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Friday, January 30, 2015

SU Grad Student Named Maryland Country Music Artist of the Year

Eric KargeSALISBURY, MD---Whether he becomes a country music star or a cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist, Salisbury University graduate student Eric Karge will be doing something he loves.

The 25-year-old singer-songwriter was named the 2014 Country Music Artist of the Year during the inaugural Maryland Music Awards at Rams Head Live in Baltimore. The ceremony is set to air 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, February 8, on WBFF FOX 45 Baltimore.

“It was quite an honor to be chosen by fans as one of the best artists coming out of the state,” said Karge, a Preston native who is working on his master’s in applied health physiology at SU.

Fans voted online for the first round of the awards, nominating Karge among the top five artists for the country music category, as well as Songwriter of the Year and Breakout Artist of the Year. There were 12 categories total.

In round two, over 60 music industry professionals including artists, producers and promoters reviewed material from the leaders in each category. Karge submitted three original songs, including “Small Town Night,” written about his hometown.

Karge got his first taste of the music industry while he was a senior exercise science/pre-med major at High Point University in North Carolina.

Eric Karge“During my last semester, I decided I wanted to record something professional, so I went to Osceola Studios in Raleigh and pretty much laid down all the money I had left as a student,” he said. There he met producer Dick Hodgin, who continues to be his mentor.

“He recorded me and let me know that I could do this as a career,” Karge said. Hodgin has worked with Lynyrd Skynyrd and is credited with discovering Hootie and the Blowfish and others including country artist Jason Michael Carroll, Karge added.

Since his debut EP in 2012, Karge has continued to make a name for himself as an artist, writing songs, performing and recording when possible. Last year, he recorded the single “Havin’ Some Fun” at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio with members of bands for Reba McIntyre, Martina McBride and George Strait.  He currently is working with Hodgin on a military tribute album due out this spring.

At the same time, Karge also wanted to continue his education for a clinical career.  SU offered the classes he wanted, and the quality of the program was confirmed by alumnus Matthew Roberts, an exercise physiologist who Karge shadowed for four months at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton.  (Roberts works in Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation, where Karge’s grandmother spent time following a heart attack.)

Karge sees similarities in the two career paths he is pursing simultaneously:  both require hard work and “sharpness.”

“Being here in this amazingly difficult program, it keeps you conceptually sharp; it keeps your brain active,” he said. “Having professors like Dr. Tom Pellinger challenge me in every class then makes something else like writing a song become easier.  Being in school while writing songs keeps me from being stale.”

Karge hopes to finish his master’s next December. The son of SU alumni Robert and Gail Karge, he graduated from Colonel Richardson High School in 2007 and High Point in 2011. His music is available via the iTunes Store and Amazon, or visit

For more information about SU, call 410-543-6030 or visit

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