Mark & Jill
Sing The Blues
For Booking Contact:
Mark Tolstrup
We are very excited to have a show at the renown Bull Run in Shirley, MA.
Come join us with our friends Erin and Jim December 2.
Reserve you tickets HERE


We are very excited to have a summer residency gig every

Saturday 6-9pm in July & August at:








Reservations highly recommended.

Reserve a table HERE

Performance on PBS
WMHT A-Ha A House for the Arts
Click this link to watch the original song "She's on Top"

HURT - A Mississippi Inspiration:

Fundraiser for John Hurt Film Project

Saturday, April 29





Piedmont Bluz Duo - from NYC

Valerie and Benedict Turner

Annie & Jonny Rosen - from the capitol region

Annie and the Hedonists

Erin Harpe Duo - from Boston

Erin Harpe & Jim Countryman

Mark & Jill - from Saratoga

Mark Tolstrup & Jill Burnham

Mississippi John Hurt

A musical tribute & fundraiser for the legacy of Mississippi John Hurt, a vastly influential Delta bluesman whose impact reverberates today. The proceeds from this show will help the Mississippi John Hurt foundation in their efforts to finish the film on this great bluesman's life and legacy.

Mississippi John Hurt Foundation

Watch a clip of the film on YouTube

Featured Performers

Piedmont Bluz

 The Piedmont Blūz Acoustic Duo are ambassadors of Country Blues music and the Piedmont style of fingerpicking. Their mission is to help bring awareness to this unique aspect of African-American culture, and to the contributions of early blues artists, through performing and teaching.


Erin Harpe Country Blues Duo

Erin and Jim have toured all over the US and Europe, and opened for many great blues artists. Erin is also an educator, and has taught workshops on country blues guitar in the US (nd Europe, and has released an instructional video through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop entitled “Women of the Country Blues”.

Annie & Jonny Rosen

Annie is a captivating singer. She delivers a lyric like it was a cherished bedtime story; as comfortable as your favorite sweater. Along with Jonny Rosen they are first and foremost accomplished, serious musicians. More importantly, they each have an innate yet individual sense of child-like wonder.

Mark & Jill

NY Blues Hall of Fame bluesman Mark Tolstrup and sultry Texas singer Jill Burnham come together where the Delta meets the Rio Grande. Over a haunting slide guitar their voices soar and blend in harmony. Mark and Jill bring a fresh ?original interpretation to the earliest roots of the blues. Their original songs deal with both the hard realties of life and the joys of being alive..

?If you cannot come to the show you can contribute Mississippi John Hurt Film fund



You can also watch a livestream of the show at:


No blues singer ever presented a more gentle, genial image than Mississippi John Hurt – a guitarist with an extraordinarily lyrical and refined fingerpicking style, he also sang with a warmth unique in the field of blues. His gospel influence gave it a depth and reflective quality unusual in the field. (AllMusic). Hurt (July 3, 1893 - November 2, 1966) might have lived and died in obscurity, if it hadn’t been for the folk music revival of the late ’50s and early ’60s. A new generation of listeners and scholars suddenly expressed a deep interest in the music of America’s hinterlands, not only in listening to it but finding and preserving it. A scholar named Tom Hoskins discovered that Mississippi John Hurt, who hadn’t been heard from musically in over 35 years, was alive and living in Avalon, MS, and sought him out, following the trail laid down in Hurt’s song “Avalon Blues.” Their meeting was a fateful one; Hurt was in his 70s, and weary from a lifetime of backbreaking labor for pitifully small amounts of money, but his musical ability was intact, and he bore no ill-will against anyone who wanted to hear his music.


Hurt’s legacy at Caffe Lena dates to July 7-10, 1966. His mark on Saratoga Springs parallels his influence throughout the blues world. Countless guitar players started out by listening to and studying the fingerpicking style of John Hurt. This fundraiser features four duos playing the music by and inspired by Mississippi John Hurt. Monies raised will benefit the Mississippi John Hurt Foundation, established by Hurt’s granddaughter, Mary Frances Hurt. The Mississippi John Hurt Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted primarily to preserving the musical legacy and history of Mississippi John Hurt, while providing musical and educational opportunities to disadvantaged youth. Through the music of John Hurt, children and adult music fans alike are exposed to the rich oral, musical, and literary traditions of the Mississippi Delta and surrounding areas. Funds raised will also support a film, currently in production, about his life and legacy.


The Strand Theatre 
Mark and Jill Sing The Blues. 
Sunday, March 19
Guitar Workshop 1:00pm
Delta Blues Slide Guitar in Open G Tuning

Mark Tolstrup – Vocal & Guitar
Jill Burnham – Vocal

Tickets available at the door. 

Roots blues meets soulful Texas Smoke.

Based in Up State New York, Mark and Jill meld their vision and talent for a taste of New Orleans meets Austin. NY Blues Hall of Fame bluesman Mark Tolstrup and sultry Texas singer Jill Burnham come together where the Delta meets the Rio Grande. Over a haunting slide guitar their voices soar and blend in harmony. Mark and Jill bring a fresh original interpretation to the earliest roots of the blues. Their original songs deal with both the hard realties of life and the joys of being alive. 

Mark & Jill won the 2022 the Capital Region Thomas Edison Awards “Blues Artist of the Year”. They were the winners of the Capital Region Blues Network competition and were finalists in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis May, 2022. 
Workshop 1:00pm
Delta Blues Slide Guitar in Open G Tuning

This workshop will present picking, slide technique and riffs typical of traditional Delta Blues. Open G tuning, sometimes called Spanish tuning DGDGBD is commonly used in Delta blues. This tuning offers a wealth of accompanying groove and melodic possibilities. In this workshop we will work on some of the fundamentals that will get you start in this iconic American musical style.


Happy Holidays from Mark & Jill

Thanks to everyone who helped make this a great year.
Looking forward to more good things to come in 2023.
Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards
Mark & Jill
Blues Artists of the Year
The 4th annual Thomas Edison Capital Region Music Awards – aka the Eddies –  at Proctors in Schenectady April 25, 2022. 
Sang and played the blues together. Heard a lot of great music. 
Saw some old friends. Made some new friends.
"With a vocal delivery that clearly shows a marked sense of conviction, sultriness, and an overall sense of Delta-blues gravitas, Burnham really shines behind the mic.” - Lucas Garret
"Powerful female vocals, combined with tasteful guitar work and original material, enjoyed the set."
International Blues Challenge Judge

"Throughout their performance I kept thinking, quite literally, “Damn! It sounds like a slew of players on that stage, yet it’s only one guitar, two vocals, and an occasional tambourine!” - Lucas Garret, Nippertown

"Singin’ the blues, although stolen colloquially to indicate complaining about your situation, was intended to do just the opposite, to pull you out of your doldrums, to wave your fist at misfortune, face your troubles head on…howl at the moon.  Mark and Jill embrace that tradition by diving into the rich history of the music as well as paying it forward with their own heartfelt compositions."  
Joel Moss, producer

“An acoustic blues master with a genuine feel for the classic works of such blues legends as Robert Johnson, Son House and Leadbelly…”
Greg Haymes, Albany Times Union 

 "I am so pleased to find something to feel good about in the first half of 2020. The blues has brought many hearts and souls through hard times for over a century and I think you will be moved, inspired and soothed by this collection of ten songs."
Michael Jerling, Fools Hill Music

"Mark & Jill Sing the Blues will pep you up and soothe your soul! With Mark providing robust male vocals and crisp guitar and Jill in heartfelt harmony, they give one’s spirits a boost. Whether country, blues, or in between"
Rainy Wetnight, Blues Blast Magazine
"Sometimes you just know a performer is thinking about the drive, thinking about the turn-out, thinking about something other than the song. With Mark Tolstrup that is never the case. He is capable of bringing all of his mental and physical power to bear on each moment of music. He becomes completely at one with his instrument, with the journey of the song, with the rebirthing of it into the present moment. In that regard he reminds me of Kelly Joe Phelps. But when the song is over, he brings all that same energy into developing a repoire with the audience. His confidence and desire to do right by his listeners is unsurpassed. I know that’s why the size of his audience has grown so rapidly here at Caffe Lena over the past few years."  Sarah Craig, manager  of  Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY

"Mark Tolstrup melds rock, blues, ragtime and jazz on Root Magic but sticks closest (and most authentically) to the sounds of the Mississippi Delta: Robert Johnson, Son House and even Muddy Waters. Tolstrup’s aggressive fingerstyle guitar and slide National Steel make this album worth hearing." Chip O’Brian, Blues Revue Magazine

"It's a gem of an album with the guitarist-vocalist balancing a strong selection of rippling, slashing original tunes with nuggets from the song bag of such greats as Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and Leadbelly."    Greg Haymes -Albany Times Union

"Mark, Thanks for holding on to the traditional blues sound and representing it so well."Dr. David Evans - Highwater Records

"He has that raw real sound that separates the posers from the genuine article"   Don Wilcock, Troy Record

"I really enjoyed this album for it’s unpretentious, tasty material and approach."      Bruce Iglauer-Alligator Records

"Thanks again for sending me your great album "Root Magic" Your mix of covers, traditionals and own songs makes it one of the best rootsblues releases I've heard this year."   Thomas Kaldijk, Radio show "Blueprint" Holland.

"When a guy makes a album with only his guitar, he`ll have to be good, because you can hear every mistakes, Mark does not have to think about that, he is not good, he is great, and with a Danish name, and since I`m from Denmark, he can change passport anytime, we would love to such a great musician in Denmark." Kjell Andreassen Radio Holstebro, Denmark
Blues Blast Magazine
SEPTEMBER 5, 2020 

 “Too blues for country, too country for the blues.” That’s the motto of the Nouveaux Honkies, and the title of their signature song. However, it also applies to the style of New York’s Mark Tolstrup and Jill Burnham, performing live from Saratoga Springs’ Caffè Lena on their newest album, Mark & Jill Sing the Blues. This warm, unpretentious release features ten songs tailor-made for lovers of folk and mellow blues. As Mark himself says, “There’s an honesty to it. The songs have stories to them. I don’t like music that’s too smooth or contrived.” As a New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee, he knows what he and his audience are after. Right before COVID-19 struck the world, on January 18, 2020, Mark and Jill performed this live concert, not knowing it would be one of their last. They relaxed and energized an appreciative crowd, like hot java is supposed to do. With Mark providing robust male vocals and Jill in heartfelt harmony, they give one’s spirits a boost. Whether country, blues, or in between, that’s what music is meant for.

Sarah Craig, the executive director of Caffè Lena, offers high praise for our leading man: “Sometimes you know a performer is thinking about something other than the song. With Mark Tolstrup, that is never the case. He becomes completely at one with his instrument, with the journey of the song.” This wholehearted dedication to their art has led Mark and Jill to become the winners of the Capital Region Blues Network 2019 competition, and to compete in the International Blues Challenge on January 28, 2020. Such accolades are richly deserved.

Although this is a duo album, guest musician Frank Orsini accompanies Mark and Jill on vocal harmony, fiddle and mandolin.

“Come Here, Baby,” a Tolstrup original, begins the live concert and gets the audience in a pure-blues mood. Mark’s guitar, as crisp as the winter day on which it was performed, lulls one into a trance from the opening notes of the intro. Frank Orsini’s fiddle is like hot butter on pancakes: the perfect finishing touch. Next comes Ry Cooder’s “I Got Mine,” an old-fashioned ditty about gambling – and getting away with the winnings after you’ve clearly lost. “Thirty dollar bet was laying on the table. My buddy’s point was nine. Then the police came, and I grabbed all of them, and I got mine. I got mine…Out the back door I went flying!” A sizzling cover of Elmore James’ “Held My Baby” follows a bit farther down the line, as does one of the most heartbreaking songs yours truly has ever heard: “How Birds Fly,” a meditation on the fallout of alcoholism and drug abuse. The next three gospel songs remind us to love our neighbor and follow the Golden Rule “or you might not get it at all.” Such a prescription is sorely needed.

Mark & Jill Sing the Blues will pep you up and soothe your soul!