Mark Dvorak | Every Step of the Way

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Every Step of the Way

by Mark Dvorak

Veteran Chicago folk/blues musician Mark Dvorak steps out with his first CD of original songs, adding elements of old pop, swing and country.
Genre: Country: Country Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Every Step of the Way
3:31 $0.99
2. Don't Let the Blues Make You Bad
4:34 $0.99
3. My Rose of Jericho
4:05 $0.99
4. Not War
3:54 $0.99
5. One Couldn't Run, One Couldn't See
4:00 $0.99
6. My Love Grows
3:56 $0.99
7. Lucky In Love
3:12 $0.99
8. That Old Man
4:51 $0.99
9. You'll Make It Somehow
4:47 $0.99
10. Walking In the Air
2:49 $0.99
11. Home
4:40 $0.99
12. Smile
2:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
People remember what Mark Dvorak sings. His roots are in Chicago but since 1981, he has been criss-crossing the country performing, teaching and learning all the while. He's visited big cities where his concerts and recordings have been hailed as "a refreshing portrait of the living folk tradition," and he's traveled many a back road to some little town or out-of-the-way place where the sounds and songs of the American experience seem more deeply rooted; where his performance comes across like a friendly conversation with neighbors.

Mark Dvorak is a folk singer's folk singer who follows unerringly in the footsteps of artists like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy and Art Thieme. With hundreds of songs in his repertoire, he is an entertainer whose performances are marked with a clear knowledge of his music and art and also with an understanding of what a given audience is ready to listen to. His natural style of performing can make an old song sound new and a new song sound familiar. Entertaining warmth, sincerity, distinctive talent and variety in presentation have distinguished Mark Dvorak as on of today's important folk artists.

"This CD is beautiful. Mark's own lyrics and tunes take chances â€" and they work beautifully!  All the years he worked in and with American musical roots traditions have been gloriously utilized â€" and realized.”
â€"- Art Thieme, Peru, IL

“I loved your record...great songs and great singing; wonderful playing...just very mature and excellent work”
â€" Michael Smith, Chicago, IL

"'s the originals that put this album over the top..."
-- Paul Schingle

"Dvorak has taken a rocket car to the next stage of his career...'Every Step of the Way' deserves a listen."
-- Scot Witt, Plank Road Folk Music Society, Downers Grove, IL



to write a review

Terry Spaeth - the Lisle Sun

You'll want to listen to this CD every day!
I heard Dvorak play from his new CD,” Every Step of the Way”, at a lunch time concert at the Chicago Cultural Center.

One of my favorite songs written by Dvorak on the CD is “Not War”. “Who will bring the soldiers home? Not war. And welcome them with open arms? Not war. Who will bring the soldiers home? Who will heal their shattered bones? Who will pray for the ones now gone? Not war.” Dvorak told the story at the lunch time concert of a friend whose son is in Iraq. Each week the soldier e – mails home, but there came a week when no e-mail came. Another week passed, and another, with no e-mail. The frantic mother asked all of her friends to pray. Finally in the fourth week, an e-mail came saying the young man was alive. His squadron had been attacked and they had lost all communication equipment, but they were safe. Dvorak wrote the song when he heard the young man was safe.

I also love Dvorak’s rendition of “Smile” and the haunting “Walking on Air” on this CD.

Art Thieme, Peru, IL

This CD is beautiful. Mark's own lyrics and tunes take chances �" and they wo
This CD is beautiful. His songs are gentle gems with gleaming unusual and surprisingly cut semantic and tonal facets spraying shards of light all around the room. Mark's own lyrics and tunes take chances and they work beautifully! All the years he worked in and with American musical roots traditions have been gloriously utilized and realized.

Michael Smith, Chicago, IL

I loved your record...You will do very well with this one and your success will
I loved your record...great songs and great singing; wonderful playing. I particularly like the instrumental (as soon as i got home I put a guitar in that dminor tuning) and 'That Old Man.' 'Every Step of the Way' could be a Weavermania! tune.

'Don't Let the Blues" and the McGhee and Terry one made me think of Steve Goodman, and of course, 'Not War' is very heavy...that one will last.

Paul Schingle, Chicago, IL’s the originals that put this album over the top.
About a year ago, I was listening to an NPR radio interview with two gentlemen, both of whom had just finished writing a book about folk music. While both men were obviously well read on the subject, the woman who was doing the interview kept trying to nail down a definition of what folk music is and “exactly, who are the folk.” Both men agreed that the original term probably came from middle 19th century “hillbilly” music, or what we now call bluegrass. Gospel, blues, bluegrass, country and, what we’re now calling “roots” music could all be considered a subset of folk music. If you need proof that all these musical tastes are encompassed in folk, look no further than the latest collection from Mark Dvorak, Every Step of the Way(Waterbug records).

According to his website, this is Mark’s fourth solo album (he also has an album out with the group “Weavermania”) and his first since 1998. Among the twelve selections, ten are penned by the artist and two are covers. Walking in the Air was written by Howard Blake for an animated film, “The Snowman.” It is a pretty instrumental. Mark closes with the famous Nat King Cole song, Smile (written by Charlie Chaplin, John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons). Both of these songs allow Mark to display his talents both vocally and on guitar, but it’s the originals that put this album over the top.

Wisely, Dvorak surrounds himself with good players. Keith Baumann is more than ample on the national steel guitar and actually makes the mandolin sing. Al Ehrich delivers on stand-up acoustic bass with unfailing and unsmiling expertise. Tony Dale deftly adds percussion and Dave Moore plays accordion on some songs.

The title song begins the album and sets the eclectic tone. The lyrics have a gospel quality and the song features some wonderful harmony vocals from Ellen Shepard, Mitzi Lebensorger and Annalee Koehn.

My Rose of Jericho has an almost Marty Robbinsesque sad, country mystique. Lucky in Love seems vaguely cabaret style and One Couldn’t Run, One Couldn’t See is a blues tribute to the Blues/Folk duo of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. While That Old Man may be a little sentimental for some, it is a sweet ballad.

Every writer and artist wants at least one piece of their work to have an everlasting impact. For Mark Dvorak Not War is just such a piece. This song alone is worth the price of the CD. Billed as a patriotic song, the lyrics cry for an answer—any answer—other than war. If the words don’t bring a lump to your throat, Ehrich’s haunting bow work on the bass almost certainly will.

Dvorak’s guitar work is superb and all the songs, like his concerts, have a sing-along quality. We can all only hope we don’t have to wait another eight years for Mark Dvorak’s next offering.

Scot Witt, Plank Road Folk Music Society

...It deserves a listen.
He used to interpret other people's music. He was very successful at it. He sang folk. He strummed blues. He finger-picked Cowboy songs. He rearranged classic pop from the 1930s and 1940s. He made hand made music accessible to children. He did ragtime. He arranged. He taught. He ran sing-a-longs. And every critic and acoustic magazine has raved over one of the widest-ranging repertoires of any fulltime musician.

But he was interpreting other people's songs. Singer songwriter Larry Penn (I'm a Little Cookie) challenged him to write a song. Daunting challenge, that, especially from Penn.

It took a while. But he did. Boy did he ever.

Mark Dvorak has taken a rocket car to the next stage of his career. Previously, Mark's music selections have always been about people- every day people and how they live, love and cope with the day to day. His performances and recordings have always been realistic and hopeful. Nothing's changed in that philosophy on his new CD, Every Step of the Way except one thing- instead of using someone else's words and music and adapting them to his performance style, Dvorak is now using his own words, his own music and his own very powerful voice.

You'd think that someone who can pretty much do it all on the banjo and the guitar, in pretty much any genre you'd care to name would put together a first album of hand written songs would depend on fancy riffs and some derivative lyrics.

You'd be wrong.

Yes, the expected Dvorak musical techniques are all there, but they're only there to give foundation and form to a new voice of passion, realism, struggle and life -- real life.

You know the guy who wrote these songs has been there. Like A.P. Carter, you know this guy loved and lost and wound up loving again. Like Johnny Cash, you know this fellow is a storyteller with deep roots. Like Steve Goodman, you know he has a sense of humor with a mission to share his music with everyone. In short, you know this guy's for real.

Every Step of the Way isn't gritty. But it's passionate. It's a modern spiritual that flows with understanding, forgiveness and love- for his characters and his listeners.

As you listen to the Every Step of the Way, you hear the traditions. Roseville Fair sounds like a traditional love ballad. Most folks on first hearing would swear Bill Staines' classic was derived from a Child ballad. Not so- the song's just a few years old. That's how Mark Dvorak's songs sound- rich in tradition and content and true to the roots music that helped inspire it. From folk to blues to country to a 1940s-sounding number, Dvorak's songs are fresh.

This recording has tales of lost love, testaments to perseverance and even redemption. Dvorak's songs remember what came before to help handle what is to be.

How many songwriters can lay that claim, much less the first-time?

It deserves a listen.