Charlie Mars – Beach Town

Mississippi-born singer/songwriter Charlie Mars is a country- and folk-inflected pop artist blessed with a warm vocal croon and a knack for crafting poignant, earthy songs. Born in 1974 in Laurel, Mississippi, Mars grew up listening to various styles of pop/rock, from Michael Jackson to the Violent Femmes. Just prior to his senior year of high school, Mars moved with his family to Jackson, Mississippi, where he attended Jackson Preparatory School and played in the band Adley Madidafus. After graduating high school in 1992, he attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. During this time, he began seriously pursuing a music career, often playing with fellow SMU student, singer/songwriter Jack Ingram. It was also while at SMU that Mars formed the Charlie Mars Band and released several albums, including 1995’s Broken Arrow, 1997’s Born & Razed, and 1999’s End of Romance.

Along with this early success came a hard-partying lifestyle and taste for alcohol that found him disbanding his group and entering rehab for a month. In 2001, looking to start fresh, Mars moved to Sweden where began writing new material. Re-energized, he returned to the United States where he spent time in Austin, Texas and eventually released his 2004 self-titled album on V2 Records. After settling in New York City in 2008, he began work on what would eventually become his “Texas Trilogy.” Recorded with producer Billy Harvey and a core group of musicians in Austin, the trilogy includes 2009’s Like a Bird, Like a Plane and 2012’s Blackberry Light. In 2014, Mars rounded out the trilogy with the release of his seventh studio album, the Harvey-produced Money. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi

 

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Sharon Van Etten – Comeback Kid

Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow comes four years after Are We There, and reckons with the life that gets lived when you put off the small and inevitable maintenance in favor of something more present. Throughout Remind Me Tomorrow, Sharon Van Etten veers towards the driving, dark glimmer moods that have illuminated the edges of her music and pursues them full force. With curling low vocals and brave intimacy, Remind Me Tomorrow is an ambitious album that provokes our most sensitive impulses: reckless affections, spirited nurturing, and tender courage.

“I wrote this record while going to school, pregnant, after taking the OA audition,” says Van Etten. “I met Katherine Dieckmann while I was in school and writing for her film. She’s a true New Yorker who has lived in her rent controlled west village apartment for over 30 years. Her husband lives across the hall. They raised two kids this way. When I expressed concern about raising a child as an artist in New York City, she said ‘you’re going to be fine. Your kids are going to be fine. If you have the right partner, you’ll figure it out together.’” Van Etten goes on, “I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair and I feel like a mess, but I’m here. Doing it. This record is about pursuing your passions.” The reality is Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time: in scraps of hours wedged between myriad endeavors — Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, and brought her music onstage in David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks. Off-screen, she wrote her first score for Katherine Dieckmann’s movie Strange Weather and the closing title song for Tig Notaro’s show Tig. She goes on, “The album title makes me giggle. It occurred to me one night when I, on autopilot, clicked ‘remind me tomorrow’ on the update window that pops up all the time on my computer. I hadn’t updated in months! And it’s the simplest of tasks!”

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