“There’s nothing quite like the sound you make, boots stompin’ on the floor ’til the hardwood breaks.” – Mark Times (“Movers and Shakers”)

Mark TimesWhile we love a good pop-country chorus, there’s something about a good ole country song that brings you back to the roots of the genre. Newcomer, Mark Times, does just that. There’s no denying the traditional country influences in his debut self-titled EP, just released today. If you’re a fan of Chris Stapleton, you need to listen to Mark Times.

Hailing from the small town of Stony Plain, Alberta and playing in bars since he was seventeen, Mark Times is a songsmith at work. Mixing time-tested sounds with lyrics distilled from everyday life, his folk-country blend is garnering attention across the Canadian music scene. Bringing his brand of neo-traditional country to stages from coast to coast, including performances at Country Thunder, the Calgary Folk Fest, and country music week in Halifax and London, Times is moving Canadian country forward while keeping his rearview mirror fixed on tradition.

Be the first to listen to Mark Times’ debut EP and discover his Top Country Favourites, musical influences and more.

TC: If you only had 3 words to describe your debut EP, how would you describe it?
MT: Scrappy greaser country

TC: What’s one thing that people who are just discovering you and your music would be surprised to know?
MT: I learned to play guitar listening to artists like Jonny Cash and the Eagles but before I wrote country music I played in an indie rock band. We recorded an EP and two full length records before we parted ways. It was tonnes of fun.

TC: Who were some of your musical influences growing up? How did they influence the EP?
MT: The late 1970s produced a lot of my favourite records from artists like Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, and The Band but I try to make music that doesn’t sound too much like any of my influences. The thing that my favourite artists have in common is that they all sound like themselves and that’s what makes them original. With that being said, I think there are little bits of all of my influences in my writing. I appreciate songwriters who use words to create negative space – I think Bruce and Willie are great at that. Sonically speaking, there are definitely elements of traditional country and 70s rock and roll on the EP, so there are probably traces of them there too.

TC: Your dreams would come true if…
MT: If I woke up everyday and wrote a great song. That’s probably not possible but I’m going to work towards it anyways.

TC: What song(s) are you most proud of on the EP?
MT: I chose each of the songs on the EP for a special reason, so this feels a bit like a parent choosing between their children, but I would say that I am really excited for people to hear “Saskatchewine.” It’s partly about finding and losing love but it’s also about drinking in a moment. I think it’s the closest I’ve come to writing a 3 minute movie and the song sounds the way I felt writing the story, so I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Love discovering new country music? Listen to Mark Times and more upcoming artists on the Top Country Discovery Playlist.