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Step Inside Charlie Mars’ Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

Aug 25, 2023

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

(Editor’s Note: Charlie Mars takes BGS readers on a photographic, first-person tour of his gorgeous Yalobusha County, Mississippi home.)

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

A few years ago I finally got a dog. He’s a Cane Corso mastiff named Kudzu. He’s kind of a handful, so I started looking to move out into the country to give us both a little space. My brother found a finished-out quonset hut on 43 acres for sale in Yalobusha County, Mississippi. It was built on one of the highest points in the county and you can see for 20 miles from the back door. Kudzu liked the view. I bought it and moved in.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

My new album, Times Have Changed [out October 6, 2023], was written on this guitar. I’ve played every show for 15 years on that Gibson Hummingbird. In a transient world, it’s nice to have well made things that work. I toured with REM once, and at the last show Peter Buck told me I had to go to Morocco. He was one of my heroes, so I went straight there from Denmark after wrapping up the tour. I bought that red rug in a Marrakech market and had it shipped to the Memphis airport. Kudzu chewed a hole in it. I saw Peter Buck in Austin a year later and told him I went…”What? I’ve never been there,” he said.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

My grandfather, Charles Mars, was in the Army Air Corp in World War II. He taught me my first notes on the piano. He was a great tap dancer. As a boy, he would take the train from Meridian, Mississippi, to New Orleans, tap dance all day for tips, and take the train home in the evening. I was fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time with him the few weeks before he died. That watch was beside his bed when he passed. Times have changed.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

Eating something I’ve cared for and grown just hits differently. I planted my first rose bush this year. It’s nice to have a little living color in the house. 

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

My brother, Chad Mars, is a painter. This is one of his first paintings he ever did. It’s of a pumpkin patch in the courtyard of the Episcopal Church in Oxford, Mississippi. I hope I make it through that light at the end of that tunnel one day.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

I bought this bag 20 years ago from my friend Mark, who works at Hinton and Hinton on the Oxford, Mississippi, town square. I’ve traveled with it to every show since. It’s an old doctor’s bag made by Trafalgar. I love that damn bag.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

I bought a Husky toolbox to use as my kitchen island. Kudzu likes to park it on the concrete floor and watch out for intruders.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

I drove a 15-passenger van for many years. I played a show in Austin one night and used the cash to buy that dresser. It was a really fancy store. I told them I was paying cash and taking it with me. “We only take cash if you have exact change, and we normally ship,” he said. It fit in the back of the van with half an inch to spare.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

I had a big night in Vegas many years ago. I came home and bought that Steinway upright piano. I wrote the songs “Country Home” and “Silver Dollar” from the new album on that black beauty. It’s been an inspiration. Quonset huts don’t have a lot of storage, so the Husky tool boxes come in real handy.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

My property was clear cut about 4 years ago. Things have started to grow back. They left enough trees to leave the place looking pretty. I think they left the ugly trees they didn’t have much use for. I like the ugly trees.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

I played the El Cosmico festival in Marfa, Texas, one year. My friend Liz Lambert payed me 300 dollars. There was a girl there selling t-shirts and she used that bench to display the shirts. I asked her if the bench was for sale. She said she’d made it and it was her first piece of furniture she’d ever made. I gave her my 300 bucks and she shipped it to me in Mississippi. I love how simple and sturdy it is.  

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home

I bought that Bang and Olufson stereo in 1997 in Atlanta. It still works like the day I bought it. I remember when the attendant waved his hand in front of it and the glass doors opened… I was sold.  

We filmed the video for my latest single, “Country Home,” in one take at my quonset hut home. Some of my neighbors came over and made cameos in it. Brock rode a three-wheeler, Earl rode a side-by-side, and Eric rocked the tractor. I don’t know where I’d be without my neighbors.  

In the title track, “Times Have Changed,” the chorus says:  “What happened to no sir, yes ma’am, looking folks in the eye? To family and the good Lord and thanking him every night? / I ain’t saying I wanted things to stay the same… but man times have changed.” In the country, things change in harmony with nature. Life is hard, and the reward comes from making it through the hard times. I don’t just know my neighbors, I need them. It’s a different rhythm. All of the songs on my new album come from that different rhythm. I’m grateful to be singing a new song about old ways.

Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home


All photos by Charlie Mars

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Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home
Step Inside Charlie Mars' Stunning Yalobusha County, Mississippi Home