Dusty Wright was born Mark J. Petracca. He was born and raised in Akron, Ohio in an Italian-American family. His grandparents originated in the Abruzzo region of Italy. His father was Joseph Petracca, and he had a younger brother, David Petracca. Describing himself as a "music junkie", Wright first developed a passion for music upon seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.
As a young man, Wright forwent a career in law school to move to New York City, where he hoped to enter the entertainment industry. At the end of the 1980s, he started what he calls his first "official" music project, The Trolls, a folk-rock duo that wrote and performed children's songs for adults. Wright subsequently founded the Bastards of Execution (BöE, pronounced "boo"), a pre-grunge/noise band. After a few years, Wright developed an interest in folk-rock and Americana, finding it more challenging musically and creatively. Wright describes his music as "Americana-ish with a healthy dose of folk-rock".
Wright has stated that he has been heavily influenced by a radio song's structure and poetic depth, and by the music of the 1960s, including performers such as Kris Kristoferson, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nick Cave, Warren Zevon, Townes Van Zandt. Wright has also pointed to the importance of tone and textures in production and guitar sounds, and has found inspiration in this regard from Pink Floyd, early Roxy Music, Eno, XTC, Elow, Radiohead, and PJ Harvey. Other artists that Wright has named among his favorites include Emmylou Harris, Crowded House, The Byrds, Michael Kiwanuka, Syd Arthur, and Ryan Adams. Specific albums he has cited include Neil Young's After The Goldrush and Patti Smith's Horses, which he says informed his musical psyche the most.
Wright is a former editor-in-chief of Creem and Prince's New Power Generation. The Dusty Wright screenplay The Gentleman Bandit was screened at the AFM and Malibu Film Festivals in 2000 and Wright served as music consultant for the 2004 Johnny Depp movie Secret Window.
Wright was producer on the 2005 documentary Wildwood Days and on the 2008 documentary Airplay: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio. Wright was co-head writer on Cee Lo Green's show Talking To Strangers on Fuse.tv.
As a singer/songwriter Wright contributed the song "Speed of Life" for contemporary American artist Ron English on his compilation English 101, and recorded "Ramble On" for the Led Zeppelin tribute "The Song Retains The Name, Volume 2 (Safehouse Records) as well as a track for "Baseball (America's Game)" on Nolan Ryan: A Musical Tribute. Wright's song "I'm Still In Love (w/You)" is featured in David Koepp's 2008 film Ghost Town and the video for "Secret Window" from If We Never... was awarded "Best Music Video" at the 2011 Los Angeles Film & Script Festival. Wright's song "Swirl" was featured on BBC Radio 6 Music by music critic Rob Hughes and former member of rock group The Fall, and British DJ Marc Riley. If We Never... received three stars from Hughes in his Americana Roundup column in the September 2011 issue of Uncut magazine.
Wright hosts the twice-weekly online radio show Dusty Wright's Dusty Roads on the website of Transcendental Music, a charity music label founded by filmmaker David Lynch.
As of 2014 Wright was working on a documentary film about Jesse A. Marcel Jr., the son of Roswell Incident witness Jesse A. Marcel, entitled Growing Up With Roswell. The film, which is written by Leonard J. Marcel, the cousin of Marcel Jr., focuses on how the Roswell Incident has affected the entire Marcel family. Filming began in late July/early August 2014, and its locations include Helena, Montana, where Marcel Jr. lived, as well as New Orleans, Seattle, Toronto and Roswell. Production is estimated to last 18 months, in the hopes of having the film completed in time for the UFO Festival in Roswell in July 2015.
Wright's fifth solo album, Caterwauling Towards the Light was released the first week of January 2017. Side one is dedicated to the life and memory of Wright's brother David, who died in 2016, and side two is dedicated to Wright's father, who died in 2015. (Both men died after long illnesses.) It was positively reviewed by Emily Hinde of No Depression magazine, who called it "a charming Americana record which closes out 2016 in the strongest way possible. In every inch of the album we not only hear but experience a songwriter that pens song a with such vibrancy and intelligence....A somewhat very personal journey for Wright his emotional and storytelling nature unleash a wide realm that evokes epic beauty."
Wright plays in a quintet featuring two guitars, cello, bass and drums at least twice a month in and around New York City and on the road opportunity presents itself.
In 1995, friends introduced Wright to culinary businesswoman Bobbie Lloyd, who would later become Chief Baking Officer for Magnolia Bakery in 2006, and a judge on the TLC reality television series The Next Great Baker. Wright proposed to her in September 1996. On May 4, 1997 they married in a Unitarian Universalist wedding ceremony at the Kim Foster Gallery in SoHo. They live in New York City, on Manhattan's Upper West Side. They have two children.
Wright studies tai chi.Dusty Wright (1997)
Ghost Town EP (2008)
If We Never... (2011)
Caterwauling Towards The Light (2017)