Ham Jam House -Concert

Mark Ambrose & Brian Kalinec

Mark Ambrose & Brian Kalinec will play a fine acoustic concert on Sunday, February 16th, at 2:00 PM.

Mark Ambrose 206x300
Brian Kalinec 389x576
Mark Ambrose
Brian Kalinec

American singer-songwriter, Mark Ambrose has been turning out songs faithful to the Texas folk/roots tradition yet still sounding like a much needed revival for our modern times. His voice, effortless flatpicking guitar style, humor and sincere delivery will win an audience over. “A talent that is sure to be a force in roots country music (Roots Music Report)”. His album “Troubadour (2011)” has songs like “Train Whistle Blues” that have the feel of an instant classic. Meanwhile songs like “Shadow on the Moon” and “Redbirds” speak to the depth and romance embedded in Mark’s songwriting, as he addresses matters of the human spirit and the heart. At least a couple dozen artists have either performed or recorded Mark’s songs including Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch and Austin stalwart Toni Price. His particular charm, laidback and charismatic, is deceptively simple but also satisfyingly profound as the very best of folk music should be.

Mark Ambrose is the kind of songwriter you might happen on some late-spring evening under a tree at Kerrville, or one night in someone’s living room or at your favorite local listening room venue. As the title of his recent live compilation album Troubadour suggests, Mark Ambrose is the real thing: a hard-working songsmith whose voice, song-wisdoms, effortless flatpicking guitar style (whether playing rhythm or lead), and sincere delivery remind us what it really means to "talk story" through song. Mark Ambrose clearly upholds the folk tradition and integrity of the “old guard”—Townes, Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack, Guy Clark, and other bonafide troubadours who have traveled this same dusty road.

Born and raised in Chicago, Mark Ambrose was working on a horse ranch when he first fell in love with Texas music through Jerry Jeff Walker. At the same time he was being steeped in the blues—from Muddy Waters, hanging round in blues clubs in Chicago, and even playing guitar with Junior Wells. A turning point came for Ambrose when he met Bill Monroe after a show and sat down and sang a song for him. Bill Monroe sang harmony to it and then told Ambrose to come to Nashville and get to know people. So Mark loaded his guitar and his girlfriend into his ’72 Dodge Dart and they headed for Nashville.

In Nashville, Mark Ambrose soon drifted to the Texas side of town, meeting friends like songwriter Doak Snead, who introduced him to Townes Van Zandt. Townes showed Mark how to fingerpick and opened doors for him on the songwriting process. Townes reinforced the freedom in songwriting that Mark would later realize, “I already knew was there.”

Mark spent some years honing his craft traveling between Nashville and Texas, before deciding he needed to track Texas music to its roots. So he moved to Austin where he now resides. In Austin, stories and songs came alive for Mark and his writing started to really dig in, turning up songs faithful to the Texas folk/roots tradition yet still sounding like a much-needed revival for our modern times. Songs like “Train Whistle Blues” will strike the listener with the feel of an instant classic—familiar yet you know you haven’t heard this one yet. Meanwhile, songs like “Shadow on the MoonRedbirds” speak to the depth and romance embedded in Mark’s songwriting, as he addresses matters of the human spirit and the heart.

In Texas, Mark continued to ramble and write, playing shows with Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, the Dave Rawlings Machine (with members of Old Crow Medicine Show), and others. His guitar playing was recognized by Gillian Welch who asked him to come play guitar (acoustic and electric) on her CD, Soul Journey. Mark’s guitar playing can be heard on the single “Look At Miss Ohio.” Mark Ambrose’s modest but earnest contributions to Americana music are beginning to be noticed. At least a couple dozen artists have either sung or recorded Mark’s songs, including live performances of “Willie the Outlaw” by Dave Rawlings, and recordings of “Shadow on the Moon” and “Suitcase Full of Tears” by Austin stalwart Toni Price. “Shadow on the Moon” also won First Place in the Singer/Songwriter category of the Austin Songwriters Group Song Contest in 2011. As a songwriter working under the aegis of folk/blues/Americana/country music, Mark Ambrose’s style is deceptively simple yet, in that simplicity and sincerity, also satisfyingly profound—as the very best of folk music should be.

As a performer Mark Ambrose will win the audience over with his particular charm, laidback and charismatic, yet brimming with musical integrity. He brings magic and spontaneity to his song-sharing and storytelling; there is no distance between him and his audience. He’s all there with you in that room for every single second that he’s onstage. He’ll catch your eye while he’s singing, he’ll smile, and he’ll even mean it. Mark's music is refreshingly authentic and unpretentious, conveying an old-souled troubadour's view on today's world.


Brian Kalinec’s award-winning songwriting combines his early East Texas roots and his years of the Houston urban experience for his own particular view of the world. A native of Beaumont, Texas, Brian picked up the guitar at an early age and began to play dances,restaurants and clubs. Thus began a life spent crafting songs and nuturing songwriters. Brian’s writing resonates with audiences, fellow songwriters, and music lovers alike, as his recognition and concert attendance attest.

Songwriting has always been a passionate drive in Brian's musical life, one for which he has been recognized again and again. A past president of the venerable Houston Songwriters Association, Brian has a long and fruitful association with Texas songwriting. Brian co-produced the annual "Sonny Throckmorton Songwriter's Festival," sponsored by the HSA, in the 90s. He was a featured performer at the 75th anniversary of the discovery of the famed Spindletop gusher in Beaumont. He performed a song he wrote for his daughter Kerri titled "Challenged Child" at the 1980 National Convention of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.

Brian has been performing steadily for over a dozen years, and has been invited to perform at many famed venues in Texas and across the US, including numerous house concerts, coffeehouses and festivals, notably the Kerrville Folk Festival (2009). In 2010, Brian participated in the "Shoulder to the Stone" project benefitting the Haitian relief effort and was one of the artists on the compilation CD. In addition to songwriting, Brian is also the founder and President of Berkalin Records, a label which has released in addition to his own projects CDs by a number of notable award winning artists, including Matt Harlan, Jeff Talmadge, Bob Cheevers, the late Tim Henderson (whose last CD was produced by Brian), Jim Patton and Sherry Brokus, and George Ensle.

Brian’s significant awards and accomplishments include:
Winner of the 1st Annual Texas Songwriter’s Serenade songwriting contest at Fiddler’s Frolics - 2007

Music featured on ABC NewsWorld News Now

Nominated in the category of “Musician of the Year,” Texas Music Awards - 2008

Chosen as one of three finalists in the Rose Garden Songwriting Contest in Massachusetts - 2008

Regional finalist, Kerrville New Folk Competition - 2008

Finalist, Susanne Millsaps Songwriting Competition/FT (now Snowbird) Festival, Snowbird Resort, UT- 2008

2nd Place, Woody Guthrie Song Contest with his song “The Fence” - 2008

Winner, Big Top Chautauqua Song Contest, WI - 2008

Regional Finalist - Southwest in the Mountain Stage Newsong Contest - 2010

Finalist - Great American Song Contest - Contemporary Acoustic Folk - 2010

Recipient of Texas Music Awards' "MyTexan" Award for support of MyTexasMusic efforts and the music of their fellow members - 2012

2nd Place, CT Folk Festival Songwriting Contest, New Haven, Connecticut - 2012

Nominated for "Singer/Songwriter of the Year" - Texas Music Awards - 2013

Brian’s debut CD Last Man Standing was released on Berkalin Records in 2007; he has recently released a new CD "The Fence" which is garnering good airplay and charting in the US and Europe.

She's Broken Down Again - .mp4 Video
Shadow on the Moon - .mp4 Video

Brian Kalinec's YouTube Channel

Doors open at 2:00 and the concert is 3:00 to 5:00.
$15 suggested admission donation

BYOB and hors d'oeuvres are welcome!