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Mark Johnson & Emory Lester
Bangtown Records
Mark Johnson and Emory Lester
Acoustic Vision: Blockade Runner

Acoustic Vision completes the "trilogy" of earlier critically acclaimed CD Acoustic Campaign and Acoustic Rising. The sophomore release Acoustic Rising, on the Crossroads/Mountain Home label was nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) "Instrumental Album of the Year" award at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee in 2007.

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  • Brown County Breakdown  Sound Bite
  • Hodgkiss Hill
  • The Dark and The Rolling Sea
  • Blockade Runner at Cedar Key
  • Mother of a Miner’s Child
  • Little Sean
  • Brown Mountain Light  Sound Bite
  • Buck Creek Dawn
  • The Old Time Drunkard
  • Forever True  Sound Bite
  • Kayla Anne
  • My Sally
  • Browntown Road
  • Bright Sunny South
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  • Crazy Creek
  • Misfortune's Child
  • Cheyenne
  • Home Sweet Home (Revisited)
  • Back up and Push
  • Wind in the Leaves
  • One Morning in May
  • Booth Shot Lincoln
  • Darcy Farrow
  • Temperance Reel
-Nominated for Instrumental Recording of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, 2007
-Featured in Bluegrass Unlimited and Bluegrass Now
-Featured on Nashville Public radio

The proficient musicianship of Mark Johnson and Emory Lester is individually great, and collaboratively phenomenal.
– Joe Ross – Bluegrass Music Profiles

Jim & Jesse, Flatt & Scruggs, Sonny & Bobby Osborne. Let us now add to the list, Johnson & Lester! Mark Johnson has created a completely new banjo art form called “Clawgrass." Emory Lester, a master mandolin player and multi-instrumentalist, is a perfect, equal, counterpart and together they are absolutely bleeding with talent. We can assure you that you have never heard a duet like this before!
Acoustica Magazine

'Mark Johnson & Emory Lester are wonderful innovators as individual artists; as a duo their combined creativity is tremendous!
Bluegrass Now Magazine

Emory Lester is one of this day's foremost exponents of the acoustic mandolin. The power and attack of his mandolin playing creates an infectious sound that is unmatched. His landmark recording projects have placed him among the elite mandolinists of our time. His most recent solo CD At Dusk showcases Emory's multi-instrumentalist musical creativity and skills. Undeniably, his clean, clear, fast and efficient mandolin techniques continue to influence many modern day mandolinists.

As well as his own Emory Lester Set, he also currently performs with his partner Jill Jones in the new Emory Lester & Jill Jones Band, at upcoming concerts and festivals. His fourteen year friendship and musical collaboration with noted 'Clawgrass' banjoist Mark Johnson has yielded four very creative recording projects. Mark and Emory have toured all across the U.S., and have been featured on several performances with Steve Martin, most notably on the 'Late Night with David Letterman television show in September of 2012. He also performs with the bluegrass band Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa, doing shows across the U.S., Canada, Europe and the U.K.

Mark Johnson hangs his hat in Florida but learned his trade from Jay Unger while living in New York. Mark didn't know that Jay was a highly accomplished fiddler who also tinkered with the clawhammer style of banjo. It was in the early 1970s, that Mark learned from this consummate fiddler the basic technique of clawhammer banjo. He also learned the three-finger style of bluegrass picking as his familiarity with the instrument unfolded.

Mark moved to Crystal River in Florida in 1981 where, per chance, he met the Rice brothers, Larry, Tony, Ronnie and Wyatt. Mark was working at the local power utility with Herb Rice, Larry and Ronnie and through that relationship, his manner for style and creativity in composition and performance was forever changed.

Mark's unique style doesn't really fit into a strict category. It's very bluegrass but has overtones of traditional folk, progressive acoustic, new-grass and old-timey all mixed into one. It's authentic. It's unique. It's Clawgrass.



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