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Crank It Up

Straight Forward Entertainment Brings a Lively Show to Audiences Every Time

Writer / Amy Lant-Wenger
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell

It’s just one simple word, but when spoken aloud it brings up a wellspring of emotions, sentiments and memories.

For some, it’s an experience that lasts about as long as a ditty and a dance. The melody lingers for a while after the final note is played, and then life ambles on.Straight Forward Entertainment

Yet for others, it is positively transformative. When the song begins, when the beat takes hold, it winds its way through every chamber of the heart and envelops every part of the soul.

That word is…music. And the latter description suits Mark Johnson quite perfectly.

Johnson is a longtime singer-songwriter with a strong Midwestern heritage. Music has been in his blood and bones for almost as long as he can remember. His voice and instrumentation are the driving force behind his band Straight Forward, and the musicians are making sound waves with their renditions of classic rock steeped in nostalgia.

Now a resident of the Rochester area, Johnson and his bandmates still appreciate the freedom of traveling to perform at various events and venues throughout Indiana and Michigan. Through a vigorous and sterling word-of-mouth campaign, the band became well-renowned as an ideal option for wedding receptions. Through the years Straight Forward evolved into Johnson’s enterprise, now known as Straight Forward Entertainment. Johnson is more than happy to offer the band’s musical repertoire for wedding celebrations and other milestone events.

Johnson remembers well being heavily influenced by Elvis in his youth, and still cites his music as an integral part of the group’s current playlist. Johnson’s young-adult years were spent lending his talents to a variety of garage bands before taking the Straight Forward Entertainmentdirection of his career toward a professional venture in 1984. The current lineup of performers keeps things spirited and soulful with their music, as they present songs spanning from ‘70s rock to blues to classics. The band draws performance material from a lengthy musical canon of landmark rockers, from Journey to REO Speedwagon…and yes, that includes Elvis’s music as well.

As a songwriter, Johnson doesn’t allow himself to be dictated by boundaries, and describes how one of his recent compositions has carried him into country music. He’s hoping to make some noise in Nashville, in more ways than one. “I do have an entrepreneurial side as well,” he says with a laugh.

Johnson estimates that the group plays approximately 30 weddings per year, and he’s quick to note that there is always room to add more dates to their calendar. Straight Forward Entertainment has the wealth of resources needed to liven up venues from corporate parties to outdoor concerts, and more or less anything else in between – virtually any setting where music can infuse and inspire the mood.

With an enduring love and passion for the performing arts, one that has been a part of him for the greater part of his life, Johnson and his fellow musicians understand the boundless power of music, and have taken that thrill ride toward new dimensions and opportunities. They are eager to see what adventures await them after the chorus has faded out and audiences wait for the next melodic story.

“I’ve not only gotten this down to a science,” Johnson says. “I’ve gotten it down to an art form.”Straight Forward Entertainment

To inquire about the Straight Forward Entertainment experience for an upcoming occasion, call or text Johnson directly at 574-201-8172.

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