Oral History Information
Mark Casstevens has always had a deep passion for music. He sang in church choirs and began piano lessons at age six, eventually teaching himself guitar. In high school in Ft. Worth, TX, Casstevens played the five-string banjo in his bluegrass/comedy trio, the Mildew Brothers. During the Great Folk Scare of the 1960’s Casstevens played upright bass, guitar and mandolin and in 1969 recorded in Nashville's storied Columbia studios. That visit cemented a commitment to become a Nashville studio musician. After earning a BA in English at the University of Texas at Austin, Casstevens made the move to Nashville on Labor Day of 1971. Before his session career was cut short for health reasons, he played on 813 albums and 99 # 1 Billboard country singles. Casstevens worked on albums by Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Toby Keith, Glen Campbell, Kenny Chesney, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, Alabama, the Judds, and others. His mentors and heroes were the late Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. In 2004, Casstevens recorded an instrumental album of his original fingerstyle acoustic guitar compositions, Acoustic Inventions. The Academy of Country Music awarded him the 2002 award for Specialty Instrumentalist. In 1989, Casstevens got the call to be one of the G Men, the seven players who performed on all of Garth Brooks’ albums which have sold 177 million copies to date. The G Men were inducted to the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2016.