Mark Schatz, a prominent player on the Nashville scene, has worked with artists such as Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, Maura O'Connell, John Hartford, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, and Tim O'Brien. He has twice been named IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Bass Player of the Year and has served as the musical director of the percussive dance ensemble Footworks. His solo debut, Brand New Old Tyme Way, was produced by Fleck for Rounder Records in 1995. The effort featured Schatz's clawhammer banjo and original compositions.
Schatz, who was born on April 23, 1955, began his musical training on cello at ten, later switching to string bass. He soon also picked up guitar and mandolin. During the mid-'70s, Schatz worked on a degree in music theory and composition at Haverford College, also studying at Boston's Berklee School of Music for a time. In addition, he picked up the banjo and learned to clog, inspired by his work with a Boston folk dance group. He befriended Fleck in 1977, an association that would lead to their working together on several projects throughout the years. In 1983, Schatz relocated to Nashville, playing country music on electric bass. He went acoustic again a few years later, joining the Tony Rice Unit. From 1990 to 1998, Schatz played with Tim and Mollie O'Brien, pausing only to release a critically lauded solo album in 1992. Despite Brand New Old Tyme Way's popularity, it wasn't until 2006 that he would release its follow-up, Steppin in the Boiler House. ~ Erik Hage, Rovi