• Mark Rubin
    Jew of Oklahoma

    Muscular Jewish-Americana from Bad Livers co-founder

  • Artist and Mission Statement

    Why are so many American Jews playing everybody else's music and not their own?

    Mark Rubin


    Oklahoma-born, Texas-reared, and now living in New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin is an unabashed Southern Jew, known equally for his muscular musicianship and larger-than-life persona. Over an accomplished 30+ year career, he has accompanied or produced a virtual who’s-who of American traditional music, while straddling numerous musical genres, including Country, Western Swing, Bluegrass, Cajun, Tex-Mex, Polka, Klezmer, Roma, and more. He is perhaps best known for co-founding the notorious proto-Americana band Bad Livers, though his more recent work as a first call tuba and bass player in the klezmer music scene has now earned him equivalent notoriety. His credits in the Jewish music world include stints with Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, The Other Europeans, and Andy Statman, as well as two decades on faculty at KlezKamp and a featured performer at Toronto's Ashkenaz Festival.

    Today, he lives and works as a professional musician in New Orleans and makes a study of the musical traditions and cultures of South Louisiana.

    The Mission

    What's the plan?

    Remarkably, Rubin’s first project, “Southern Discomfort,” was only released in 2014. And 2017 he released his "solo" project (Songs for the Hangman's Daughter) performing 11 original tunes played utter live, just voice and one instrument. "Criminally overlooked and underrated," Andy Langer KGSR Austin, TX.

    Rubin asks the humble question. Why are all these Jews playing folk music from all around the world, yet have zero interest in their own Jewish heritage? Removed from the living stream of Yiddish culture in a small Agricultural college town, he too excelled in other peoples traditions. "But what is my culture, my birthright?" They journey to answer that question is addressed in the Jew of Oklahoma project.

    Suitable for coffee houses, house concerts or a progressive schul's social hall, Rubin performs either solo or with a small ensemble, often featuring one of many young Jewish musicians who have joined Rubin on this trail of musical discovery,

    Interested in the discussion?

    Love to hear from you

    Mark Rubin


    4091 Fairmont Dr., New Orleans LA 70122 USA


  • Criticism and Reviews

    Some comments from colleagues

    “Everything Mark Rubin does is done with no compromise. He is fearless, fearsome, and most of all, completely musical!”

    - Gurf Morlix

    "Mark Rubin has created a masterpiece of American dark humor and grief. A bucket of personal history thrown into the wagons,mixed with the southern subterranean gravy of love and loathing. Since leaving Austin for New Orleans he has somehow managed to position himself as the Godzilla of Gypsy Juke N' Tuba Two-Step."

                                                                                                             -Kevin Russel (shinyribs)


    “With Passover beginning tomorrow night, I can't think of a better time to listen to Mark Rubin's fabulous "The Dark Side Has Doughnuts" over and over and over again, along with all the other songs on his really remarkable (and often very funny) new album, "Songs for the Hangman's Daughter." Check it out at Band Camp, where Mark's selling it on a pay-what-you-can basis. It's the best singer-songwriter album I've heard in a very long time.”

                                                                             - Michael Wex NYT Best Selling author

    “I have really been enjoying Mark Rubin, Jew of Oklahoma's new album, Songs for the Hangman's Daughter. I played "Royal Street Shuffle" during yesterday's Folk & Beyond, and appreciate the message. Mark is giving the album away for free, though you are also free to make a donation. I heartily encourage you to do both.”

                                                                         - Peter Jones, host, WTJU Charlottesville

    Review of

    "Songs for the Hangman's Daughter"

    Offbeat Magazine, New Orleans LA 2/28/2018

    "To live in New Orleans is to master the art of juggling.


    On the one hand, that’s a great thing. Residents fighting to keep various food traditions from hitting the floor lead to the city’s famously blended culinary culture. On the other, you have a locale with terrible transit and neighborhoods that will flood if the faucet’s left on. You take the good with the bad, the bowling pins with the chainsaws, and you do your best to not make a mess of it.


    With that said, it’s not surprising that Mark Rubin ended up here. It’s actually a wonder he didn’t land here sooner. The member of defunct folk-punk icons the Bad Livers is both outspokenly Southern and proudly Jewish. He’s been juggling all his life, y’all.

    On his sparse new collection of tunes, Rubin doesn’t mind letting you see him sweat as he struggles to keep both sides of his identity balanced. The cuts are rough—often the first take—but Mark’s skilled playing and Catskills wit keep the whole enterprise aloft as he cycles between stories of cultural appropriation (“Royal Street Shuffle”), the War on Drugs (“Single Joint”) and parking lot fights (“Ballpeen Clawhammer”)."

  • Sights & Sounds

    "The Murder of Leo Frank"

    A track from 2014's "Southern Discomfort"

    Mark Rubin & Craig Judelman

    A medley of Litvak Fiddle Tunes @ Blackpot Festival 2017, Lafayette

    Mark Rubin & Craig Judelman

    Warming before a featured performance @ Ashkenaz 2017, Toronto Canada