Mark Risius: Sweet, Stringy Percussiveness

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Boulder's Mark Risius is doing some sweet things with his strings.

As we’ve mentioned before, we dig catching shows at The Laughing Goat. Typically, there is jazz, funk, or some sort of singer-songwriter thing happening. But recently, we caught a Mark Risius show and things were a bit different from the expected LG performance.  

Risius is a Boulder-based guitarist. After hearing just one of his original songs, it wouldn’t surprise you to know that he has a background in percussion (his first love was the drums). Though he’s got ‘the look’ atop a barstool with acoustic in hand, Risius is not your typical singer-songwriter. He slaps, he taps, he loops. Think Trace Bundy with a little more edge.

Percussed. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Percussed. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Risius’ sound is based in his use of two-handed fret tapping and slap rhythms. He has an open, harmonic tone between various riffs and sometimes he incorporates looping elements into his live shows. It’s cool to watch his tactile, technical playing, but it’s also the kind of music that is great to listen to when you’re reading or studying (as many LG patrons do). That said, it’s not just background noise. The percussion elements really keep the energy of his sound moving. It has a rolling aspect that moves through the air and allows you to actively listen without becoming distracted. Check out his song Castaway to see what I mean.

So the next time you’re in the mood for some sweet, stringy percussiveness, check out a Risius show.


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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.