MARK LEE GARDNER
Historian, Writer, Musician of the Western Experience
A Main Selection of the History Book Club and a Featured Alternate Selection of Military Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, and BOMC2.
For special online features related to Mark and his books, go to his HarperCollins author site:
In addition to his research and writing, Mark is an award-winning performer of the music of the 19th and early 20th-century American West. Watch a PBS video of Mark performing the 1927 "Blind Andy" Jenkins ballad "Billy the Kid." Click here.
Mark's brand new CD is Outlaws: Songs of Robbers, Rustlers, and Rogues, a saddlebag of famous and lesser known American ballads such as "Cole Younger," "Jesse James," "Billy the Kid," and "Sam Bass." Click on the CD cover below to listen and order.
This new collection from Mark Lee Gardner, a gifted singer who specializes in songs from the Old West, deals with such notorious figures as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Cole Younger, and Sam Bass, not forgetting women like Belle Starr and Calamity Jane. Two standouts are the lovely ballad “Kentucky Moonshiner” and Gardner’s quiet, introspective take on Bob Dylan’s “Billy,” written for the 1973 Peckinpah film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. A lapidary picker, Gardner accompanies himself on an assortment of period guitars, banjos, and mandolins. Reference-caliber reproduction. Highly recommended.
The Absolute Sound magazine
Outlaws is like having someone sing you a book of stories. "John Hardy," "Sam Bass," "Cole Younger," and "Jesse James" are all song titles that remind the listener of hours spent reading and researching Western history. Gardner, author of To Hell on a Fast Horse, a marvelous dual biography of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, is obviously having lots of fun bringing you the not-so-accurate stories of these outlaw legends. (As he points out in his liner notes, "The truth is seldom as much fun as the myth.") None of it is more fun than "The Finger of Billy the Kid," a song sharing how the Kid's trigger finger ended up in a jar. Our fascination with the outlaws of the Old West is only intensified by Gardner's fine CD, which will no doubt drive many right back to the history books.
True West magazine
A blend of history and music, Outlaws is a grab bag of ballads devoted to the West's less savory characters. Rich and rollicking instruments—Gardner plays an open-back banjo and tenor guitar —help bring the stories to life.
—American Cowboy magazine
2013 Highlights and Upcoming Events
April: Look for Mark's articles in a special collector's issue of American Cowboy magazine focusing on historic western trails. On newsstands everywhere.
April 20: Mark performs old-time banjo music for Spring on the Farm at Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site, Lawson, Missouri. More info here.
May 19: Mark and Rex Rideout perform for the grand opening of Staunton State Park, near beautiful Pine, Colorado. Great old-time music from 1-3 p.m.
June: Look for Mark's article on outlaw Frank James in the August issue of Wild West magazine. Available on newsstands late June.
July 23: Mark's new book, Shot All To Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West's Greatest Escape is released. Check this website for postings of author appearances.
July 28: Mark is MC for the 9th annual Fiddles, Vittles & Vino at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, Colorado Springs. Tickets limited.
August 8: Mark will be speaking and signing copies of Shot All To Hell at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW, Albuquerque, NM, 7 PM.
August 9-10: Mark performs with Rex Rideout at the New Mexico History Museum for its big Wild West Weekend, Santa Fe. This event is held in conjunction with a major new exhibition at the museum: Cowboys Real and Imagined. Don't miss it.
September 5-7: Mark lectures and signs copies of Shot All To Hell at the annual Defeat of Jesse James Days in Northfield Minnesota.
September 27-29: Mark will appear at the Southwest Festival of the Written Word, Silver City, New Mexico. Details to come.
February 5-8, 2014: Mark is a featured speaker at the CCIRA 2014 Conference on Literacy, Denver.