Mark & Jill
Booking info:
For Booking Contact:
Mark Tolstrup
The Road To Memphis Blues Fundraiser.
VFW Post 420
190 Excelsior Ave.  
Saratoga Springs NY 12866
Saturday 12/4 @ 7pm

Two of Saratogas best blues acts preform A night of blues.
The George Fletcher Blues band and Jill and Mark sing the Blues who both won the regional qualifier to represent the Capital Region Blues Network (CRBN) at the  International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN. An annual worldwide Blues compilation.
They can use our help and support to get there so let's make it happen!  It will be a $10 donation but feel free to contribute more if you wish to do so!  Tickets will be available at the VFW Post 420 bar if you are interested or at the door. This is open to all!  The event will also have food available to purchase!  
Come and help send these great acts off to Memphis!
Mark & Jill Win The Capital Region Blues Network 
Solo/Duo Blues Challenge

Will Compete in the International Blues Challenge 
In Memphis January 18-22, 2022
Capital Region Blues Network board members with Duo Blues Challenge winners Mark & Jill. Left to Right Jeremy Walz, Sonny Speed, Mark Tolstrup, Jill Burnham, Richard Green and Margo Singer.

Mark & Jill won the Capital Region Blues Network Solo/Duo Blues Challenge on October 3, 2021. This event was held at Lost & Found Broadway, Albany, NY. This is their second win having previously won in 2019.

Winning this event qualifies Mark & Jill to Compete in The International Blues Challenge in Memphis January 19-22, 2022. 

Mark & Jill will be performing a send off to Memphis show at the venerable Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY on Friday January 7, 2022.

Mark & Jill
Roots blues Americana, gospel and soulful originals

Mark and Jill meld their vision and talent for a taste of New Orleans meets Austin. This is 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. They are two time  winners of the Capital Region Blues Network competition and will compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis January 18-22, 2022. 

Mark & Jill
Sing The Blues
CD Now Available
Recorded Live at Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY

"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

B-Mans Blues Report 

For more great blues reviews check out
Thursday, August 20, 2020

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live at Caffe Lena, from Mark (Tolstrup) and Jill (Burnham) and it's a solid dose of old school blues. Opening with Come Here Baby, Mark on vocal and guitar, Jill on vocal and complimented nicely by Frank Orsini on fiddle and backing vocal, you feel the ambiance of a small club in America nearly a century ago. Mark's slide and acoustic guitar playing is cool and Frank's fiddle playing tight. One of my favorites on the release is Elmore James track, Held My Baby. Lead vocal and nicely articulated slide guitar work by Mark, with Orsini taking a nice fiddle solo and lead vocals by Jill really gives this track a great feel. One of the tracks that really stands out for me is What You Gonna Do? with it's gospel roots. The vocal blending of Mark and Jill is solid and with Orsini on fiddle and nice guitar work by Mark, just really works. Wrapping the release is Blind Willie Johnson's Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning with it's gospel feel. With Mark leading the way and rich counter lead by Jill over the firm acoustic guitar work on Mark, this is a fine closer for a cool release.

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!