The Trace (Keyboards, bass, harmonica, guitar, vocals)
I was born Mark Andrakowicz and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, graduating from Ottawa Hills High School. There was always music in our house when I was growing up. My dad was a great accordion player and my mother was a singer and my grandparents played the organ. I’ve always enjoyed a connection with music, singing in choirs since 4th grade and playing whatever instrument I could get my hands on growing up. When I was 12, I finally got a guitar for Christmas and began exploring my life’s greatest passion!
I started my professional music career in the 70’s in a West Michigan-based band called Dayspring. A bass player in the 7-piece “Chicago” style horn band, I also played keyboards. Since no one in the band could pronounce my real last name, they started calling me “Lamm” (Chicago’s keyboard player was Robert Lamm.) The name stuck. I always figured that my real last name wouldn’t fit on the marquis anyway so it was a good thing.
When my friend, Greg, the lead singer of the band, left to pursue acoustic music, I left with him and we formed a duo called “Martin & Lamm.” In 1976, we recorded our first album together entitled “Bittersweet.” It got a lot of airplay in Michigan. One local Grand Rapids station started and ended their broadcast day with my songs for 3 months. We appeared on The Buck Matthews Show more than a dozen times and toured the midwest extensively. During one of these shows, the special guest that day, jazz legend Benny Goodman, took notice of my songwriting and offered to publish my entire catalogue of original music. I felt like I had arrived!
In 1981, I hitchhiked to Los Angeles with then singing partner, Jeff Edwards, since a 2-time Emmy award winning producer. We performed at the Ice House in Pasadena, opening for comedians like Pat Paulsen and Gallagher. During that time, I also had the chance to play bass for Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee. I ended up in numerous bands in L.A. throughout the 80’s and 90’s, while performing solo much of the time. Embarking on a corporate career, I took brief periods off to perform in Japan, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Bora Bora. I recorded a CD with the group “Through The Woods” featuring 2-time International Songwriting Festival winner, Stuart Pearson. I retired from corporate life for good in 2007 to pursue music one last time, and moved back home to Michigan in the fall of 2010 to release the CD “Too Little Time.” Its been great to be close to family and many old friends whom I missed more than I realized in the 30 years I was out west.
I’m a singer / songwriter and I play guitars, bass, keyboards, mandolin, banjo, flute, drums and percussion. I have played on and produced 6 albums, a few singles and a slew of commercials. Having written over 200 songs, nearly 100 of them published, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of being produced by grammy award winners Louie Shelton (Seals & Crofts) and Billy Williams (Lyle Lovett). My favorite artists of yesteryear are The Byrds, Beatles, Eagles, Moody Blues, Yes, Steely Dan, Dan Fogelberg, Simon & Garfunkel, Eric Clapton, JT, CSN, Sting, Monkees, Association, Dixie Dregs and ELP. My favorite writers are Billy Joel, Paul McCartney and forever first, the magnificent Jimmy Webb!
Teaming up with Steve and Robin in The Trace is the highlight of my music career and the culmination of my life’s ambitions. I hope that my addition to the ensemble will yield pleasant sounds and good energy for years to come.