Last week I had the pleasure of seeing the talented, Mississippi born, Charlie Mars perform at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. Given that I am such a big fan AND a baker, I couldn’t show up empty handed. I contacted Charlie via Facebook and asked him if I could bring along a little something sweet. For the record, Charlie prefers chocolate.

I always seem do things on a grand scale, so this would be no different. A dozen lame cupcakes just didn’t seem fit for the occasion although I really had no idea what I was going to do. I had seen a picture of Charlie playing his guitar taken during a radio interview at Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB). I knew instantly that his cake would have to be a replica of his guitar! With a little help from Lisa Michie, Executive Director of MPB, I was able to get my hands on some high resolution images she’d taken of that interview. I needed to identify the specific model of the guitar Charlie owned. All I knew was that it was a Martin Guitar for sure.

Having recently ordered a new Martin guitar of my own (still on the assembly line at the time), I contacted the company to see if they could help me identify the specific model in the photograph. Many thanks to a special someone at Martin Guitar (you know who you are!) who helped me out.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Michie, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Mississippi Division

I wanted this to be the best guitar cake ever! It took about two days to complete, including one VERY late night (or should I say wee morning). I wanted the board to not only hold the cake, but to represent Charlie’s accomplishments and his journey as an artist.

Everything is edible, with the exception of the strings and the internal neck structure.

A few hours before the show, I saw Charlie walking through to the front of the cafe. I introduced myself and presented him with the cake. Not only was he surprised, but he was really taken aback by the gift. He was genuinely touched and very appreciative. He took a pic of the cake with his phone and emailed it to his girlfriend (the beautiful Mary Louise Parker, star of the HBO hit, ‘Weeds’). He wanted me to take a photo of him posing with the cake. Of course, I was happy to oblige!

Charlie sat down and looked at each photo, sharing little tidbits about each one. Needless to say, I was absolutely delighted!

I love Charlie’s smooth vocals, soulful music and poetic lyrics. And that southern drawl…oh, so charming!

A fun afternoon progressed into an even greater evening. Charlie’s performance was really wonderful! He performed alone, singing with his guitar or the piano, my two favorite instruments! He made everyone feel at home, easy and relaxed as if you were hanging out with a close friend. What I didn’t expect, was his great sense of humor. Charlie Mars is not only charismatic and charming , he is also very, very funny! I laughed like I haven’t laughed in a long time. At one point during the show, he mentioned the cake and invited the audience to share it with him after the show. At the end of the concert, he did just that.

Charlie took the knife and started cutting and serving the cake to his fans.

After a few slices, I offered to relieve him so he could mingle with his many fans.

My autographed copy of Charlie’s new CD, ‘Like A Bird, Like A Plane

All in all, it was a great evening for me as I was able to listen to one of my favorite recording artists perform live, I laughed and enjoyed myself, and was able to give the best gift I could possibly give to someone I admire. I did go a little ‘groupie’ and asked him if he’d be willing to part with his guitar pick. Without hesitation, he reached into his right pocket and handed it over. I couldn’t have been any happier! I will use it often as I enjoy my own new Martin guitar. I can only hope to play as well as he does someday!

I know…I know…so cheesy of me!

A few days ago, I received a lovely email from Charlie thanking me for the cake. It brought a huge smile to my face and made all those hours of work seem like seconds – and so very worthwhile.

If you haven’t yet heard of Charlie Mars, check out, his official website, tune in to XM’s The Spectrum (channel 45) or watch some of the videos we shot of him during last week’s performance:

Meet Me By The Backdoor (this clip is SOOOOOO funny!)

Listen To The Darkside

Opening for Charlie Mars, was the beautiful and talented Danni Rosner.