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The country music community is mourning the death of beloved songwriter YouTube/OBrienGuitars
Youtube/OBrienGuitars

Nashville is a tight-knit community, filled with people who know as much about each other’s professional accomplishments as they do about how each other’s kids are doing in school. So when word came that acclaimed songwriter Mark Selby had passed away on Sept. 18 following a very private battle with cancer, the news shocked many in the industry.

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“He went through this disease privately and with dignity, and what else can you say?” explained Nashville Songwriters Association International executive director Barton Herbison in an interview about his dear friend, who he had last talked to two days before his death. “There was nobody better. Musician, singer, artist, songwriter — he was the full deal.”

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Most country music fans would know Mark thanks to his incredible hand in the Dixie Chicks’ megahit “There’s Your Trouble,” which he wrote alongside his wife Tia Sillers. His songs have also been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, JoDee Messina, Lee Roy Parnell and other stars. He also was an impressive guitar player in his own right, touring and recording with artists including Kenny Rogers and Wynonna.

“He had an electric presence on stage,” Barton said. “He was unbelievable. He freaked people out. Other guitar players would look at Selby, and you’d see this look cross their face that said, ‘I need to go practice.’”

We send our deepest condolences to Mark’s family, friends and fans.

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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