Mark McAbee, Extraordinary Vocalist
Story: Kimberly Carlson Photos: Heather Armstrong
Vocalist, guitar player, songwriter and DJ Mark McAbee of Clear Cut Entertainment is a multifaceted man. Whether singing solo, playing with his band at a local restaurant or spinning CDs at a wedding, McAbee fills a venue with music.
The Clear Cut Band has been playing for more than 14 years throughout the North State. Music lovers come to hear originals and cover tunes from Jason Schroeder, Mike Basial, Brain Ottman and McAbee. Schroeder, lead guitarist and owner of Schroeder Guitars, says, “Mark is a Wikipedia of song lyrics. He and I have always worked extremely well together because he knows almost every lyric ever sung on the radio, and I know most guitar parts. So we have the ability to play songs on the fly, and often do when asked at our shows.”
McAbee enjoys playing cover tunes and recognizes that audiences like familiar songs. Schroeder says, “Mark keeps up with the pulse of modern music without being trendy and can also add a completely fresh take on classic rock music.”
He is known for his strong and unique voice. “Mark is an insanely gifted singer with a tone that you really can’t learn,” explains Schroeder. “He has the ability to not only emulate the tones of great vocalists, he has a unique style and delivery that most singers could only dream of. The texture and tone of his voice sets him above the most talented singers.”
McAbee grew up listening to The Wallflowers and The Smashing Pumpkins. “With those bands, the riffs are simple, and lyrics can be simple and complex,” explains McAbee. His originals have catchy melodies and straightforward lyrics. In his song, L.O.V.E., dedicated to his wife Rebecca, he writes, “You just might be my new addiction/The cops showed up and gave us something to run from/I say I love you and you laugh in my face.”
McAbee grew up in Happy Valley and attended West Valley High School in Cottonwood. He and Rebecca have two children, and they relish the local treasures like Castle Crags, Whiskeytown and Lake Shasta.
A favorite gig for McAbee and Clear Cut Entertainment is playing at weddings. He is known as the one-stop music guy for brides: He sings and plays the guitar as the bride walks down the aisle, and at the beginning of many receptions. Bride Sierra Beyer says, “McAbee sang our special songs, and man can he sing! All of our guests, like literally all of them, were commenting on how wonderful he is.” Later during the reception, he dons his DJ hat. Some brides choose to hire the Clear Cut band to play at the reception.
Though he is a fun and professional DJ, and as Schroeder tells it, “McAbee can kill a rock performance,” his vocal quality can be heard and felt when he plays acoustically. “He and I have played two-man acoustic shows from living rooms to the Cascade Theatre and it is, in my opinion, the best way to experience Mark’s voice,” Schroeder says. “There have been so many moments where even though I am playing right next to him, I have hair standing up on the back of my neck because of some emotion he touches when he sings a lyric in the way only he can.” •