Breakneck Speed: Mark Jewett Follows Life's Hectic Pace on "Too Fast" Single Featuring The Accidentals


Mark Jewett stands with Katie Larson and Sav Madigan of The Accidentals.

Mark Jewett with Katie Larson (left) and Sav Madigan of The Accidentals. Photo courtesy of Mark Jewett.

These days, Mark Jewett moves at warp speed.

The Plymouth singer-songwriter maintains a frantic daily pace on his latest single, “Too Fast.”

“It was more of a general feeling of being closed in and trapped and things just coming at me faster than I could deal with them,” said Jewett about the folk-pop track, which features a collaboration with Sav Madigan and Katie Larson of The Accidentals.

“One day, I just took a break at my desk, and I picked up my guitar. I started doing this chunking rhythm like you hear at the beginning of the song. I was drinking coffee, and I thought, ‘I need some energy,’ and the line just popped into my head.”

That initial opening lyric was “I’ve got a thousand watts of black coffee / Pumpin’ through my veins,” but Jewett upped the ante to “Two thousand watts of black coffee” instead.

Kyle Rasche caught me between shows up at Nor-East’r last year when I was in the merch barn. He said, ‘Man, that’s a great line,’ and he thought I had said something about ‘8,000 watts,’ but it was originally, ‘I’ve got a thousand watts,’” said Jewett, a University of Michigan alumnus, who started writing the track last spring. “I thought maybe there was too much there, so starting it with 2,000 [watts] just punctuates it right at the beginning.”

Jewett’s instincts were right on: “Too Fast” instantly energizes listeners due to its caffeinated instrumentation, concise lyrics, and frenzied mindset.

Fueled by hectic guitars, bass, and drums and challenged by cautious strings, Jewett sings, “I am really trying to keep up this pace / But I think I need a break / From this crazy race / My to-do list / Is never getting done / Is that just how it is? / Am I the only one?”

“I notice when I’m getting near my limit that I have less patience with things and people. If I can sense that, then I’m thinking, ‘OK, you gotta find some way bring it back down,’” he said.

“In the time frame of writing this track—this is really in the second verse—I had lists of things I had to do for the home renovation project. I just looked at it and thought, ‘This is not getting done.’”

Alongside completing his home renovation project, Jewett also worked on “Too Fast” and invited Madigan and Larson to collaborate on it.

‘I’ve been following The Accidentals for a while, and as the song unfolded, I was thinking, ‘This is gonna be different than anything I’ve done so far. I want some youthful enthusiasm and some good chops on this thing. I’m hearing strings in there. How about The Accidentals?’” he said. “So I wrote to them and asked if they’d do it, and they said, ‘Yes,’ and here we are.”

For “Too Fast,” Nashville-based Madigan (violin, viola, backing vocals) and Larson (cello, backing vocals) contributed their parts remotely after Jewett and co-producer Billy Harrington sent them an initial version of the song.

“We did a guide track and recorded drums, [acoustic] guitar, voice, and some electric guitar live and then a few different takes. We picked out what we liked and started building from there,” said Jewett, who recorded the track at Ann Arbor’s Big Sky Recording with owner/engineer Geoff Michael.

“I played bass this time, but it’s the simplest bass part I’ve ever played in my life and by design because I knew that Katie [Larson] was going to be playing the cello. The two don’t overlap 100 percent, but there can be some overlap … I’m gonna clear the deck and give her room to do what she does so well. Sav [Madigan] and Katie—with the cello, violin, and viola parts—filled it up with some nice layers.”

The track also features brothers Billy Harrington on drums and Michael Harrington on electric guitar. The trio had previously worked together on Jewett’s 2021 album, The Lucky One.

“We probably co-produced more on this than we have on stuff in the past. I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to be like,” Jewett said.

“Mike Harrington played some tasty guitar parts in there … and I don’t know if Billy intended this specifically, but the way his drums are tuned, the way they’re mic’d, and the way he’s playing is very Charlie Watts-like—from the era of Some Girls. I think that evoked some Keith Richards inspiration from Mike … and maybe some Waddy Wachtel in there.”

Jewett’s also been celebrating the release of “Too Fast” with several live shows, including a May 8 songwriter round with Annie Capps and Bill Edwards at Ann Arbor’s North Star Lounge.

“I’m optimistic the creative gates will open a little bit, and I think just from the fact that I’m gonna get out and see some new people and new towns,” he said. “Traveling is one of the best things you can do for writing, even if it’s just in Michigan.”

In addition to live shows, Jewett continues to write new material and wants to build a catalog of songs to release.

“I would like to write eight or 10 songs this year if I can—that would be big for me,” he said. “I always go back to the words of [the late] Jay Stielstra when he said, ‘I’m not really a prolific songwriter. I only write about three a year, but after 50 years of doing it, they kinda add up.’”

Lori Stratton is a library technician, writer for Pulp, and writer and editor of

Mark Jewett performs May 8 as part of Songwriters in the Round with Annie Capps and Bill Edwards at North Star Lounge, 301 N. Fifth Ave. in Ann Arbor. For tickets, visit North Star Lounge's website.