Arden, North Carolina (September 24, 2021) — Award-winning Gospel singer, songwriter, and producer Mark Bishop is not one to look back or become burdened by the path he has already trodden. “Songwriters by nature are always moving forward,” he says, “You’re looking to create something new.” That quest is what makes Some Distant Mountain, his newest project — and his first since 2019’s GRAMMY-nominated Beautiful Day — feel so special. The album is out now on Sonlite Records.
Inspired by an exploration of American roots music and its origins in Celtic, European, and African traditional music, Some Distant Mountain traverses centuries and continents to celebrate the Gospel in all of its glory. Bishop freely explores these histories with curiosity and respect, but does not burden himself with expectations of strict adherence to academic accuracy. Rather, he allows his unique voice as an artist shine through, refracting off of the angled facets of dozens of interconnected histories.
To realize his musical vision, Bishop turned to producers GRAMMY-nominated Jeff Collins and bassist Mark Fain, who assembled a top shelf cast of multi-instrumentalist master musicians David Johnson, Andy Leftwich and Jeff Taylor — all schooled in the different strands of roots music styles that lay at the heart of Bishop’s concept — alongside an equally stellar selection of harmony vocalists in Lauren Talley, the Isaacs’ Sonya Isaacs Yeary, Endless Highway’s Ally Griggs, and the Sisters’ Valerie Medkiff. Inspired both by the songs’ powerful messages and Bishop’s adventurous spirit, the ensemble delivered compelling performances that underline the collection’s distinctive power.
The result is a powerfully unique take on both the gospel message and the music by which it’s delivered. Bishop’s not afraid to turn to unusual sources, like the writers — Bob Dylan sidekick Bob Neuwirth and the legendary T-Bone Burnett—of the album’s first single, “Like A Songbird That Has Fallen,” nor to range from a bare bones a capella performance (“Were You There”) to the wholly Celtic lilt of “Across The River,” the second single, to the full orchestral majesty of “Hardly The Load,” and back to the simple clawhammer banjo backing of the upcoming single, “Shall We Gather At The River.” From song to song, each arrangement is hand-crafted to match the mood and theme, and delivered with Bishop’s signature blend of vocal finesse and heartfelt devotion.
Driven by an overarching theme of perseverance, the album itself resonates with the power of the moment we are in. Having emerged shaken and transformed by life in a pandemic, each track on Some Distant Mountain reads like a love letter from the past, steeped in wisdom and experience from those who came before. “You’re stopping and you’re looking at the vista behind you,” says Bishop. “You’re looking at your roots.”
Listen to Some Distant Mountain
About Mark Bishop
GRAMMY-nominated Mark Bishop has one of the most distinctive voices in all of Gospel Music. He is also regarded as one of the preeminent Gospel songwriters of our generation. His songs have been recorded by several of today’s most popular Gospel Music groups. Once you have heard one of Mark’s thought-provoking songs, you’ll immediately know why Gospel Music lovers consider him one of the genre’s top singer/songwriters.
Mark’s musical roots trace back to idyllic summer evenings in Kentucky, singing on the front porch with his family. It was then that the Bishop family began to form a musical foundation that would usher them to the forefront of Gospel Music. During their career, The Bishops enjoyed enormous success across all outlets, with twenty-seven national Top-40 songs, including twelve Top 5 songs and three Number 1 songs.
Since embarking on a solo career in 2002, Mark Bishop has not missed a beat. He has been honored with multiple nominations and awards in a broad range of categories from leading Gospel Music publications and organizations. He is one of the select few soloists who have been invited to perform on the Main Stage of Gospel Music’s signature event, the National Quartet Convention. Over the past thirty years, Mark’s songs are staples on Gospel Music radio, accumulating numerous hits on the national airplay charts. In 2021, his album, Beautiful Day, was nominated for the Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY.