Musician Pens Ode to Home State
By Cheryl Costello
Jimmy Charles is a country music artist right in the thick of the Nashville scene. But he still goes home to his birthplace of Worcester County. And the Towson University graduate makes it no secret how much pride he has for his home state.
Charles just released a music video for one of his newest songs, “It’s a Maryland Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand.” And anyone who lives in Maryland would find it hard not to enjoy.
He spoke with Bay Bulletin about the inspiration for the song and filming the video—which he says he’d do all over again in a heartbeat.
From Baltimore’s pro sports teams to the Eastern Shore’s pro crab pickers, his lyrics capture the essence of the Old Line State.
If you’ve never seen an Atlantic sunrise then the sunset over Isle of Wight/
Never crossed the Bay Bridge with the windows down, salt air blowing all around/
Never heard of Assawoman or Susquehanna/ Got a Maryland tattoo with matching pajamas/
Let me shed a little light so you can recognize/
Why us Free State folks have so much pride
The video shows sunset on the Ocean City Bayside, the Bay Bridge, Assateague Island, Annapolis, and of course the Bay.
“I think for us Marylanders, it’s almost like this sacred body of water. The crabs, the fishermen. There’s so much tradition there,” Charles says.
He praises one of the state’s finest crab pickers. “I’ve got to give a shoutout to Ms. Joyce Fitchett, she is an eight- or nine-time derby-winning crab picker! She picked like five crabs in three minutes. I was like, ‘Can I hire you, please.’”
Charles says the video was filmed with the intention of looking authentic. The shots inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards were taken were from a real performance when he sang the National Anthem there earlier this summer.
“We wanted to get that real life feel…We’re not setting up for 5 hours. We’re just like, ‘We’re in it, we’re doing it.’ And I think you feel that in the video because it’s all very natural.”
Things got very real while shooting a scene where Charles and friends drive a Jeep on the beach at Assateague.
“The videographer was riding out the side of the Jeep and we were going pretty fast and I’m like, ‘Are you sure you’re alright?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah I’m fine and we’re getting the shot.’ Then he falls off and just face-plants, comes up, and is like ‘Go, go go [and continues filming]!”
Charles has been singing and songwriting for a long time—writing since he was 14, he tells us. He recently won the International Singer-Songwriter Award’s Entertainer of the Year. He has some advice for those trying to make it as musicians.
“Any young artist out there, I think it’s important to express yourself. You want to grow as a writer as well as a performer,” he says.
Charles is still growing his own roles, too. He and his wife Miranda have a 3-year-old son and Charles is a national spokesman for the organization Zero—The End of Prostate Cancer.
He’s a strong supporter of the Eastern Shore, even writing a new song called “Fish On” for the White Marlin Open.
And he’ll be headlining the 75th annual crab derby in Crisfield on Saturday, Sept. 3.