Wow. That is how to play the banjo. ‘Come Along’ is the opening track on Mean Mary’s new album, ‘Alone’, due out on 18th September. All the songs on the album were recorded alone in Mary’s home studio in Nashville: just Mary’s timeless voice and her banjo or guitar (or ‘banjitar’ – a cross between the two). “I’m just a banjo picker,” she sings on this song, which is a real understatement from a fabulous player who has over 15 million views on her YouTube channel. A musical prodigy who could play the banjo, guitar and violin by seven years old, Mary is a real talent. Check out this fast, finger-picking fun.
The title of the new Mean Mary album says it all – ‘Alone’. It is Mary and her banjo. Or Mary and her guitar. OK, sometimes she combines the two into one instrument banjitar. Plain and simple. One big BUT here. There is an essential problem with simple things. They turn out to be the most complicated thing to do. Why? As one lyric goes, ‘nowhere to hide, nowhere to go”… You either come up with some excellent songs, have impeccable vocals, and really know your way about those ‘simple’ instruments you are using. This is particularly risky if you have already made a name for yourself coming up with music under full instrumentation (Mary has over 15 million views on her YouTube channel). Continue reading “Mean Mary “Alone” (Woodrock Records, 2020)”
There is, it seems, no limit to Mary James’ (Mean Mary is a stage name) talent. This native of Alabama has, astonishingly, been writing songs since the age of five. She could read music before she could read script and can play eleven instruments including the banjo, fiddle and guitar. She has also written novels and a spiritual memoir, and was, as a child, a regular on a local Alabama TV programme The Country Boy Eddie Show. It was one of the songs she regularly performed on the TV, ‘Mean Mary from Alabam’ that inspired her stage name. Sometimes the only thing that can be done is to sit agog at the breadth and depth of talent some people are imbued with. Except it isn’t, because when that talent translates into recorded output such as we have here, we can all enjoy it. Win win. Continue reading “Mean Mary ”Cold” (Woodrock Records, 2019)”
The intimate Green Note remains the beating heart of London’s acoustic roots music scene, always promoting an eclectic mix of musical genres and able to attract the very best musicians from around the world, many returning year after year to grace its cozy stage. Tonight saw a talented double bill of Nashville based Mean Mary and London’s homegrown Rebecca Hollweg draw an enthusiastic crowd to the Camden venue. The third time now that this gifted pair have played this unique London stage together. Continue reading “Mean Mary + Rebecca Hollweg, The Green Note, London, 27th September 2018”