Mountain Fever Records
Who would be crazy enough to start a new record company these days?
Someone who believes so strongly in the quality of the artists they are hearing and the music that those artists are creating, that stepping out on a limb to bring that music to the masses overrides their desire to “not be called crazy.” Everybody needs a little crazy now and then.
Enter Mark Hodges. As founder of Mountain Fever Records, Hodges is just that person to shake it up a bit. “I started this nutty idea in 2006 when I opened up my studio to anyone that wanted to record,” he recalls. “It was like an experiment. Only rules at the time were that you had to live here in Floyd County, Virginia. You could record two songs and it gave me permission to distribute the product.”
As a kid, his love of music, playing music and listening to music was palpable and something he couldn’t escape. It captivated him and like so many successful businesses that start with the talents and passion of one person, that idea becomes contagious when in the hands of the right individual. Starting as an amateur musician himself, Hodges dabbled in it throughout his youth and past his high school years. After getting the kids off to college it was like the Blues Brothers movie… “we’re getting the band back together”, and all the friends of yesteryear were in a similar situation so it just happened. “I started recording myself and friends on a 4-track, then an 8-track, and then a 16-track,” he recalls. Then a studio was born – Mountain Fever Studios.
His small little recording studio that he used mainly to help friends at the time, became something more. “I started helping people do free recordings and then I helped promote a few of them. One thing led to another and her we are. Out of a desire to help other musicians, I was able to grow this music business into something I’m very proud of today.”
That small, local idea grew quickly with Hodges at the helm. This humble beginning led to Hodges producing a CD project for a local female artist in 2008 but she didn’t quite stick with the music scene. The fledgling label followed that up with producing a CD for a young local Virginia bluegrass gospel band called Statement and that was followed up by a pair of North Carolina bands called Sweet Potato Pie and The Hagger’s Mountain Boys. Volume Five, followed and from that point on, the label was off and running.
Mountain Fever currently distributes over 60 titles with many more scheduled and a current active roster of 16 artists, not including sideman projects.
Michelle Nixon and Drive’s “A Place I Belong” was the label’s first number one record. Over the course of the label, we’ve been blessed to have a lot of music in the top spots. We’ve had at dozens of #1 songs and many #1 albums. With so many charts available, including Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, the defunct Bluegrass Music Profiles, Roots Music Report and Cashbox, we’ve been fortunate to have a strong chart presence since our inception.
With a passion and penchant for strong bluegrass vocalist and precision instrumentalists, as well as an appreciation for not only the traditional sound of bluegrass, but its more modern day musical cousins of progressive bluegrass and Americana, Hodges started developing a solid musical roster that rivales much of what was being released.
Now, a 72 track recording studio hidden in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Floyd, the appropriately named Mountain Fever Records offers the best in multi-genre music from Southwest Virginia and surrounding areas, from bluegrass to Old-time, Gospel to blues, rock to reggae. With continued growth and no sign of stopping, the label is bringing on more and more stellar acts regularly. In 2014 they began an Americana label to support the music they love that goes beyond the confines of bluegrass. Travianna Records expands their focus as a home for musicians outside the traditional bluegrass box.
“It has truly been a privilege to bring all of this music to fans of bluegrass and Americana music,” Hodges says. “It still gets me excited every time I hear something new and innovative. I’m first and foremost a fan of the music. If you can’t be crazy about your work and remain a fan of what got you excited in the first place, then what’s the point right?”