Favorite Sessions

John Mark Nelson: A Teenager With Serious Talent

When people hear John Mark Nelson's music for the first time, there's often a sense of disbelief. With arrangements that recall the work of veteran songwriters, the 19-year-old Minnetonka, Minn., native has been recording sophisticated compositions since he was 14.

Like a younger version of Dirty Projectors frontman David Longstreth, Nelson possesses incredible attention to detail, with instrumentation and lyricism that feel completely plotted out, yet still fresh and new. Since the release of his album Waiting and Waiting, Nelson has sold out his album-release show, was tapped for First Avenue's Best New Bands showcase, opened the first night of The Current's birthday party and has supported a slew of national touring acts in the Twin Cities. A third album is already in the works, and he's launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its proper recording in a studio setting with fuller orchestration.

Speaking of fuller orchestration, Nelson has a string quartet join his five-piece band — high-school friends Cameron LeCrone, Nic Eggert, Grace Keating, John Cushing and Benjamin Kelly — for this, his radio debut.

  • Audio: Michael DeMark
  • Photos/Video: Nate Ryan
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