Click on "Shows" to see where they are playing next...


As for me: I was born in California, 1970, and raised in the mid-west. The lure of mountains and western life pulled me to Colorado State University where I studied music, mythology and Journalism. I graduated in 1992 and landed in Bend, Oregon a month later, ready to start a rock band.

My cousin Eric Ransom and I formed the Allman Brothers tribute group, Eating Peaches in late ‘92.

Tapping a market which was ripe for our style of laid-back groove-rock, we connected with the Bend music community, and began a 17 year love-affair with this little mountain town.

Click to open larger photoSince Eating Peaches, Bend has grown from seventeen to seventy-five thousand in population. There have been some growing pains, but I still love being part of this village culture: performing in the clubs and coffeehouses, connecting with the community through music.

As a songwriter I reflect what I experience and try to offer hope.

I enjoyed the second coming of the Grateful Dead (from about 1985-1995) and consider others like Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Bob Dylan to be direct musical influences.

More recently I've been enjoying the work of Phish, String Cheese Incident, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Pearl Jam...

Thanks for taking time to review my press kit.
I hope you enjoy the music. Cheers!

-Mark