Founder of Trough Records
Mark Humphreys, a beloved friend, songwriter, producer, and champion to so many songwriters and musicians, passed away in September 2021.
When it came to better angels here in the angel city, there weren’t many better than him. He was the best of us.
Albert Pike, an author and judge in Lincoln’s time, said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” Mark understood this innately, and it was at the core of who he was. As anyone knew him can affirm, he was that rare guy who genuinely cared about other people, and went the extra distance so that they knew it. He had more than good intentions; he carried through. He didn’t make promises he didn’t keep. His greatest happiness came from the happiness of others.
In this business of music, climbing over one’s friends – or anyone in the way – to reach the top is an old tradition. Mark did the very opposite. He built a foundation on which he could launch a real songwriting career, on which he invited many artists to join him, and, with his help, ascend. It was called Trough Records.
So to lose Mark of all people is especially painful and sad, as without him it won’t be the same. Who else can come to this world with his calm, joy, warmth, wisdom, and rare ability to get along with everyone? Who else easily delights in celebrating others more than himself?
For all of us blessed by his friendship, and enriched by his big heart and generosity of spirit, we will keep those gifts always. For that we are forever grateful.
So long for now, old friend. And thank you.
-Paul Zollo, americansongwriter.com
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From all of us Trough artists, who Mark took under his wing, we ask that you take a few moments to listen to some of Mark's music here on the Trough Records website. Thank you.
After releasing his first two independent albums on the label, beginning in 1997, Humphreys started to invite some of his favorite wildly talented colleagues and friends to join him on the label. The concept was to provide independent artists working in and around Southern California an identity; to create their own space in the then-burgeoning Americana music marketplace. It would be a unifying symbol under which each artist would completely own and control their work and still share a common identity with a brand dedicated to represent diverse and high-quality music from Southern California.
Trough Records continues to champion an eclectic group of top-notch artists to represent the label and the diversity of the Southern California songwriting community. Trough is now recognized as the home for artists of wide-ranging yet equally superior talent.
Since 1993, Trough has released more than three dozen titles, all of which are completely owned and controlled by the artists. Each act pays for the costs of their albums, and Trough releases them, providing promotional assistance to each artist. The label does not own any part of any of the albums it releases. Each act has the freedom to do whatever they want with their recordings. The benefit to the label is that the presence of each artist enhances its reputation, which in turn enhances the reputation of everyone associated with it.
Over the years, some of our artists have moved away from Southern California - and some pursue their own careers away from the label - but wherever they go, as long as they want a home, they have one here with us.
Thank you for supporting independent music!