Blackjack is my favorite casino game for a variety of reasons, but I just found a new reason. The game of blackjack is responsible for the career resurgence of one of my favorite musicians.
Yes, it’s true. His name is Charlie Mars and if you haven’t heard of him, I suggest you buy his new album, Like a Bird, Like a Plane. If you’re one of those people who wants to listen to some samples or download a few songs first, I recommend checking out two songs in particular, “Listen to the Darkside” and “Meet Me by the Backdoor.”
Mississippi native Mars started out as your typical acoustic guitar-wielding singer/songwriter, but over the years he has evolved from a standard crooner into an artist with a fully fleshed sound that is as interested in grooves, rhythmic beats and catchy riffs as in storytelling. This evolution is most apparent on his current album, but that album almost never happened.
After touring relentlessly to support his first four albums, Mars became burned out and addicted. He then went to rehab and once he got out, was living on a houseboat in Sweden. He assumed that his music career was over, as did everyone else. While living on the houseboat, however, he became inspired and began writing some new songs, uncertain of whether he would ever do anything with them.
As you might expect of someone living on a houseboat, Mars didn’t have any cash, so once he was finished writing the songs, he had no way of recording them. He had lost his recording contract a long time prior and no record label was willing to bankroll the album of a man who had become burned out before ever making it big or even headlining a tour of his own (Mars had only toured to support other artists).
That’s where the blackjack came in. It turns out that Mars is a bit of a gambler and blackjack has always been his game of choice. Though Mars has never – to my knowledge – said whether or not he is a card counter, it is clear that he is skilled at the game. Needing money, Mars went into a Swedish casino and won enough money to pay for sessions at a recording studio. The result of those sessions is Like a Bird, Like a Plane, Mars’ fifth album, which was subsequently released worldwide by his own label, Rockingham Records.
Thanks to his new sound and maybe a little luck, Mars is having the most success of his career, headlining a world tour and getting radio airplay for the first time. And to think, maybe none of that would have happened if Mars hadn’t been a lover of blackjack.
For that reason, I say to you, if you want to be assured of success in life, get to be good at blackjack just in case… Okay, not really. That’s terrible advice, but it worked out in Mars’ case.