It took Mike Martin 24 years to first pick up a guitar and sing. Now, about ten years later, he is part of the band The Beautiful Mess and is signed on to Main Man Records in New Jersey.

Martin is from Fairmount, Ind., which is about thirty minutes away from Muncie. He moved to Muncie when he was 21 and owned and operated three different music venues, including Doc’s on Dill, which is the current location of Be Here Now.

“Muncie had a huge influence on my music and my music business. A lot of people think Muncie sucks, and it has a long way to go, but I think it's a great small town. … Muncie is my home and my heart,” Martin said.

Mike Martin and The Beautiful Mess will be performing at Be Here now on May 8. 

The band will also play in Lafayette May 5 and in Pendleton May 12.

The Beautiful Mess also includes Caryn Egan on fiddle, Ripley Owermohle on banjo, James Reynen on bass and CJ Barrow on drums.

Egan is also from Indiana and studied at Ball State and graduated in 2013 with a degree in music education. She joined the band while still in school and began touring the spring after she graduated. 

Martin said he had previously lived and toured in the Charleston, S.C., area for about 10 years before returning to Muncie, and playing with Egan and Josh Hatfield. Hatfield is also from Muncie and played bass with his hands and drums with his feet, but is no longer part of the band.

After the venue they played at closed, the group decided to relocate to Charleston. 

Main Man Records’ website describes the group’s music as “an eclectic mix of southern folk, rock and country.”

“I call it country, but I'm about the only one,” Martin said. “We've been called everything from boogie woogie bluegrass, soul and punk rock.”

Marc Regan, the co-founder of Main Man Records, was vacationing in South Carolina in May 2015 when he first heard The Beautiful Mess performing in a restaurant.

“There was one song in particular that turned my head; … the minute [Martin] started singing it, I paid attention,” Regan said.

The song was called “Take Your Pills” and Martin wrote it about his nephew, who was prescribed Ritalin at the age of six for his ADD. Regan thought the song could have significance elsewhere.

Regan’s son was a heroin addict and recovered more than three years ago. He started the organization CFC Loud N Clear with the help of his mother to help guide other people recovering from heroin addictions.

The Beautiful Mess performed at Rock the Farm in August 2015, a musical festival the organization hosts each year.

The band has recently released their first album with the record label, called “Gharkey St. Motel,” which includes music Martin has produced over the past ten years.

Martin hopes with the release of this album and the tour the band is on now, he will see the influence of his music spread to more people.

“I think [the record deal] a big step for us all in realizing we're on the right page, but just have to stick in there and keep working hard,” he said.