Mark Spoelstra was born June 30, 1940 in Kansas City, Missouri.
He dreamt of being a guitar player at the tender age of seven
years old. By the age of 11, he was playing his first real guitar,
and by 18 he had begun to establish himself as a professional
musician. After graduating from Arcadia High in 1958, he joined
a long stream of musicians pouring into Greenwich Village, singing
on street corners all night for a few dollars to buy his next
day’s food. It was during this time that he met an equally
struggling singer/songwriter with whom he would play at various
times during the next several years; Bob Dylan.
In 1961, his first break came and he recorded two albums for
Folkway Records. Shortly afterward, he signed with and began
recording for Elektra Records. In 1965, he performed at the
Newport Folk Festival. Following a stint in the military, he
began a tour of the eastern United States, Canada, and Holland
and was listed in Who’s Who in America. During the main
part of his career, Mark recorded six albums. Some of his music
can be found in the soundtrack of the film, “Elecktraglide
in Blue” starring Robert Blake.
By the time 1969 rolled around, Mark and his wife, Sherry,
were nearly starving. Mark’s career had never caught on
commercially although he had achieved considerable critical
success. At this time a minister befriended Mark and Sherry
and urged them toward recognizing a need for God in their lives.
By genuine invitation, Mark and Sherry asked Jesus Christ to
come into their lives. For the next eight years, Mark gave up
the music business and devoted his life to his ministry. In
1976, he recorded his seventh album, “Somehow, I Always
Knew”. He began to integrate his music with his ministry.
Mark was, again out of the recording industry for the next
24 years. In 2001 he recorded and released “Out of My
Hands”, an album of mostly original compositions. Music
critic, Zac Johnson said of this effort, “his days of
dueting with a young Bob Dylan may be far behind him, but his
passion for clear, Delta-influenced guitar work and his bright
vocals are none the worse for wear. His chiming 12-string guitar
songs evoke the simple and powerful work of Leadbelly, while
his duets with harmonica players Rick Levine and Chris Christensen
showcase the influence of friends Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.”
Johnson concludes his comments by adding, “Shining through
all of these pedigreed influences is Spoelstra’s own winning
intimacy and good-naturedness, which really makes every song
High praise, indeed, for one of our own!