Mark Petersen and his band will perform at the Music in the Park series at Staples on Sunday, July 18 at 7 p.m.
In a May 2020 Brainerd Dispatch article, reporter Jennifer Kraus wrote that “Petersen is a singer-songwriter known nationally for writing songs such as’ Cadillac Style ‘and’ I Can’t Reach Her Anymore ”sung by Sammy Kershaw. ; “Refried Dreams” sung by Tim McGraw; and songs sung by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
Along the way, Petersen’s band has also gained followers in the Midwest among classic country fans who love to hear him and his band perform their favorite songs. In addition to his own voice and guitar work, Petersen’s group includes Arlin Britz, bass guitar and vocals; Ernie Renn, pedal steel guitar and lead guitar; and Wayne VerValen, drums and vocals.
Kraus shared that according to his Facebook page, Petersen was raised in a musical family. His aunts, “The Petersen Sisters” performed for regional dances in the 1950s and it was their group that inspired Petersen to take up bass and guitar.
When he was 17, Petersen joined a local country rock pop group called “Black Gold”, playing guitar; and when he was 19 he was hired to play bass with the professional touring band, “The Blackwater Band”. At 21, Petersen joined “Steve Hall and The Southbound ’76”, helping them win first place in the “Seagrams Seven International Battle of the Bands” for Minnesota in 1981 and North Dakota in 1982.
Drummer Steve Hall’s comedic puppet “Shotgun Red” eventually paved the way for the group to leave the nightclub scene, to perform in arenas, stadiums, state fairs and cruise ships. In 1990, the group were offered a one-year stint at the theater in Branson, Missouri; and later had a 12 year race as a morning headliner aboard the General Jackson Showboat at the Opryland USA. In 2011, Petersen was the acoustic guitarist and conductor for the debut of RFD-TV’s “Shotgun Red Variety Show”.
Kraus added that Petersen’s career as a songwriter took off in 1991, with the help and guidance of Buddy Kalb of Ray Stevens Music, the publishing house where he also received valuable advice on musical affairs. of Ray Stevens himself, manager of Ray Don Williams (brother of singer Andy Williams) and legendary producer and guitarist of Nashville Chet Atkins.
A year later, Petersen joined the editorial staff of Harold Shedd’s Music Mill, where he wrote or co-wrote more than 190 songs, according to the Dispatch article. The writing team at the time included Jimmy Stewart, author of the song “Brotherly Love” by Earl Thomas Conley / Keith Whitley; Tony Haselden of “Mama Knows”, “A Little Less Talk” and “You Know Me Better Thant That”; Don Von Tress from “Achy Breaky Heart” and DeWayne Blackwell from “Friends In Low Places”.
Petersen currently lives in Brainerd with his wife and their five adopted cats.
Music in the Park concerts are held in Northern Pacific Park (NP) on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. and will run until August 8. For more information on the Music in the Park series, check out www.staplesmotleyarts.org.
Northern Pacific Park (NP) is located at 625 Sixth St. NE. Go north on Sixth Street to the Hwys Junction. 10 and 210 and go six blocks. In the event of rain, concerts will be moved to the Staples Community Center.
The Music in the Park series is funded by the Staples Host Lions Club. The series is organized by the Staples Motley Area Arts Council, with assistance from the City of Staples.