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Escape Artists are Jay Baker, Wes Odom, & Mark Hill. A power trio with an extensive song list including rock, alternative, country, and dance music.
MARK SHEPARD HILL
Mark Shepard Hill didn't get a conventional start musically. He began fumbling around with power chords in high school picking out classic rock standards and simple riffs from bands such as KISS, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, and then current bands such as Nirvana. It wasn't until the mid 90's at college, in the dorms of Stephen F. Austin State University, that the bug to really play was born. Slowly, meeting various players and pickers at school, an informal education of guitar playing began to take shape. Hill soon teamed up with Mark Read, another college student with equivalent taste in music, and worked as an acoustic duo for a couple of years under the name "Hill and Read", playing small bars and frat parties. Hill joined, Poorman's Son, a Texas music cover band, cutting his teeth playing all the music of the emerging Tx Country scene at the time. (known as "red-dirt" today) Opening up shows for the likes of Jack Ingram, Robert Earl Keen, Billie Joe Shaver, Todd Snider, Roger Creager, and Pat Green in the late 90's whenever they'd come to the area paved the way and lit the fire to make music a full time endeavor. Hill decided to get serious and pursue a degree and headed to West Texas in 2001 to attend South Plains College's Commercial Music Program. There he studied Bluegrass, Country, and Rock under the tutelage of musical legends Alan Munde, Joe Carr, and John Hartin. Hill's palette grew immensely at school and became proficient on several instruments across multiple genres. Hill formed the Spring Creek Bluegrass Band, a group selected from bluegrass pickers at SPC and taken to work in Colorado in the summertime at Harmel's Ranch Resort. Many versions of "SpringCreek" formed throughout the years and the 3rd incarnation eventually stuck together and made a name for themselves, recording 4 records before breaking up after a decade of touring. Hill engineered and co-produced their first record "Cosmic and Rural Bluegrass" while working as a recording engineer at Caldwell Studios in Lubbock, Tx. Hill toured with several bands through the following years and even had a stint on bass for hill country legend Gary P Nunn playing all over TX.
Wes Odom has always had an ear for music. Even as a kindergartener sitting at his grandmother's piano he could pick out melodies playing on the radio and play along. Playing by ear would eventually lead him to the saxophone, guitar, bass, and harmonica. Wes joined VTAC in 1998 and Plush 1999 and played with both bands for several years. In 2000, VTAC opened for ZZ Top in Washington, D.C. at the Bush inauguration. In 2002, Wes moved to Los Angeles and collaborated with Gary Boren as a songwriter and artist, and fronted a Southern Rock original project name Wiseblood. Soon after moving back to East Texas, Wes was introduced to Mark Hill, and after becoming fast friends, they began playing a two-man acoustic show around local venues. Mark moved to Colorado briefly, and while he was away Wes began jamming with Jay Baker and the two played a few acoustic gigs. Wes knew that the three musicians would be a powerful live act, and he planned for months to get everyone together. In the Summer of 2013, shortly after Mark's return to Texas, the group got together and played for the first time. The rest, as they say, is history.
Music has always been a huge part of Escape Artists’ Jay Baker’s life, so when he and a group of his musical friends were able to land his first public performance playing the senior song live at the Senior Pep Rally for the Class of 1998, he jumped at the chance. Once he and the band landed the Valentine’s Day Dance gig the following spring, he was hooked. Since then, Jay has performed in several different bands from behind the drum kit as well as playing guitar in the acoustic duo “Jay & Gio” in Nacogdoches and fronting the original rock outfit The Vehicle Reason. The latter group garnered quite a large regional following and even scored endorsements from brands such as Hercules Stands and Sennheiser Microphones as well as landing several placements on MTV’s The Hills and The Real World. Making it as a rockstar proved to be just as hard as the band predicted and they disbanded in 2011. Searching for an outlet for his musical appetite, Jay soon hooked up with Wes Odom and Mark Hill and the three began jamming and rehearsing for what would become Escape Artists. The newly formed cover project showcases Jay’s drum chops, Wes’s driving bass guitar style and Mark’s eclectic guitar shredding drenched in two and three part vocal harmony. Together the three dip into musical territory from 60’s classics, 90’s country and alternative rock from decades past to today’s rock standards.