“The Nanaimo Blues Society has had the pleasure of working with Mark Crissinger over the last few years. Crissinger brings an exciting element to the stage. He certainly is a crowd pleaser especially with his enthusiasm. He captivates the audience with his hard-driven blues and his tremendous stage presence. Interacting with the audience has certainly proven to be a real crowd pleaser. A talented song writer, Mark brings his own version of the blues. Strong vocals, superb guitar riffs and his own brand of magic creates an atmosphere that gets the people dancing. Mark is a multi-faceted musician who never tires of playing the blues. A standout in any crowd, Mark works extremely hard at promoting his own style of music and ensuring that the music scene across Canada has original music to listen to. He is always a crowd favourite at the Nanaimo Blues Society Jam. The “Summertime Blues” festival has had Mark Crissinger bring an exciting component to the music fans of Nanaimo. The Nanaimo Blues Society is proud to endorse Mark. You will not be disappointed.”
Gerold Haukenfrers – President of the Nanaimo Blues Society
Mark Crissinger is a hard-working blues musician who always seems to be playing somewhere in the Vancouver Island area and whose determination and love for what he does has driven him to carve out a career in music. A gifted and prolific songwriter Night Light is Crissinger’s fifth solo release. Stocked with ten original compositions and absolutely no fillers; it’s an impressive release from a gifted musician and songwriter.
With production by Crissinger himself in collaboration with the talented Rick Salt of Mountainview Studios in Nanaimo BC, Night Light glistens with stunning sonic clarity and incredible performances. Crissinger has assembled a solid crew of veteran players from the mid Vancouver Island area including drummer Bill Hicks, bassist Jay Stevens, keyboard player Dan Dube, and harmonica man Marty Howe, who blows some smoky licks over the band’s seriously infectious grooves.
In my opinion Crissinger’s voice seems almost too sweet for someone who is supposed to have the blues and his songs are filled with positive anecdotes about how to navigate the hard knocks life tends to throw at you. It’s more like blues therapy administered through a polished collection of rockin’ dance songs.
Leaning more toward high octane rhythm and blues and country fried boogie rather than dredging the bayous in search of rust bucket stories of bad luck and hard times Night Light is a definite pick me up. Featuring guest contributions by Jerome Godboo on harmonica, Pat Rush and Steve Hill on slide guitar and Jeff Heisholt on organ, Night Light is an album dedicated to the positive distraction and the desire to get your dance on. Definitely a record designed to lighten your mind and deliver some sunshine into the darkness of the winter months.
DaveORama.com -BC Musician Magazine
“This Canadian white boy with the blues has been plying his trade across Canada for so long you’d figure they’d be using him as a heat source by now. An accomplished pro at the kind of good time choogling blues that skilled folkies know how to do, this sound has been forged over reading audiences at a million shows and he knows how to channel it into fun entertainment. The kind of party album that’s perfect for people that like to have fun with a drink or two without getting wasted, it’s kind of a special treat to hear something mainstream that doesn’t talk down to the audience. This is what smoking journeymen used to sound like when college coffeehouses would rock all night long.”
Midwest Blues Review
Hamilton’s everyman soul has seeped into Night Light, the newest offering from BC Bluesman
Mark Crissinger. Partly-recorded at Hamilton’s Westmoreland Studio, the no-nonsense, meat and potatoes feel of the city is all over the album. Mark and the gang have thrown in all types of Blues stylings: country, boogie woogie, soulful, rockin’ and more to keep things very interesting. With down-to-earth, slice-of-life lyrics and well crafted songs, the albums of the highest calibre. This is due to Mark’s amazing vocal/guitar skills and his choice of a fabulous backing band.
Hamilton B Lous – 2016 Hamilton Blues Lovers
“I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Night Light, from Mark Crissinger and it spans the blues country rock spectrum. Opening with light blues rocker, Holding My Heart, Crissinger leads the way on guitar and vocal. Joined by Dan Dube on piano, Marty Howe on harp, Jay Stevens on bass and Bill Hicks on drums this is a crisp entry. A soft edged country rocker, Poor Boy Blues, has traces of Skynyrd and Allmans for a certain popular hook. Pat Hook adds some tasty slide guitar work to Crissinger’s fluid finger work and Jeff Heisholt warms it up with organ. Title track, Night Light, has an easy shuffle feel with some real nice harp work from Jerome Godboo. Boogie track, Defeated, has a cool edge and some cool flashy guitar work over solid tom tom work for a driving rocker. Rock and roller, The Sunday Blues, really digs in with a solid bottom and cool piano work from Dube. Crissinger pulls out the stops with a real nice Chuck Berry like guitar riff of his own. Very cool. Instrumental, Cedar Shuffle, flies low with Dube, Howe, Stevens, Hicks and Crissinger hitting a smooth groove and a particularly cool steel guitar solo. Wrapping the release is Run, a nicely written ballad with cool bass riffs and some of Crissinger’s best vocals on the release, juxtaposed against acoustic and electric soloing.”
Melodic blues from the B.C.-based veteran, who brings a highly developed sense of song writing to the multiples styles on his latest solo album. On the ten originals here, Crissinger and his band show off their versatility, adjacent songs often greatly different, such as Night Light’s jazzy knack to Defeated’s harder edge and smoking solo, on to One of These Days’ lighthearted country-boogie. Crissinger works hard on his lyrics, using modern themes and lines instead of getting stuck trying to use yesterday’s blues writing. That helps lend an openness to the whole set, with quite different numbers such as Wild Wind Fever, which features dramatic slide guitar through much of the song, but also some easy-going verses, keeping the song catchy. A Simple Truth is mellow, soulful ballad that again hits home with a winning melody. Add in Marty Howe’s strong harp playing throughout, and it’s a start-to-finish strong album.
Bob Mersereau – http://top100canadianblog.blogspot.ca (2017)
Mark Crissinger moved to Nanaimo from the GTA in 2007, although his hard touring doesn’t find him there very often.
In fact, he’s going to be here again in December to showcase his new, fifth, solo disc. It’s a collection of ten originals that combine ‘clever lyrics, traditional theme sand modern arrangements’ in what he calls ‘new blues’. The best of these is “Wild Wind Fever”, an acoustic country blues that develops into a blues-rock anthem with Steve Hill guesting marvellously on slide. The opening “Holding My Heart” is another highlight, a rocker that serves its purpose very well. “Poor Boy Blues” is his chosen career path, a nicely written tune that features Pat Rush on slide. The title song is, unusually, a slow blues about how easily he can stray. Jerome Godboo’s harp work here is a treat. “The Sunday Blues ”is a dance floor filler for sure and not necessarily only on Sundays. Crissinger himself is a very good guitarist and a somewhat laconic vocalist but that suits his songs well.
John Valenteyn – 2016 Maple Blues Magazine
“I hired The Crissinger Band for the 2014 Parksville Beach Festival. I would like to say what a pleasure it was to work with him and his band. They brought a good variety of songs both original and covers and played them professionally pleasing the crowd immensely.
Mark is a real character and had a good rapport with the audience ensuring there were no dead spots in their performance. I would not hesitate to hire him again. I highly recommend them.”
Sharon Franzen – 2014 Entertainment Director of The Parksville Beach Festival
“Mark Crissinger hails from Nanaimo now but he was a long-time Toronto resident. On this disc he’s backed by Bill Hicks on drums, Jeff Heisholt on keys, Martyn Jones on bass and Marty Howe on harmonica. With these bands and solo he has an extensive recording history and that experience shows on this disc. He clearly hasn’t restricted himself to blues but with this disc he’s decided to do exactly that. “Celebration Blues” invites everyone to have a good time and is a most effective opener. “Shake A Leg” is an excellent rocker, with Heisholt in full Jerry Lee Lewis mold. Crissinger is a very good guitarist and his solo here is a killer. “In Love With A Liar” slows things down a little bit for an attractive slice of R&B. “5000 Miles (from home)” is a gorgeous road song with prominent organ and harmonica. “Blues Expression” is Crissinger’s ‘Why I Sing The Blues’ and he has some very good answers for that question. Our loss is Nanaimo’s gain.”
John Valenteyn – 2015 Maple Blues Magazine
“Out of B.C. chugs Mark Crissinger, although he did twenty years in Toronto, schooled at the Elmo, the Horseshoe, Grossman’s, etc., a member of various bands and outfits. After some rock and roots outings, he’s settled back in the blues, a re-birth in a way. There’s no falling back on covers on this one, it features a full twelve original cuts, Crissinger obviously ready to express himself this way. Crissinger has that rare asset for a blues guy, quite a pleasing voice. So not only are you getting wall-to-wall solid grooves, there’s a polish to the performance as well. The tunes range from laid-back to excited, his band able to pound when called on, and Crissinger an able guitar slinger and soloist as well. Plus, the sound on the disc is crisp and clean, with the arrangements vibrant. Writer, singer, player, bandleader, recording artist, as they say in baseball, he’s a five-tool star. Great to have him on the blues side.”
Bob Mersereau – http://top100canadianblog.blogspot.ca
“Blues Expression is a fitting title for this 2015 release which is getting national airplay. Throughout the CD, Crissinger celebrates various blues sub genres within the band’s own style from bar room twelve bar blues to Boogie-woogie, Swing, Hop, Texas Blues to many more. The CD begins with a toe tapping energy shot aptly named Celebration Blues which sets the stage for nearly an hour of great music. Mark Crissinger’s veteran guitar skills are quickly apparent from the beginning as his licks and memorable solos are performed with the musical maturity acquired by years of experience. The entire band is tight throughout this CD which makes the musical journey that much more exciting. Jeff Heisholt’s keyboard prowess and Marty Howe’s playfully enticing harp style works perfectly in unison with Bill Hicks steady beat, Martyn Jones strong back bone bass lines and Mark’s consistently solid vocals and playing. If you’re looking for real music…this is it.”
Darren Anderson – Nanaimo Blues Society Newsletter
“Mark can play classic Blues in many styles. He can inject soul, rock, boogie into his sound . This is good, old-fashioned meat and potatoes music without too many unnecessary frills”.
Hamilton B Lous – 2015 Hamilton Blues Lovers