Rising country artist to hold it down at Harrington Casino

Mark Bray is riding one of the biggest waves of his life this year.

A rising country artist in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area (DMV), he welcomed his first child into the world in February, Charlotte Ann Bray.

His Washington Capitals just won the Stanley Cup. And Bray’s new single, “I just Need a Drink,” has landed on the Music Row Country Breakout charts. His prior chart-touting single is “For Love.”

Bray, of Maryland, will continue riding the wave going when he plays a free concert at Harrington Raceway & Casino on Friday. 

In what way has Charlotte impacted you as a musician?

It actually gives me more drive, to be honest. It makes me work that much harder for her future. Before I was married it was just about me. Then it became about me and my wife. Now it’s about my family. 

Did you go to the Caps’ parade?

I was not. I wanted to, but I had baby duty. There was no way I was going to take my daughter down there. But the Caps winning it was awesome. It’s one of those things where [Alexander] Ovechkin finally got his Stanley Cup. You really wanted him to win one. You didn’t want him to be the Dan Marino of hockey, the best player to never win a championship. 

What inspired “I Just Need a Drink?”

It was written by a friend of mine. The funny thing about her is she doesn’t drink at all, but wrote a song about drinking. When we were putting everything together that was going to be put on the record, she sent over just a little iPhone recording of her on the guitar. As soon as I heard it, I was like, “That’s it. That’s an absolute hit right there.” She’s a hell of a songwriter in Nashville.

Outside of Maggie Rose, are there any other country artists from the DMV area?

On the big labels, you’ve got Brothers Osborne, who are from the Eastern Shore; and they’re tearing it up. You’ve got two guys called LoCash from Baltimore. Then you’ve got guys like me, Sam Grow and guys who are doing it on the next level, trying to make it up there. But man, there’s a lot of talent in this area, especially with the country bar bands. They’re fantastic.

The DMV has a reputation for producing more artists in genres outside of country.

The only real big act that came out of the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area was Mary Chapin Carpenter; and that was like 40 years ago. We’ve had a resurgence in the last 10 years or so. There’s so much talent coming out of this area. I’m actually really proud to be apart of that whole renascence of country music in the area. 

What do you think sparked that resurgence?

A lot of it had to do with the fact that country music became so mainstream. It went from artists talking about their pickup truck, and it turned into something you could hear if you went out to a club. The popularity of country music and it getting a poppy sound really drove it out to the forefront.

Is your new single from an EP or LP? 

It’s off my debut EP. It’s available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. The EP is called “You Follow Me Around.” Both of those songs, and a collection of others are on there. If your readers go to GiftFromMark.com, I’ll give them a free song from the record. We’re hoping to go down to the studio in Nashville to get a new record out, and follow these two singles with a brand new song. We’re excited about that.