Mark Beckett: Origins and the Opry

For Mark Beckett, music was there from the beginning.

His dad, Barry Beckett, was a legendary record producer and keyboard player. He picked up the drums at age 14 after hearing Eddie Bayers playing on an album that he dad also played on (and after his brother saw him playing the drum part on his legs and suggested it!).

"I met Eddie at a party he was throwing at his house and I told him I wanted to learn drums," said Mark. "In September of 1989, he gave me a set of his electronic pads that I learned on for a year until he and my dad purchased my first kit."

Mark had his eye on session work in the beginning, practicing hours and hours each day after school, and listening as a fly on the wall to sessions Eddie played. Mark was able to work with his dad in the studio a few times until he retired.

"The first big record I played on was John Michael Montgomery "Leave a Mark" around 1997," he said. "It was the first time I was in a session with all the guys I would read about on records and that session changed a lot of people's opinions of me."

Mark would go on to play on countless records from Kenny Chesney to Jo Dee Messina (see his list of album credits here). He is a first-call drummer for session work in Nashville (he has played on some demos of mine even) and still tours with artists like Olivia Newton-John and Steve Wariner. In addition to that, he has also settled into a very cool gig as the house drummer at the Grand Ole Opry along with his hero Eddie Bayers.

How the Opry gig came together is a neat story as well.

"I first got called to sub for Eddie and Paul Leim in July of 2008," said Mark. "After about 10 months, Paul left the Opry and the position was offered to me to share with Eddie. That first night was May 9, 2009, and it was an incredible night!"

Mark and I backstage at the Opry

Mark has a killer reputation among Opry musicians and artists.

"Whenever I see Mark's name on a session or at the Opry in the house band, I know it's gonna be a good one," said Eric Borash, current band leader and guitar player for Thomas Rhett. "He really goes beyond what's written on the chart. His feel is always so spot-on and comfortable, like we've played it a hundred times. It's always a blast!"

Mark summed up his big career changing moments this way, "There are many 'first' career changers because a music career always changes."

Even after all he has accomplished so far, anyone that knows Mark knows he's got a legendary career ahead!

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