Marl Thornton is a multi-talented guitar player, producer, and engineer based out of his studio, Sidekick Sound Studio, in Nashville, Tennessee.
His production roster includes producing and engineering records for CMH Records, The Pickin’ On Series, Jerry Reed, Paul Yandell, Marty Stuart, Chris Scruggs, Wylie and the Wild West, and the Davidson Brothers. Sidekick Sound Studio was founded in 1994, and boasts a wonderful collection of old and new gear, ranging from 40’s microphones to current technology. It has been graced by great pickers and players over the years, and offers a warm and friendly atmosphere.
His experience as a professional guitarist began in the ‘80s, in the Los Angeles country western scene, playing at the famous Palomino Club and The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum. Between 1997 and up until his death in 2008, Mark was the guitar player for guitar legend Jerry Reed, recording and touring with him throughout the country. While versatile in his playing, his true strength lies in classic fingerstyle guitar (as well as a variety of classic country styles) and being a master of tasteful simplicity and tone.
He currently plays in and around Nashville with his band “The Sidekicks”, and spends the rest of his time recording, producing, and engineering great records.
More About Mark
Mark first started to learn his style of guitar-playing from a book his older brother brought home -Nashville Guitar, with a chapter on Merle Travis - but it became his passion was when he saw Chet Atkins perform on a PBS broadcast of the Gannaway Productions series Tribute Grand Ole Opry Stars of the Fifties. He was floored, and began religiously taping the performances, first on a cassette recorder held in front of the television speaker, and later on VHS.
Shortly after graduation Mark left his Iowa hometown for Los Angeles with his high school rock band, and eventually found himself working at both the Palamino Club and the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, while with hosting two radio shows on KCSN Public Radio for the Valleys. Five years later he moved to Nashville, set up a studio and produced hundreds of records for CMH, including the prolific Picking on Series, while playing with bands around town and on the road. In 1997 he landed his ultimate gig - with Jerry Reed, with whom he played until his death in 2008.
Mark lists his influences as: Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins, Lenny Breau, Roy Nichols (Merle Haggard and The Strangers), James Burton, Buck Owens and the Buckaroos.
Other Current Projects
After a decade more of studio work, Mark caught the urge to play out again, and became a sideman to The Cowpokes, who host the wildly popular Honky Tonk Tuesday Nights at the American Legion Post 82 in Inglewood, as well as up-and-coming country artist Tim Bolo. In the studio, he engineers Friends & Neighbors with Chris Scruggs which airs on 650 AM WSM following the Friday Night Opry at 9:15pm. He is producing the movie and accompanying soundtrack for Hankenstein, a joint venture with Tom Willett.