September 18, 2017 – Mark Selby was born in September 2, 1961. Born and raised in Enid, Oklahoma, Selby spent his youth harvesting wheat and playing in bands throughout the Midwest before moving to Hays, Kansas to attend Fort Hays University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music.
He was musically gifted in three ways: as a songwriter, a singer with a soulful voice and a guitarist with some impressive chops. His future as a blues rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and producer started in Germany, where he signed as a solo artist to ZYX Records. Selby released a number of solo albums. The first two projects, More Storms Comin’ and Dirt were on Vanguard Records. After signing with ZYX in Merenberg, Germany, he released his next album, Mark Otis Selby And The Horse He Rode In On. This all-acoustic release featured Selby’s 1974 Mossman guitar and spurred a broad audience in Germany and Switzerland.
Selby is perhaps best known for the number of songs that he co-wrote with the blues-rock guitar virtuoso Kenny Wayne Shepherd, which includes the No. 1 single, “Blue on Black”. This song was was #1 for 17 weeks and also Billboard magazine mainstream rock track of the year in 1998. With Shepherd, other co-writes include “Deja Voodoo,” “Slow Ride,” and “Last Goodbye.”
Selby collaborated with his wife Tia Sillers on the No. 1 song, “There’s Your Trouble”, which was recorded by the Dixie Chicks and won the band their first Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1999. Selby had several of his songs recorded by many other artists including Wynonna, Little Big Town, Trisha Yearwood, Johnny Reid, Jo Dee Messina, Lee Roy Parnell and Keb’ Mo’. His wife wrote the huge Jo Dee Messina country cross over hit ‘I hope You Dance’.
Selby also showcased his guitar virtuosity and soulful vocals on internationally-acclaimed albums for the Vanguard and ZYX labels, and toured or recorded with artists as diverse as B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Kenny Rogers, Wynona and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He also plays guitar in recording sessions for musical artists such as Kenny Rogers, Johnny Reid, Keni Thomas, Jimmy Hall, and Wynonna Judd.
A more recent project, Nine Pound Hammer, was released in 2008. He has worked with the Grammy winning record producer Brent Maher on all of his projects.
His Live At Rockpalast was a #1-selling music DVD in Germany. Selby was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
When asked to describe some of his influences, he notes, “When I was younger, I really got into an Eric Clapton anthology that had a cross selection of songs he was well known for, and some spontaneous jams with Jimmy Page and Muddy Waters. There was so much emotion and a big slice of life in those songs performed by the old blues players…Billy Gibbons was also a very big influence…He had a great way of synthesizing a lot of great styles and making it his own.”
Selby died on September 18, 2017 from cancer at the age of 56.