A serious student of “fat tone” harmonica, Mark “Bird” Stafford subscribes to the teachings of the masters: Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter Jacobs, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells and James Cotton, imbuing what he’s learned with a healthy dose of his own creativity. From the frenzy he can generate from a crowd and on a dance floor to the smooth, mercurial side of his musical personality, Mark pours it on with a highly-polished singing voice and the comparably subtle, expressive tones of his accomplished harpmanship. Those who have been to Bird’s church are the first to testify but never the last.
He’s an active participant in the Toronto Blues Society’s “Blues In The Schools” program and finds time to immerse himself in the International Milk Festival’s musical events. A tireless performer, chances are good you’ll catch him sitting in with a variety of better bands or featured acts wherever he and his harp may travel. If the blues come to your town, expect a Bird sighting. Because Mark, like the song says, is happiest when he’s working overtime.
The energy Mark applies to his favourite musical styles – from Chicago blues to swing, R&B, jump, funk and most things in-between – is entirely his own and born of his love of enthusiastic crowds. From suave, soulful and sophisticated, to hard-rockin’, hard-boppin’ and just plain hard-not-to-love, Mark is – and remains – the word. It’s taken the better part of a most colourful lifetime to refine his craft into its patented state of consistently cool, crowd-pleasing entertainment. He’s a walking, talking example of one of the best lessons the road has ever taught — give the people what they want. All you need do is come on by and get some.
Excerpts taken from an article by Eric Thom
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2xYmbpVwlk "Live at the Delta" CD Release Party, Monarch's Pub, July 18, 2013, Jim Christakos, Tyler Burgess, Fabio Parovel and Dennis Pinhorn