Charlie Mars lands in Vancouver with Dixie Chicks

Southern soul rock performer opening shows on Canadian tour

Charlie Mars opening for the Dixie Chicks, Rogers Arena, Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. Tickets at ticketmaster.ca.

There are not many places in North America that Charlie Mars hasn't played.

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Since 2004, Mars has been performing all over the map and tomorrow night he will be in Vancouver supporting the Dixie Chicks as they kick off their current North American tour at Rogers Arena.

"I am looking forward to it. I haven't been to Canada in a long time and it's the first show of this whole tour," Mars says.

Mars will be supporting the country superstar trio throughout their Canadian tour, which will also see them stop in Kelowna, Dawson's

Creek, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Oshawa and London, Ont. He says he is looking forward to opening for the Dixie Chicks in front of a larger audience.

"I am just excited to be in a big room in front of a big crowd," Mars says. "They're like one of the highest all time selling female acts in the world."

Mars was born in El Dorado, AR, and grew up listening to music by artists such as Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. He released his first album Broken Arrow in 1997 after borrowing money and selling his car.

Since then, Mars has released six more recordings including his most recent work Blackberry Light in 2012.

There have been plenty of challenges for the Arkansas native in his career. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mars battled with drugs and alcohol and eventually entered rehab.

He then relocated to Sweden and began performing at a local restaurant while he was living on a houseboat. He says the hardest thing for him throughout his career has been persistence.

"To stay focused and believe that I was good at what I do and that I deserved to do it and I was going to prove that to myself and the world," Mars says. "That's a hard thing to do over a long period of time."

Eventually Mars put together enough money, largely from a one-night win at a casino, to begin recording new material. In 2004, after signing to V2 Records and returning to the United States, he released an eponymous album in May of that year.

Mars says love and hate is what has kept his career going throughout the years.

"A combination of love and a bottled up resentment towards everyone who said I couldn't do it," he says. "Any artist who is crazy enough to do it for as long as I have has got to have a little bit of angry to fuel the fire. I have something to prove and I have almost proven it so I might as well keep going."

He says many of his musical ideas come from a simple walk, something he often does at home and on the road.

"A lot of times I'll do some research on the computer and find the area in the town that I think might suit me and I just go there and walk for hours," Mars says.

He has seen the music industry change dramatically over the last 10 years, especially since the advent of social media.

"It's good for getting out information quickly to a large number of people and that on its own is so valuable," Mars says. "Most of the social networking for me tends to be like buying a box of candy. For a little while I am really into it and then after a while I don't really care anymore.

"I still make records and play music and perform live and I make money doing it," he says. "A couple of x's and o's on a computer screen doesn't really change that."

Mars says that while social media allows artists to connect with their fans it will not replace the connections made on stage.

"I try to make it fun and interesting but at the end of the day if I am honest about the whole computer experience it is starting to feel unsatisfactory. When I connect with an audience in person, it never feels the same as when it is done through a computer. Why is that?" he says. "You can write a letter to someone and connect to them in a deeper way. Now you write an email or send an Instagram and somehow it doesn't mean quite as much.

"It is supposed to make me happy and it is supposed to fulfill my life but for some reason it falls a little short. It's like a non-alcoholic beer."

For more information on Charlie Mars visit charliemars.com.

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