OPEN MIC HOST
Mark Lyons was born in Chicago and grew up in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He learned to play the guitar when he was a student at Cooper Junior High School, and received his first guitar at age sixteen. In the 1980s, as a student at the University of Illinois, he began entertaining crowds at coffeehouses and parties, and occasionally performed on radio station WEFT in Champaign. In 1994, he began appearing at the monthly singalongs hosted at the Masthouse in Woodstock. Here, he found an appreciative audience for his mix of old-time country and novelty tunes, engaging personality, and a slightly offbeat sense of humor, and soon he began performing at coffeehouses, open stages, and folk festivals throughout Northern Illinois.