Mary’s own back story – from abandoned child in New Orleans through teenage runaway years, university drop out, petty crime, successful cook and restaurant owner through sleuth to singer songwriter, fuels her insightful songs.
“With songwriting as powerful as hers, there’s no need to go looking for qualifiers… She’s a unique, intrinsically valuable musical voice. And there’s never a surplus of those,” wrote Randy Lewis in the Los Angeles Times
Her song Mercy Now earned her the title of Americana Music Association’s New/ Emerging Artist of the Year title and The Foundling, premiered in the Foundling Hospital in London, also won awards.
Now, in her first studio album in four years, Mary has taken back the reins of her career and produced the album with Patrick Granado.
One track on Trouble and Love, How You Learn To Live Alone, was chosen for the TV show Nashville, and on the album Duane Eddy plays guitar on this song.
Mary didn’t write her first song until she turned 30, and for the new album, the songs are inspired from what she describes as an especially dark period. Previous albums have featured virtuosic fiddle playing, but here the sound is lower.
The heart of stories is love, but not the kind of love that’s celebrated on pop charts or even the country classics, she says.
The final track, Another Train, was written while she was on a lengthy tour of the UK, and inspired by a railway station sign that gave her confidence that personal loss would not be fatal.
Both the title track and Worthy capture the universal condition, “love, loss, and a life transformed” – Mary sums it up: “It’s not a random collection of songs. This record is a story. And there’s no such thing as going too deep.”
It’s a remarkable album that develops Mary’s performances and songs, rather than one put out “because it’s time.”
She is at the Maverick Festival in Suffolk at the beginning of July, and returns to the UK in the autumn – dates still to be announced.