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Mark Rubin: Jew of Oklahoma

Mark Rubin, the Jew of Oklahoma, photo by John Stansell

“Musical provocateur Mark Rubin leads the most heroic life of any musician I know in Texas. He’s a “Gentleman Musicianer and Sorry Entertainer,” to put it mildly. And being at the front line of the Klezmer revival is but one of the many roads he travels.” JOSH ALAN FRIEDMAN, Dallas Observer

“With Passover beginning tomorrow night, I can’t think of a better time to listen to Mark Rubin’s fabulous “The Dark Side Has Doughnuts” over and over and over again, along with all the other songs on his really remarkable (and often very funny) new album, “Songs for the Hangman’s Daughter.” Check it out at Band Camp, where Mark’s selling it on a pay-what-you-can basis. It’s the best singer-songwriter album I’ve heard in a very long time.” Michael Wex NYT Best Selling author

“The best way to be faithful to musical traditions is very rarely to go for the slavish copy. Slavish is never a good look. It invariably sounds like what it is, a copy of something. For my money, the artists who come closest to capturing what I love about old music are not the ones who have worked for years to get every note just right, to sound exactly like their examples, but the ones who seem to have an instinctive grasp of the energy of the music, of it’s heart, of what makes it special; those who have the ability to channel that understanding into the music they make. You can include Mark Rubin’s work in that category” Lyons Recorder, Lyons CO, 2010

“There’s Jews in Oklahoma?” Yup. It’s BBQ, not Bagels. And we’re not a punchline.

Oklahoma-born, Texas-reared, and now living in New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin is an unabashed Southern Jew, known equally for his muscular musicianship and larger-than-life persona. Over an accomplished 30+ year career, he has accompanied or produced a virtual who’s-who of American traditional music, while straddling numerous musical genres, including Country, Western Swing, Bluegrass, Cajun, Tex-Mex, Polka, Klezmer, Romani, and more. He is perhaps best known for co-founding the notorious proto-Americana band Bad Livers, though his more recent work as a first call tuba and bass player in the klezmer music scene has now earned him equivalent notoriety.

His credits in the Jewish music world include long time collaborations with Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, The Other Europeans, and Andy Statman, as well as two decades on faculty at KlezKamp. He has been featured performer and instructor with multiple appearances at Toronto’s Ashkenaz Festival, Yiddish Summer Weimar, KlezFest London, KlezMore Wein, Festival of Jewish Culture Warsaw, Klezmer Festival Furth, Festival of Jewish Culture Krakow among others. Jew of Oklahoma debuted as a special feature at Ashkenaz in 2016.

Today, he lives and works as a professional musician in New Orleans and makes a study of the musical traditions and cultures of South Louisiana.

For more information visit Mark Rubin’s Wikipedia page.

I’d say we’re selling “An evening with Mark Rubin, the Jew of Oklahoma. Songs and stories from the rural South to Eastern Europe and back again.” Or something more clever.