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The Listening Room - Port Clinton: Artist Bios

Charlie Mars - Friday, January 26th

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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.

Noah Guthrie - Friday, February 9th

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Americana/Soul singer/songwriter, Noah Guthrie found fame covering chart-topping hits as well as through his pivotal role as Roderick Meeks on the hit TV show, Glee. He received national attention with his blues-filled version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” which, to date, has received over 25 million views. It's clear to see, however, that his skills are better put to use creating original music. 
 
One of the most talked about new voices in music, Noah is steadily building a name for himself as a singer/songwriter. His richly textured voice is capable of conveying the emotion of a lyric as only a handful of artists can in today's music world
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In addition to Noah's recurring role on Glee, he has also performed on NBC's, Today Show and Tonight Show as well as two performances on ABC's, Dancing With The Stars. 

John Berry - Friday, April 27th

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John Berry has a new outlook, a new address and a new beginning. The singer-songwriter rose to stardom on the country charts of the 1990s with such mega hits as Your Love Amazes Me, Standing on the Edge of Goodbye and She’s Taken a Shine. His annual Christmas tours brighten the holidays for thousands, as does his electrifying rendition of O’ Holy Night.

During his star-making decade, John placed 20 singles on the county hit parade, 6 of which went Top 5, with Your Love Amazes Me, scoring a #1 on the Billboard Country Chart. He has earned multiple Gold and Platinum records over the years. John was nominated for the ACM Top New Male Vocalist in 1994, won a Grammy Award in 1996 for his participation in Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel Vol. 1, was nominated for another Grammy in 1995 for his smash hit Your Love Amazes Me and was nominated for the CMA Horizon Award and Top Male Vocalist Award in 1995. In 1997 he was nominated for Vocal Event of the Year (for Long Haired Country Boy with Charlie Daniels and Hal Ketchum) and in 2013 John was nominated for the Mainstream Country Male Artist by the ICM Awards. And thanks to the miracles of modern technology, he even sang a duet with the late, great Patsy Cline.

“I love what I do, with a passion not seen in quite some time. I’m hopeful and excited about the future. I love singing and always will. I have a bus, an incredible stage presentation, a great band, hands-on management team and I’m always all dressed up and ready to go.”

He and his family moved back to Music City after several years in Georgia, and in 2016 John is pursuing a touring and personal appearance schedule that is more active than ever. Given his wide range of music and number of releases, John is fortunate in that he can book a solo show with just himself and guitar, a small-band acoustic show or a full-band engagement and has more than enough hit material to captivate a crowd and deliver an evening full of musical memories.

John’s enduringly powerful performances draw on a lifetime of making music and living life. Born in South Carolina and raised in Georgia, he began playing guitar at 13, performing shows at age 14 and making records at age 19. “By the time I was 17, I knew that music was what I wanted to do with my life”; and he has done it well ever since. 

Between 1979 and 1990 he recorded and marketed six albums on his own labels. The Graduation Song, which he wrote during his senior year in high school, became a perennial favorite at graduation ceremonies. It appeared on two of his early collections.

Those early discs and John’s strong regional popularity attracted attention on Music Row. Capitol Records signed him to his first major label contract in 1992. Berry’s co-written hits A Mind of Her Own and Kiss Me in the Car introduced him to radio audiences in 1993. Then Your Love Amazes Me, What’s in it for Me and You and Only You thrust him to stardom in 1994. Standing on the Edge of Goodbye, I Think About it all the Time, and If I Had Any Pride Left at All were all major hits the following year, with Standing on the Edge of Goodbye earning John the coveted 1995 Grammy nomination.

But it was his stunning performance of the title track of the 1995 CD O’ Holy Night that led to his most enduring legacy to date. John began doing special Christmas tours that year and 2016 marks his 20th anniversary holiday concert tour. He has big plans to celebrate and involve the fans like never before for this anniversary celebration. He has also issued three more Christmas-music collections. If O’ Holy Night is all that anyone remembers of me, that’s fine with me,” he comments about his perennial Christmas popularity. “It is a truly inspired piece of music.”

Happily, there were more successes to come. The hit Change My Mind earned John a Top-5 spot on the Country music charts in 1996. She’s Taken a Shine became an even bigger hit in 1997. Both fans and the media took note again when There He Goes was released as a 1999 duet with Patsy Cline.

In 2002, Berry returned to making records for his own company, Clear Sky Records. Songs and Stories, a double CD was issued that year.

In 2003, John Berry released his I Give My Heart collection and its critically applauded wedding anthem Will You Marry Me. The disc also contained his versions of such classic love songs as Time in a Bottle, If, Love Look What You’ve Done to Me, Faithfully, Lady and Let’s Stay Together. I Give My Heart inspired still another popular concert series, The Love Tour.

In 2008, Those Were the Days, was released, marking John’s return to mainstream country music. He created his first Christian-music CD in 2011. In 2012, John published the combination book and CD, again titled Songs and Stories. Over the years he has continued to tour steadily. “We just have a great group of fans who welcome us every year. They are always there.”

In 2015 John embarked for the first time on a crowd funded Kickstarter project that proved very successful. Overwhelmed by the fan response, John assembled an all-star studio team and cut both a Country album entitled What I Love the Most and a new 5-song Christmas EP This Christmas Night. Blessed with the ability to make the music he wanted to make (and not what a label dictated) allowed John the time to write and create what many music critics who have heard bits & pieces are saying could be his best, most complete project yet. “I'm excited to release this new music and bring it to the fans in 2016. It’s a new time in the music business and technology allows me to be closer to my fans and interact in new ways. You know, God just keeps blessing me. There are new opportunities coming at every turn.”

“With time, I’ve learned that the road to fulfillment is doing what I was called to do, love to do, and then doing it the best I can, regardless of the circumstances. And for me, that is making music and singing for people."