Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Putting the Fringe on Top: Singer-Songwriter Mark Weigle Finds Support in Writing about the Gay Community's Outsiders. (Music)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Putting the Fringe on Top: Singer-Songwriter Mark Weigle Finds Support in Writing about the Gay Community's Outsiders. (Music)

Article excerpt

For a singer who describes his career as "trial and error," Mark Weigle has attracted a substantial following after self-releasing four CDs--including his latest, Different and the Same--that have garnered major music-store distribution and even raves in Billboard magazine. And he's done it all as an openly gay man who often addresses alternative communities within gay culture--bears, deaf people, cowboys, older men, people with AIDS, and others. "I call it the fringe of the fringe," Weigle says, "and those are my people."

Weigle grew up in a small town in Minnesota, Annandale, with his siblings blaring '70s songwriters like Dan Fogelberg and Jackson Browne from their stereos. As an adult he has worked as a crisis counselor at a youth shelter--and worked on healing his own issues from growing up gay. "That whole time I was writing songs about what I was going through," he recalls. "By the time I hit 30 I had the self-confidence to really put it out there." He smiles from underneath a bushy brown moustache and adds, "Being a crisis counselor, it wasn't a great leap to being a starving artist, as far as finances are concerned. So I went for it."

Weigle's voice is a friendly baritone, while his music is an eclectic, enjoyable mix of folk, pop, and country. "It doesn't rigidly fit into any of those categories, but it has elements of all those things," he says. "I think that what I do is broad enough that it appeals to fans of lots of different styles. …

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