Blame it all on Carole King. Mary McAdams found her older brother’s copy of “Tapestry” when she was 9 years old.
She put the album on the stereo in her parent’s living room and fell in love with songwriting. She spent nearly every night for the next three years crouched in a corner, memorizing every lyric, melody and musician on the album. She wore the grooves out and wore her brother down when he wanted his album back.
Then she discovered Jackson Browne. Then she got a guitar.
Mary wrote and wrote in high school, recorded a 12-song demo and panicked at the thought of playing music in front of people. She had full blown stage fright. Mary put her guitar away and tried to deny the pull that music had on her. She went to college and got a degree in Science, got married and began to raise her family.
“You can run from your calling for a good long time, but you can’t run forever,” says McAdams. After a nearly 10-year breakup with music that “almost broke me,” she picked up that guitar and hasn't looked back since.
Mary’s songwriting is garnering praise from some heavy hitters. “Mary’s voice is honest, unapologetically strong and downright ROCKIN’. The writing is full of imagery” (Sweet Talk Radio, Los Angeles, CA.). Her first album is a “lush, layered production that rocks; Mary’s voice soars above it all to drive these stories home” (Heather Miller, KRUU-LP 100.1FM, Fairfield, IA). And Mary has been winning awards for her songwriting: 2010 and 2011 Regional Finalist, Mountain Stage ‘NewSong’ Songwriting Competition; Finalist 2011 Snowbird Mountain Music Festival; Second Place, 2010 Snowbird Mountain Music Festival; Regional Finalist, 2010 Lilith Fair Local Talent Search, Finalist, 2010 Big Top Chautauqua Songwriting Contest; 2010 Sundance Film Festival Official Showcase.
Mary’s music was accepted by the music library and synch-licensing powerhouse, Crucial Music. Notoriously selective and located in Los Angeles, Crucial Music has secured substantial film/TV placements for its artists and Mary is excited about the possibilities.
The Buzz about Mary’s albums:
“Soccer moms have nothing on Mary McAdams. As if being a full-time mother and a wife isn’t enough to keep McAdams busy, the Des Moines, IA woman is revving up her other full-time job as a musician. “This is a calling. I said ‘no’ to it for a long time and it kept saying ‘yes,’” McAdams said of her music. “I think it’s what I was put here to do.”
Like so many other working musicians, McAdams has struggled over the years to find the perfect work-life balance.
“We’re in an adjustment period. Mom is getting really busy, and things are being dropped. Dinner isn’t on the table, the laundry isn’t getting done, the house isn’t getting cleaned and there are CDs everywhere,” said McAdams, who divides her day between music and family.”
McAdams said the addition of electric instruments (on this album) might surprise some of her fans who are accustomed to her acoustic performances, but the messages of the songs still resonate.
-- SCENE SCRIBE, By Michael Swanger email@example.com, Des Moines, IA
“You CAN NOT exaggerate how good this CD is. I was blown away at the very beginning. “Greed” is a frontal attack on Wall Street. This CD just keeps getting better and better. In the refrain of the third cut, Mary belts out the line, “Don’t fight to win, Baby– Fight for ME!!” This is world-class songwriting. Every time you think she’s drifting into what appears to be familiar songwriting territory, she comes up with something entirely fresh. ??She never lets up, right through to the final song, “Fourth of July,” featuring Mary alone with her Taylor acoustic. It’s about setting aside one day for a young child “cause you’ll never be three again – won’t feel like playing in sand – and I’m not letting this day by…..let’s make today the Fourth of July.”?
-- B. John Burns, The Public Defender, Des Moines, IA
NewFolk Finalist, 2013 Kerrville Folk Festival
Regional Finalist, 2012 Mountain Stage NewSong Songwriting Contest
Honorable Mention, 2012 Telluride Troubadour
Regional Finalist, 2011 Mountain Stage NewSong Songwriting Contest
Finalist, 2011 Susanne Millsap Songwriters Showcase Snowbird Mountain Music Festival
Regional Finalist, 2010 Mountain Stage NewSong Songwriting Contest
Finalist, 2010 Big Top Chautauqua Songwriting Contest
Second Place, 2010 Susanne Millsap Songwriters Showcase, Snowbird Mountain Music Festival
Semi-Finalist, 2010 Lilith Fair Local Talent Search.
Finalist in the Minnesota Folk Festival’s “New Folk Songwriting Contest” in 2002 and 2005.
If solo: Mary McAdams on vocals and guitar, a sweet, simple recipe for awesome.
If with a band: All of the above, plus unbridled drums; low grooving bass; fast, funky keys; and liquid magic lead guitar. You will leave with a smile tattoed on your face.
www.reverbnation.com/marymcadams for calendar
Mary McAdams - Debut 2009 10 song CD
Mary McAdams - Single, 2011 “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”
Mary McAdams - Single, 2010 "Santa Claus is coming to Town"
Mary McAdams - Single, 2010 "Wind is the Way"
GIG CALENDAR: www.marymcadams.com/shows
That Was Love
Girl Next Door 04302013
Trap Door 04252013
Take You There
How Much We've Loved
Wind is the Way
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By B John Burns August 20, 2009 Mary McAdams is not merely a songwriter herself but, over the pa...By B John Burns
August 20, 2009
Mary McAdams is not merely a songwriter herself but, over the past few years, has become the cheerleader (for lack of a better word) for other developing songwriters in our neck of the woods. She organizes an open mike for aspiring songwriters once a month at the Ritual Café, and has worked with others to form a local songwriters’ association.
Through the magic of Facebook, I’ve been able to follow the progress of Mary’s CD through all of the stages of its production. A couple of weeks back, she posted a cute video of her family celebrating the arrival of two large boxes of completed CDs. I had to order one.
It arrived last night in the mail, and I threw it in the car stereo for my drive to the jail this morning.
Thinking that I should offer her at least the same level of support she gives to other locals, I was prepared to give Mary’s CD a listen, and then perhaps fire off an email with some exaggerated praise.
I heard four tracks during the ride between my house and the jail, and I’ll say this. You CAN NOT exaggerate how good this CD is. I was blown away at the very beginning. The first tune, “Take You There,” is co-written (coincidentally) with Big Joel Kinser. I’m listening to it and remarking to myself that Mary chose to lead off with her best song. Like most of her songs, “Take You There” is about Mary McAdams. It describes a couple who clearly have been together for a while, whose time is mostly invested in the children, but who are able to find some time for a “late spring night, a bottle of wine and a black dress.” There’s a subtle bluesy turn in the melody that makes this song particularly interesting.
“Greed” is a frontal attack on Wall Street with a really cool piano line.
My observation about sticking her best song up front was not necessarily accurate, because this CD just keeps getting better and better. In the refrain of the third cut, Mary belts out the line, “Don’t fight to win, Baby– Fight for ME!!” This is world-class songwriting. Every time you think she’s drifting into what appears to be familiar songwriting territory, she comes up with something entirely fresh.
She never lets up, right through to the final song, “Fourth of July,” featuring Mary alone with her Taylor acoustic. It’s about setting aside one day for a young child “cause you’ll never be three again – won’t feel like playing in sand – and I’m not letting this day by. . . Let’s make today the Fourth of July.”
The CD is recorded at Sonic Factory Studios in Des Moines, with many of the best local musicians, and mastered in Omaha. But “Mary McAdams” holds its own (at least to my ears) with any production out of California or Atlanta.
Mary has her CD up on CD Baby, iTunes and various other outlets. If you want a copy of it let me know and I’ll get you the information.
And, believe me, you DO want a copy.
Great Original Music from a local Rising Star
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Written by Andy Duffelmeyer Tuesday, 15 September 2009 10:11 Mary McAdams, a Des Moines-based...Written by Andy Duffelmeyer
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 10:11
Mary McAdams, a Des Moines-based singer/song-writer originally from Madison, WI, has put together ten exceptional tracks for her debut, self-titled album. Although I’m probably not the first to say it and certainly won’t be the last, McAdams has a lot of talent - and the ability to take her music as far as she wants to.
McAdams' music definitely has a country flavor to it, but there are some elements of blues and rock ‘n’ roll in the mix as well, forming a very palatable ending product. Most of the songs feature a pretty standard pop-music line-up: drums, keyboard, guitar and bass, along with McAdams’ vocal work.
“Fight For Me” is one of the highlights of the album, combining story-telling with a nice instrumental arrangement and building up emotion and sound until the last few notes of the song. “If I Could Breathe” is another great track with hypnotizing chorus and bridge sections that let McAdams really show off her vocal range.
As good as McAdams’ singing, song-writing and acoustic guitar work is, the backing band adds a lot to many of the tracks. Jon Locker plays bass on many of the cuts and also produced the album at Sonic Factory Studios in Des Moines, while Tony Bohnenkamp co-produced and took care of much of the percussion work. James Biehn did some nice work on the electric guitar on many of the tracks as well.
McAdams will be the first artist for the return of Concert Corps, putting on a CD release show at the Temple for the Performing Arts on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. The full band is expected to be on hand with McAdams, so don't miss a chance to hear some great original music from a local rising star.
Debut album is dream come true for busy mother-musician
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SCENE SCRIBE By Michael Swanger firstname.lastname@example.org Debut album is dream come true for busy m...SCENE SCRIBE
By Michael Swanger email@example.com
Debut album is dream come true for busy mother-musician
?Soccer moms have nothing on Mary McAdams. As if being a full-time mother to two girls and a wife isn’t enough to keep McAdams busy, the 44-year-old Ankeny woman is revving up her other full-time job as a musician with the release of her self-titled debut album, which she celebrates the release of this weekend with a big concert at the Temple for Performing Arts.??“This is a calling. I said ‘no’ to it for a long time and it kept saying ‘yes,’” McAdams said of her music. “I think it’s what I’m put here to do.”??Like so many other working musicians, McAdams has struggled over the years to find the perfect work-life balance. During the early ’90s, she stopped performing to get married and to raise a family. Following the birth of her second child in 1999, McAdams resumed her music career, and for the last eight years she has been playing shows locally. When she isn’t playing gigs, she hosts the monthly jam at Ritual Café, teaches songwriting to children in grades K-8, sits on volunteer boards for arts groups and organizes weekend songwriting retreats with fellow artists.??But with the release of her new album, which she describes as “folk with a beat,” and plans for subsequent tours, McAdams said everything is up for grabs. ??“We’re in an adjustment period. Mom is getting really busy, and things are being dropped. Dinner isn’t on the table, the laundry isn’t getting done, the home isn’t getting cleaned anymore and there are CDs everywhere,” said McAdams, who divides her day between music and family. “It’s really exciting because it’s what we’ve been working for the last eight years. ??“We’re also checking in with each other [husband and children] to make sure no one is getting neglected. After the CD release show, we’re going to have a family meeting so everybody can lay out their needs on the table and figure out how things are going to get done because mom’s not going to be here as much.”??To help her accomplish her dream of recording an album worthy of taking on the road, McAdams hired veteran Des Moines musicians Jon Locker (bass), Tony Bohnenkamp (drums), James Biehn (guitar) and Jared Hall (keys). She credits Locker, who produced, engineered and mixed the album at Sonic Factory Studios in Des Moines, for recruiting his friends to perform the album’s 10 original songs.??“I thought the album would be me and my guitar,” McAdams said. “But as we were laying down scratch tracks, Jon said ‘I really hear this, this and this.’ I said ‘I don’t know who can do that’ and he said, ‘I do.’”??From that point the project changed for the better, McAdams said, adding that Locker as a producer “has the instincts and personality to deliver them.”??“I could cry telling you how excited I am about the record, and I don’t want to take any of the credit. I just wrote the songs, and then I hired good people and got out of the way,” she said. ??McAdams said the addition of electric instruments might surprise some of her fans who are accustomed to her acoustic performances, but the messages of the songs still resonate.??“The people who listen to me want to hear the words and the message and maybe need something. Hopefully I can deliver it,” she said. ??McAdams said she performs best when playing in venues that are designed for people to listen carefully to the music. So when she and her husband were shopping for a location to host her CD release show that will include the musicians on the album, they dreamed big and secured the Temple for Performing Arts in downtown Des Moines. ??“My husband said ‘We eloped and you didn’t get the wedding of your dreams and you need to ring this bell,’” McAdams said. “Even if I sell every ticket, I won’t break even. But this isn’t about making money; it’s about marking time and acknowledging a dream come true.” CV
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Iowa singer-songwriter Mary McAdams only lives about two hours away from me, but I think I actually ...Iowa singer-songwriter Mary McAdams only lives about two hours away from me, but I think I actually see her more in Colorado! Last year was my first at Rocky Mountain Song School and somehow knowing that there were other Iowan’s there gave me a little boost of confidence to hang out with people outside of the group of musicians from Fairfield. I saw her plenty of times again this year around the campgrounds and in classes. I did meet Mary for the first time in Iowa though, at a Just Plain Folks showcase at Ritual Cafe in Des Moines.
Just Plain Folks is a wonderful organization that supports musicians of all types, their motto is “We’re all in this together”. Among other things, they tour the country having showcases of local musicians in various cities to help people get to know each other. I believe Mary was one of the organizers of the Des Moines event a few years back, because Mary has been supporting area musicians of all sorts for years, from teaching music and songwriting to students in Iowa schools to hosting a monthly Open Mic at Ritual Cafe, so it’s great to see her out there with her own brand new album!
Her self-titled debut tackles a broad range of topics - from keeping the spark alive in married life to corporate greed (and that’s just the first two songs!), but all told from the lens of Everywoman. Putting on on the CD is kind of like sitting down with a dear friend and a pot of tea and catching up on the past couple years, chatting openly about everything near to her heart lately. That’s not to say it’s sleepy or quiet, quite the opposite! The lush, layered production rocks, and Mary’s voice soars above it all to drive those stories home. I heard in an interview that she originally thought the album was just going to be her and the guitar, and I don’t think that would have been a bad thing - check out these videos of Mary playing a couple of my favorite songs from the album solo at an outdoor event:
See? I think it would have been a solid album on it’s own, but I’m really digging the production too. Mary recorded at The Sonic Factory in Des Moines and those guys seem to be pretty with it. They even have a webcam set up to broadcast in the studio, so I got to see Mary recording some vocals a few months back. Cool stuff.
To hear some of those tunes from the album, check out www.myspace.com/marymcadamsmusic?You can purchase the album direct from Mary’s website, or get it from CDBaby or download it on iTunes.
This is a WINNER!
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“After the fist time I listened to Mary McAdams’ new self titled CD, I knew it right away; This is a...“After the fist time I listened to Mary McAdams’ new self titled CD, I knew it right away; This is a WINNER. Strong songs, sung by a warm, heartfelt voice Mary McAdams is blessed with. On the 10 tracks of this CD (which she mostly wrote by herself) you will recognize the craftmanship and drivin’ spirit she is blessed with as a songwriter and singer. For what it’s worth, this CD is quite as often in my cd player at home as I will spin it in my show. Mary McAdams is “Top of the Bill”. Let there be no mistake!!!”
- Roel Stäbler DJ FM 104.1 C. Houtmanstraat 41, The Netherlands
Set list consists of Mary's original songs in addition to carefully chosen covers.
One (1) 90 min set or Two (2) 45 min sets.
For Mary's GIG CALENDAR, please visit www.marymcadams.com/shows
PDF RiderMary McAdams - Hospitality Rider
There are no upcoming dates at this time.