Mark Huston entertains the masses with musical skills

Mark Huston is a local talent not to be missed. Diane Sieker photo

You have heard his name: Mark Huston, the country-style vocalist with the wonderfully deep and expressive voice, dead-on guitar skills and a knack for impressing a crowd, plus a great sense of humor and an easy way about him that makes even the most timid people feel at right at home.

Huston is an Anza local, but he gigs near and far. He is the talented voice behind Mark Huston and the Workin’ Men, a highly sought-after band that keeps their calendar filled most every weekend.

Being successful is cool, but how did he get there?

Huston revealed his roots, “At probably 5 years old or so, mom and dad had me singing in church choir. We would sing on our way to camping trips; they played guitar and would sing around the campfire and on the way home. Through high school, I was in several choral groups, and my choir director Michael Short encouraged me to try out for the musicals ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘The Music Man.’”

Huston’s voice is very versatile. He can go from crooning a George Strait hit to belting out “Smoke on the Water” by rockers Deep Purple.

“I’ve always loved to sing,” Huston continued, “My first solo, I think, was singing for my sister’s wedding. Before the days of karaoke, there was a bar in Colton that had a talent night where you would sing with the band. I met a guy in Anaheim named Bob Chance through some friends. He had a band and invited me up onstage to sing a song, and I was hooked on the whole live band thing.”

Shortly after that time, Huston met a musician who would become one of his best friends, Rocky Carrasco, a skilled lead guitarist. Add percussionist Bob Miller and bassist Rick Andrews to the mix, and a band was born.

Mark Huston and the Workin’ Men, Rocky Carassco on lead guitar, Jerry Del on bass and Bob Miller on drums perform at a gig at the Cahuilla Market last month. Diane Sieker photo

“Ten years later, Bob, Rocky and myself are still together (with Jerry Del now on bass). Rocky and I have done a couple of duets … just let me sing and I’m happy,” he said.

Huston also performs as a soloist playing in Idyllwild at Idyll Awhile on the third Wednesday of each month.

Some of Huston’s musical influences include Neil Diamond, John Denver, Don McLean, The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers, The Beach Boys, The Police, Devo, Oingo Boingo, Nat King Cole and so many others.

“I love all kinds of music,” Huston said. The wide range of songs and styles in his performances confirms this passion.

He spoke briefly of one of his favorite performances.

“The best night ever was New Year’s Eve six or seven years ago where we played the Pala Casino from 4 p. m. to 8 p. m., then ran up the hill to the Cahuilla Casino and played from 9 p. m. to 1 a. m. It was a great night for sure. Our friend Jimmy Hilzman played bass that night.”

For more information or to contact Mark Huston, email him at theworkinmen@yahoo.com or visit www.facebook.com/Mark-Huston-and-the-Workin-Men-183338761702730/.

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