Mark Toman

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Mark Toman is a lifetime musician and multi-instrumentalist who returned to playing music many years ago after watching a friend play washtub bass all night at a festival campfire. After going home to make one (the same one he still plays today, but with modifications) he became a washtub fixture around campsites at a number of music festivals. Then he received a hammered dulcimer (HD) as a gift after seeing Walt Michaels play at a Bluegrass Festival and totally digging on it. After sporadically playing the HD over the years, he was accepted into the legendary Shack in Lambertville NJ where his talent on this instrument was allowed to blossom. Needing more musical space for his contributions, Mark and original Shacker guitarist Tim McKenzie branched out for a different sound where the HD has musical room to roam. This has evolved into Instantly Radioactive, where Mark now incorporates the HD, 12-string guitar, theremin, ukulele and bowed psaltery as per his whim, and IR is active today. Mark also appears at drum circles and fire ceremonies with his wooden frog instrument and other percussion, and does solo work (and loves to jam).
Recently, Mark has found a happy welcome for the original washtub bass in the Back Porch Jug Band and is thrilled to be playing the instrument that started off his whole musical resurgence. His tub now has a number of innovations that make it more playable. In addition, when you watch him play, you might note that his playing style differs from other washtub bassmen as he plays with his pulling thumb stuck in his ear. This allows him to ‘be the note’ as the tones produced by the bass resonate throughout his body producing accurate and inventive bass lines that hold down the band’s music. He has added bowed psaltery, musical saw, ukulele, flute and harmonica to the band’s mix and plans to add other instruments as time goes on.

Posted by Mark Toman: Posted 27 Feb 2016


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