FolkWorld #78 07/2022
© G Promo PR

Across the Western Ocean

Banjo Month

Mean Mary

Portrait of a Woman

It’s not often that the words wholesome and innovative can be used together to describe an artist, but such is the case with Mean Mary. Once again, she emerges with an album that takes the listener straight into a magical world of stories and sounds. Portrait of a Woman (Part 1) is not a paint-by-numbers studio recording but an intricate creation that comes more alive with each listen.

Mean Mary

Artist Video Mean Mary @ FROG

Mary has her hands in every aspect of the album from producing to writing to performing but she is also joined by a talented group of folks that includes her family - her brother, Frank James, brings extra fun to the songs with his baritone voice and unique 12-string guitar playing while her mother, Jean James, co-wrote several of the songs.

Since Mary and Jean are both award-winning novelists, it’s no wonder that this album is full of humour and plot twists. The lyrics and tunes seamlessly intertwine around Mary’s scintillating instrumentation on banjo, guitar and violin, but it’s Mary’s electrifying voice that takes you flying past the ‘Bridge Out’ sign straight into ‘No Man’s Land’ and wishing you could watch the ‘Clouds Roll By’ forever.

Mean Mary

Mean Mary "Portrait of a Woman (Part 1)", Woodrock Records, 2022

Mean Mary

Mean Mary & The Contrarys "Hell & Heroes (Vol 1)", Woodrock Records, 2022

Fresh on the heels (literally 4 weeks on the heels) of her Portrait of a Woman album, Mean Mary brings another fresh take of her distinctive sound. This time she cranks up her rock 'n' roll side with electric banjo and electric guitar on new EP, Hell & Heroes (Vol 1). As always, her original songs and powerful vocals take front and centre. She is joined by her band The Contrarys (Allen Marshall on drums and David Larsen on bass).

Hell & Heroes (Vol 1) is the first release in a 4-volume project that will feature Mean Mary and The Contrarys creating music that captures the true heart of Americana and folk music with the power and driving rhythm of rock and blues.

Starting July 22 there will be new videos every Friday

July 22 - Cranberry Gown (Official Music Video)
July 29 - Cranberry Gown (Lyric Video)
Aug 5 - No Man's Land (Official Music Video)
Aug 12 - No Man's Land (Lyric Video)

Aug 19 - Penelope Rose (Official Music Video)
Aug 26 - Penelope Rose (Lyric Video)

More to be announced soon! 


Award-winning musician/writer and fan favourite (over 30 million views on her YouTube channel), Mean Mary, literally grew up in music. She evolved from a child prodigy who played for tips on the streets of Nashville (“startling talent” said The Tennessean) to a seasoned performer and headliner of over 4000 festivals and concerts (“the voice of a ragged Angel combined with the banjo playing of the Devil” says No Depression).

Deering Banjos named her their Goodtime Ambassador, and Janet Deering describes her banjo playing as giving her “chills.” Equally versatile on guitar, fiddle, and 8 other instruments, Mary is known internationally for her lightning-fast fingers, haunting vocals, and intricate story songs. As a high-energy performer that thrives on variety and as a songwriter that chooses unusual subject matters, anything from ghost pirates to demon guitars could romp through a Mean Mary show.

Mean Mary will be live streaming via Deering Live on Thursday 28th!

Photo Credits: (1)-(4) Mean Mary (unknown/website).

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