Born in Kansas, weaned on classic country and rock fare such as the Rolling Stones and Neil Young, longtime Southern California resident Mark Insley debuted in 1996 with Good Country Junk, an album that drew comparisons to Dwight Yoakam (in fact, members of Yoakam's band played on the album).
After building up a raucous live reputation around the West Coast, Insley released the long-awaited follow-up to that effort, Tucson (his first album on Rustic Records). That album represented an edgier affair than his debut, calling to mind the hard-to-classify Americana of iconoclasts such as Steve Earle, and Buddy and Julie Miller. Insley and Paul du Gre (Los Lobos, Sheryl Crow, Bad Religion) co-produced Tucson, which featured players such as Tony Gilkyson, drummer David Raven (Jim Lauderdale, Butthole Surfers), keyboard player Danny McGough (Tom Waits), and ubiquitous pedal-steel player/multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz. The release also saw guest appearances by Albert Lee, Dave Alvin, Rick Shea, and Clare Muldaur. The album swings from hard country to rock & roll to blues and back again. The title of the release seemed somewhat prophetic, for shortly after its recording, Insley moved to Tucson.