Mean Mary – Alone
Format: CD – Digital
Label: Woodrock Records
Release: 2020

Alone is quite literally Mean Mary alone. The ten original songs, recorded in her home studio in Nashville, are stripped down to a minimal production of just her voice and an instrument. Leaving her other instruments aside, Mary opts for a lone guitar, a banjo, or a banjitar (a combination of the two). Her straightforward yet dramatic arrangements highlight the personal songwriting and natural depth of her voice. Since Mary often tours as a solo artist, she describes this album as “a live performance with no applause … just silence and the next song.”

photo by Johnny Giles

Songs about life on the road – ‘Come Along’ and ‘Big Tour Bus’ – gently meld into songs from Mary’s childhood in the rural parts of Florida – ‘Another Barefoot Day’ and ‘We Never Hear the Song’. There are songs of trial and triumph – I Can Be Brave’, ‘Sparrow Alone’ and ‘What About Today? – and she gleefully presents her fun side while taking liberties with traditional tunes. She turns the well-known bluegrass song, ‘Nine Pound Hammer’, into an original blues song titled ‘Nine Pound Banjo’ and makes the old folk song, ‘Cindy’, her own with flirty new lyrics and a jazzy romp of a tune. In her Bonnie and Clyde inspired story-song, ‘Breathless’, Mary unapologetically sings about the darker side of life and completes the album’s roller-coaster of raw and real emotions.

01. Come Along
02. Nine Pound Banjo
03. Another Barefoot Day
04. What About Today?
05. Big Tour Bus
06. Sparrow Alone
07. I Can Be Brave
08. Little Cindy
09. Breathless
10. We Never Hear the Song

All songs by Mary James
except 3, 4, 6, 8 & 10
by Mary James and Jean James

Website: Mean Mary