Hound Dog, the latest video by Country Singer, Kaitlyn Baker, stars Mark Starling’s (First News on 570 with Mark Starling – the pragmatic voice of Asheville) archetypal wing dude and best friend of man, Monk the Dog.
I met Mark while managing a now defunct craft cocktail and coffee bar in Asheville, NC. Shortly after the bar’s ribbon cutting ceremony, Mr. Starling (quite seamlessly) established himself as one of our most beloved regulars. At our bar, he popularized a variation of a cocktail called a Kentucky Mule, which is a variation of a Moscow Mule – nerdy bar stuff. Mark’s version of the Kentucky Mule landed on our house cocktail menu immediately. When we asked him what we should call the drink, his eyelids lowered slightly; then he shot a brief gaze into a pensive infinity. Refocused eyes and a slight chuckle followed, then the name, “Loudmouth Soup!” (near three decades in radio – it was perfect.
Mark possesses an enviable social demure: he champions local businesses on the radio, is an exceptional patron to all establishments he visits, and, if he really digs your gig, Mark, with the threatless charm of a man you just purchased a timeshare in Wankanda from, becomes a walking billboard for your establishment. (I mean, how many regulars would invite everyone they know to your bar and pay for their favorite local band to play their birthday party? Not many. But Mark did). And, just as I do not need to write or share my experiences qualifying Mark Starling as Asheville’s premier bastion of local commerce and social fabric: designing alternative solutions to precipitate the mending process between local law enforcement and citizen, selfless business advertisement, or telling a good friend there is always an air mattress, espresso machine, and two lovable doggies waiting for the next time I head south – oh yeah, Mark does not have to do that either. He just does, because he is.