ORRVILLE — Listening to the smooth, baritone voice of Mark Leach, who will perform at the Orrville Rib and Music Fest at 7 p.m. Friday, one quickly realizes that the future of country music is in good hands.

Shaped by many influences, Leach has an innate sense of who he is musically. Growing up in a small town just outside of Akron, Leach got his first taste of performing through a couple of avenues. First, in his high school’s theater program, where a teacher pushed him beyond his comfort zone and second, playing in various bands with high school friends.

After high school, Leach took the next step in his career by forming his own band in college. Playing clubs and festivals in the Ohio area, Leach quickly established himself as a crowd favorite and was often the requested opening act for regional and national artists traveling through the area. At the same time, Leach was making frequent visits to Nashville, and when he made the decision to move to Music City in 2015, not only was it anticipated, but it was celebrated with broad excitement from his fans.

In four short years, Leach has released three self-funded projects. With Love From Tennessee in 2013 was followed by the EP Let’s Get Lost in 2014. In 2016, for his first project after moving to Nashville, Leach partnered with Grammy-nominated producer Matt McClure, known for his work with Lee Brice, and the resulting EP Homemade turned out to be a home run with a No. 11 appearance on the iTunes chart. In 2017, Mark recorded and released his latest single She Don’t Go To Church after massive fan response on his YouTube page when he posted an acoustic version shortly after writing the song. The signs of a hit were there — the single hit No. 2 during pre-orders, the only independent single to land among the major label artists at that high of a level, pointing to many good things to come.

Leach tours regularly, and in addition to his own headlining shows, he has had the opportunity to open for a growing list of national artists including Kip Moore, Gary Allan, Granger Smith, Colt Ford, Chris Jansen, Jon Pardi and, the biggest yet, Eric Church. “That was the most surreal phone call of my life,” Leach said about being asked to open for Church at The Country Fest in Ohio in 2016.

Since moving to Music City, Leach has spent much of his time writing with prominent songwriters around town and working on new material for his next release. With his success over the last few years, the future looks bright for Leach. For more information visit www.orrvillelionsribfest.com.