By SHANON QUINN | INLAND360.COMGrowing up in the 1960s and ’70s on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Central Washington, singer, songwriter and travel lover Mark Holt doesn’t remember a time he didn’t have music in his life.
“We had one of those phonographs in the living room that was always loaded down with LP’s
from all genres,” he said. “All the Rat Pack, Tony Orlando and Dawn, John Denver, Willie (Nelson), Waylon (Jennings) and Merle (Haggard), Bill Monroe, Paul Anka, Marty Robbins, Gordon Lightfoot, Christopher Cross…”
Holt will be opening for Cross Saturday at Lewiston’s Clearwater River Casino and said he’s looking forward to the event.
“I’ve been a big fan for years,” he said.
Holt has been performing in the northwest since the early 1970s. The 50-year-old said he had his
first guitar lesson in second grade.
“I must have been about 8 years old,” he said, and played his first gig at 12.
Since then he’s opened for such acts as Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys,Tammy Wynette, Ricky Skaggs, B. J. Thomas, Rhonda Vincent, Wylie and the Wild West, Janie Fricke, Collin Raye, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Hal Ketchum.
When it comes to genre, the musician is a challenge to pin down. David Jeffries for Rovi wrote Holt brings “country and pop standards into the cowboy world through their acoustic and rustic interpretations.”
“I’ve had talent buyers tell me I’m a genre unto myself,” he said.
Holt said he tried to play as many as his own songs as possible, but “usually I don’t get through a whole night without somebody requesting a John Denver song, or asking me to play some 5-string banjo.”
And that’s OK with him.
“I just try to take every gig I can find, show up on time and give the audience 100 percent. I’ve been doing this for 40 years, and I’m thankful that folks like my stuff,” he said.
When Holt isn’t traveling the open road or visiting his cabin in Clearwater County, he spends most of his time at his home base, a 1912 Sears Craftsman kit home in Lewiston he shares with his wife, daughter and an Australian shepherd named Freckles, enjoying some music and DVD downtime.
“I listen to anybody and everybody, I also love to watch a good Western,” he said.
if you go:
WHAT: Christopher Cross
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10
WHERE: Clearwater River Casino, 17500 Nez Perce Road, Lewiston
COST: Tickets $20-$55 at ticketswest.com