Current Awards and Nominations:
2010 - Christian Music Hall of Fame Top 5 Christian Country Female Vocalist of the Year Nominee
2010 - February's #1 Christian Country Single on the Power Source 100 Chart "Come To The Well"
2009 - Inspirational Country Music Awards Top 5 Female Vocalist of the Year Nominess
2007 - Inspirational Country Music Award op 5 Female Vocalist of the Year Nominee
2006 - Inspirational Country Music Award Top 5 Female Vocalist and New Artist Nominee
2006 - John Lennon Songwriting Contest - Semi-Finalist / Gospel category.
2006 - International Songwriting Competition (ISC) - Semi-Finalist Christian/Gospel Category
2006 - Just Plain Folks Awards - Best Contemporary Christian Song nominee.
2006 - Daywind Records Talent Contest - Regional Finalist.
2006 - Merlefest's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest - 2nd place Gospel Category.
MEET MARY JAMES
If there's one thing that Mary understands, it's the transforming work of Christ. One to whom grace abounds, she is a testimony of the new life that is given to the sinner who repents and to the prodigal who returns. "I was a dead man walking," she says of her life before Christ. Now Mary is a new creation, empowered to bring a message of hope, renewal, and faith through the songs God has given her to share with the world.
From the very beginning, Mary James' life has not been ordinary. Born to a teenager who was not ready to be a parent, she was given up for adoption and taken in by a pastor and his wife. Mary's adoption was never a secret and life at home was difficult. Mary's adoptive Mother suffered from alcoholism and died of cancer when Mary was only 13. Her Father spent his life dedicated to serving his congregation and was unable to spend much time with the family. These circumstances sparked in her a certain insecurity that remains to this day. "I have always had a feeling of being unwanted, of not being loved and accepted. I came to the place where I really just gave up on myself." This giving up was what led Mary to drugs, alcohol, and finally to life as a teenage runaway. "As a child I had no concept of who God was because I could not see Him in my daily life," she says.
THE CHANCE TO LIVE
Mary's first feeling of belonging came at 21 when she met her biological mother and finally understood how she had fought for her unborn baby's right to live. "Since abortions were illegal in the United States at that time, my Grandmother wanted my Mother to travel to Europe to end her pregnancy. In spite of the pressure, my Mom was willing to go through the pregnancy and all of the social stigmas related to being a pregnant teenager in order to give me a chance to live." Even though Mary did not know it yet, God had a plan for her.
For as long as Mary can remember, music has been a part of her life. Raised in a musical family, her talents were recognized at an early age when she began to sing solos in church and in school. Her teachers encouraged the budding talent, and Mary was given opportunities to train her voice and perform publicly at a young age. Despite a strong start and her own desire to succeed, Mary was not able to advance in the music industry as she had planned. "Every possible thing happened to deter me from pursuing music," she remembers. Mary went on to perform in clubs and network with other Southern California artists and songwriters, but it was all very empty.
REASON TO LIVE
Even though Mary grew up in church, she did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In spite of her separation from God, He was drawing her to Himself through the circumstances in her life. Strong Christian co-workers who were a witness to Mary invited her and her family to a play that shared the truth about sin and salvation. That night, Mary, her two children and fiancé accepted Christ. Mary's daughter, Jessica, remembers it as the day that they were "washed clean." And with that new life, Mary began to experience the fullness of what God had planned for her.
MUSIC WITH MEANING
After Mary gave her life to Christ; a passion was born in her for worship music and Christian songs. She began to serve in her local church as a worship leader and was given numerous opportunities to share her gifts at churches, women's retreats and other similar venues. But, it did not seem that God was through with Mary as an artist and songwriter, it was just the beginning.
Mary received a phone call one day from a man named Steve Wetherbee, a friend who had known her before Mary's new life began. He approached her with an offer: he wanted to record a CD of her songs, but wanted them to be Christian. This was just the encouragement that Mary needed, and was the beginning of the journey that has led her to the production of "Little Things", "Truth Cries Out" and now the long awaited “Beautiful Savior”.
TRUTH CRIES OUT
After long hours in the studio and even longer hours of faith lessons that inspired the songs on the album, Mary released her first full-length CD. Did she feel adequate to be the one bringing such a message? "So often the trials were so intense that I did not think I could keep going. My battle with stage fright was relentless. But God continued nudging me and I moved forward each day trusting that I was in His will, refusing to be a prisoner to fear and insecurity." It is her obedience to God and encouragement from fellow believers that has given Mary the courage to take the stage and give the message that is on her heart.
And just what is that message? "A life led by Christ is sweet success - a life lived without Him is emptiness. I want to reach people who are seeking answers or are discouraged and remind them that God loves them beyond measure. Not only has He poured out His love on us through His Son Jesus, he has gifted each of us in our own unique way. I allowed lies to get in the way of truth for a long time, but not anymore. God's plan for each of us is one of a kind. He can use our past to impact the future...if we let Him."
JOURNEY WITH THE SAVIOR
God has opened many doors since Mary’s journey began, with a singing and speaking schedule now ranging from 70-100 dates per year. In addition, she is releasing her third full length CD in September of 2008, titled after the old hymn “Beautiful Savior”. Mary says, “As I sat down to pull all the pieces of this project together, I could not seem to settle on an appropriate title. The trend among many Christian artists is to be as original as possible and avoid “Christian-ese”. So, I bought into the myth that less Christian language would somehow be more attractive or have more impact on my audience. In my devotional time, God directed me to 1 Peter 2:9, which brought wonderful clarity to our charge in Christ. Paraphrased it says, “You have been saved to proclaim the excellence of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light”. And that is what I do through music, plain and simple. The songs of the new project focus on the One who gives us victory in the valleys or a song to sing even when the walls are falling down around us. No other title was more fitting than the one I chose, for Christ is the source of all joy, our “Beautiful Savior”. More than ever before, am I in love with the one who understands sacrifice, humility, and the power that love has over sorrows. I have met countless people who have faced, or are facing great trials, and they are still able to find joy because of the deep satisfaction they have found in knowing Jesus. I want the world to know Him and as long as He allows me to sing His praises, I will continue.
By the grace of God, Mary stands as a testimony of Jesus Christ and the work He can accomplish in a life yielded to His wonderful plan.
Mary James - Vocals
Jessica Darlington - Background Vocals
Gary Livesay - Lead Guitar / Background Vocals
Dan Barker - Rhythm Guitar
Bob Sale - Drums
Mike Wiley - Bass
Barry Dubis - Keys
Beautiful Savior © 2008
Truth Cries Out © 2005
Little Things © 2001
Troubadour - Beautiful Savior Album Review
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October 2009 Mary James Beautiful Savior Written by Mike Alvarez On her terrific new country...October 2009
Written by Mike Alvarez
On her terrific new country rock album Beautiful Savior, Mary James sings with the conviction and passion that is commonly found in the best love songs. And indeed that's precisely what these are: love songs. But instead of being directed toward some hunky flavor-of-the-month who'll someday do her wrong, she sings her heart out to her Lord and Creator. It is precisely those very qualities of passion and conviction that lend this upbeat collection of catchy tunes the gravity that lets listeners know she means business. As detailed on her website, hers was not an easy path through life, so when she shares the answers she has found, it is from a position of strength and clarity.
Musically speaking, this is a well-produced recording with songs that are
instantly likeable. Melodic hooks are liberally incorporated into bold and
spacious arrangements. While the most apparent emphasis is on a modern
country sound, the album often straddles the line between that genre and
melodic pop, with forays into folk and classic rock. Guitars are featured
prominently throughout, with keyboards, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, and banjo
added at strategic points for added color. It's all held together by a very
capable rhythm section.
Accompanied by a well-respected cadre of stellar local musicians, including
guitarists "Cactus" Jim Soldi and Mark "Twang" Intravia, keyboardist
Sharon Whyte, and multi-instrumentalist Dennis Caplinger, James gives a
strong and varied vocal performance that is emotive and pleasing. Her delivery is at times evocative of her influences, which include Wynonna, Bonnie Raitt, and Reba McIntyre. On the sprightly country dance number "Little Down Home," her performance takes on a little of Dolly Parton's manner of phrasing lyrics. The Southern rock song "Come to the Well" shows her adding a little of Linda Ronstadt's fire to the mix. The band sounds tough and tight, bringing more than a few echoes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Alabama to the table. Most of these songs were written or co-written by Ms. James, and it's a true testament to her musical sensibility that they contain so many memorable passages. "Flowers, Angels and Jesus," "She Sings," and "Bring the Rain" feature chord sequences and melodies that have real staying power hours after one listens to them. "In My Eyes" is a slow acoustic tune that starts out sounding like the Roy Orbison classic "Love Hurts" but develops into a truly lovely ballad. The album closer is the title track, based upon a well-known church melody, but arranged in such a way that it artfully fits into the style set by the rest of the album.
James leaves no doubt as to the message she wishes to send through her music. She doesn't cloak it in obtuse lyrics or imagery. Quite the contrary, the album title itself makes known the strong religious convictions she expresses through these songs. For those who believe, this is a no-brainer. Get it. For those less faithfully inclined? They might be pleasantly surprised at how much they'll end up liking it.
Album Of The Month ~ Beautiful Savior
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Mary is an independent west coast singer-songwriter who has produced her best work in this new album...Mary is an independent west coast singer-songwriter who has produced her best work in this new album. If you’ve heard her before, you know that she’s always been a quality entertainer. However there’s much more to Mary than musicianship. A visit to her website is in order, or maybe you can catch one of her countless appearances in churches and conferences. Either way, you owe it to yourself to hear
her story, because to know how she got to this place in her artistry is to understand how she can draw from her soul these passionate and imagery-dripping songs. Her praise is offered with the voice of a tested soldier of the kingdom. Her poetic testimony is couched in the real life experiences of people embracing the living metaphors of birds, flowers, and rain. The music is pop-flavored Country, a captivating blend of lilting melodies and layered guitars, banjo, fiddle, dobro, and
sophisticated keyboards. Producer/engineer Steve Wetherbee pulls it all together for a sparkling sound that brings every song to a uniquely full flavor. Mary wrote almost all the songs, most of them with Gary Livesay. Her lyrics are not pudding, but steak, thick and juicy. Her pitch is impeccable. Her delivery inspired. This is an album not to be missed, and one that will have as much appeal to the Country listener as the Contemporary fan.
Music Spotlight - Mary James - CD Review - Beautiful Savior
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Music Spotlight Mary James – Beautiful Savior: CD Review By RACHEL REID With such popularity...Music Spotlight
Mary James –
Beautiful Savior: CD Review
By RACHEL REID
With such popularity and numerous awards to her name, one would think that it all came easy to this singer/songwriter Mary James. Born in Alameda but with roots in San Diego, it has been a hard road traveled. Mary James was born to a teenager who was not ready to be a mother and was given up for adoption and taken in by a pastor and his wife. This was the start of her journey that came with a high price.
Her father, with the duties to his church being on the forefront and with her adoptive mother an alcoholic, Mary often found herself feeling alone and unwanted. “I had no connection with anybody. Love was muddy and I was easily influenced.” It was during those times that turned her road towards the wrong path and where James found herself lost.
Music had always been a part of her life as she began to sing at an early age. She often sang at school and church and eventually in clubs, mostly country music. It wasn’t until Jesus got a hold of her life and one day sitting at church (Horizon Christian Fellowship) listening to the music she said, “I want to do that!” Mary
continued to share, “God changed my direction. I knew that I wanted to lead music, but I didn’t know God well enough to be leading. I knew that I wasn’t spiritually ready, but God gradually has allowed me to do more and more.” She started to sing inspirational music and knew it was time to do what she loved to do and that was to
sing and share her music. Wanting to set a good example, Mary was not sure that the church was ready to accept her. But strongly believing in the love and restoration through Jesus Christ she boldly stepped forward and never looked back. Several albums and tours later, Mary shares that her greatest moments are when she sees God moving so powerfully in the lives of people. Mary has garnered several awards and honors and most recently, including 2008 ICM Top 10 nominee for Inspirational Country Music; Female Vocalist of the Year. Mary has ministered at events with Dr. David Jeremiah, Kay Arthur, Tim & Beverly LaHaye and many other well-known ministries. She sang at the Women in Christian Media Conference that was held in San Diego recently, showcasing her beautiful voice and ministry.
Beautiful Savior is a blend of country and soft country rock with a touch of southern gospel at times. This album captures the true heart of this worshiper. The album begins with the song “Captured My Heart” a story of the singer/songwriter. The lyrics are about her early childhood testimony that cried out “Where does my
heart go from there” but completes the question with the answer “You captured me with your sweet melody.” The song is loaded with strong lyrics and powerful guitar overtones that keep this song alive. “Little Down Home” can’t get more country and maybe verge on Bluegrass where you can hear that old church bell as the songs says. It’s one you can tap your toes and enjoy. Every song on this album will keep
you listening. Flip the track to song No. 4 “I’m Not Willing” – a strong conviction of commitment to one another and to God. “Come To The Well” is my favorite in the album. I can’t really pinpoint the exact reason why. It just draws me. It has a catchy hook and melody line with lyrics that say “Come down to the well where the living waters flow.” Simply put, this song just jams. All 11 songs on this album are worth a listen, you may just get a message or two that will minister to your soul. Yes, you will find a cover tune by Matt Redman “Worthy, You are Worthy” and how lively it is. The beautiful voice this singer has touches your heart with a sincere love to share the gospel through music. Enjoy the presence of the Lord with the music and messages in this entire album. Not only is Mary James making a wave with countless awards and nominations in the Christian/Country Music industry but locally here in our own San Diego. We are so thankful to have her here in America’s Finest City. To know more about Mary James, performances, for booking or to purchase Beautiful Savior log onto www.mary-james.com.
Christian Examiner Article by Dawn Wilson
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"Beauty From Brokenness" Breaking through her battle with shame, Mary James sings and testifies t..."Beauty From Brokenness"
Breaking through her battle with shame, Mary James sings and testifies to the transforming work of God.
James, recently featured at the Inspirational Country Music Awards as a performer and a top female vocalist nominee, gives women hope that God can restore what is broken—but it hasn’t been an easy road.
“I was battling with shame,” she said. “I was embarrassed to tell people my story. I was afraid that if they knew the truth about me, I would be ostracized.”
James found the courage, in spite of stage fright, to share her testimony with a group of college students. Their response amazed her and became a turning point
“One girl told me, "I’ll never forget that!’ ” she said. “I realized that God would use my brokenness if I was bold and transparent, and I’m learning to do more of that even though it seems awkward.” James’ admitted stage fright is incongruous with her stage presence and the easy lilt of her voice.
Her nomination to the ICMA “Top Five Female Vocalist” category is a repeat from the previous year’s honor and evidence that she is no longer an up-and-coming singer, but one whose time has come. Singer-songwriter Greg McDougal,
an artist in the Christian Country Music Association, invited James to sing “Dancing Shoes” with him on a unique project—a duets album. Other artists scheduled to sing on the album include The Oak Ridge Boys, the Bellamy Brothers, Tammy Cochran, Melanie Walker, Tommy Brandt and Mike Hammock. James has a tender spot for McDougal and his project. “Greg sings to provide for his children,” James said. “He has four children, and three have been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. He’s
trying to build an allergy-free home for them.”
As an independent artist, James must finance personal music projects, but she is prayerful that her new, yet-untitled CD will release this spring. She was a finalist in the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting contest for the gospel song, “It’s a Good Thing,” with co-writer Jim Soldi. The song also won her a semifinalist award at the International Songwriting Contest in 2006. She won second place at Merlefest 2006 as a Chris Austin Songwriting Contest winner with the song “Truth Cries Out” (cowriters: Dan Barker and Dennis Caplinger). Austin—who played for Ricky Skaggs—was killed in a plane crash, and the contest is dedicated to him each year.
“Truth Cries Out,” the story of a prodigal, was also a winner at ISC.
‘Unwanted’ and insecure God’s grace is evident in the singer-songwriter’s story. She
describes her pre-Christ life as a “dead man walking” experience. Born to a teenager who was not ready to parent, James was adopted by a pastor and his wife.
Her adoptive mother suffered from alcoholism and died from cancer when James was 13. Her father, dedicated to his church, spent little time with her. “I have always had a feeling of being unwanted, of not being loved and accepted,” she said. Overcome by insecurity and feelings of rejection, James gave in to drugs and alcohol at age 16 and ran away from home. At 21, she met her biological mother, who explained how she had fought for James’ right to live. “Since abortions were illegal in the United States at that time, my grandmother wanted my mother
to travel to Europe to end her pregnancy,” James said. The revelation was James’
first sense of “belonging” in the world.
A blossoming life and career God’s hand of grace was on James’ life, and He used her talents in music and love for creative arts to eventually draw her into the family of God. Although she grew up in the church, she did not turn to God and receive
Christ until Christian co-workers invited her and her family to a play, “Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames,” in 1999. Before that life-changing event, James was unable to advance in the music industry as she had planned. Although she performed in clubs and networked with various Southern California artists and songwriters, she found the experience “empty” and fruitless. But her music, she said, “blossomed” along with her new life in Christ. “It’s been an amazing journey,” she said. “God has done all these things.”
A friend from her pre-Christian life, Steve Wetherbee, surprised James with an offer to record a CD of her songs, but he wanted Christian songs, not secular. With that CD, and in all of her performances and speaking ministry, James’ focus is one
simple message: “A life led by Christ is sweet success; a life lived without Him is emptiness.”
As the adventure of her musical career unfolds, she desires only that God will use her, with little concern for the outward trappings of success. “Life can so get in the way, but I go back to God’s truths. The disciples weren’t promised a rose garden,” she said. “When Jesus called them, He didn’t promise any luxuries. He just said, ‘Follow me.’ God is the One who builds the ministry, and I don’t want to use expedience to get myself ahead in God’s world. I want to serve Him purely because I love Him, and to be grateful—whether He gives me something big, small, or nothing.”
James, who attends Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Ca.,
encourages people to get beyond whatever weighs them down, and to get busy serving Christ. She is concerned about women who think they are worthless and
beyond hope. “I spent 34 years as a nonbeliever, a hypocrite,” she said, “but now I tell people, ‘Put your past away, because (God) has.”
For more information about Mary James’ ministry and performance schedule, visit www.mary-james.com or more information about the “Dancing Shoes” project, visit www.ahouseformykids.com.
What People Are Saying......
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"Since our first women's event in San Diego in 2005, Mary James has been a friend of Daily Disciple..."Since our first women's event in San Diego in 2005, Mary James has been a friend of Daily Disciples Ministries. Our first thought for the worship band at all our events is: we had better get Mary booked! She is simply the best, a real professional with amazing talent yet the heart of a servant. We know that God has big plans for Mary and her band, for the world needs to hear the heart of this women through her music. We love you, Mary."
- Bobbye Brooks and Tonilee Adamson, Daily Disciples Ministries
"Deep, authentic and worshipful are just a few ways to describe Mary's message in both words and music. Through the journey of her own pain and transformation she sings and speaks messages of hope to women around the country. Mary is a joy to work with; a humble servant with a powerful gift which she shares with great power."
- Danna Demetre, President, Women of Purpose
"Mary James is everything you want from a singer/
songwriter...starting with wonderfully heartfelt songs, delivered by a voice that is sweet, yet powerful, pointedly
honest, always true to the message. Mary is a dynamic,
engaging performer who envelops her audience in the
Spirit...a gifted artist who gives all, holding nothing back."
- Robert Jason, Producer
" The beautiful voice this singer has, touches your heart with a sincere love to share the gospel through music. Enjoy the presence of the Lord with the music and message of this entire album. Not only is Mary James making a wave in the Christian/Country Music industry, but locally here in our own San Diego. We are so thankful to have her here in America's finest city."
-Rachel Reid, Good News, Etc. on "Beautiful Savior"
"We had a FABULOUS time at the concert. You are an angel in a human body. Your voice, your testimony, your presence, bring Christ to people and people to Christ. I bought 3 CD's at the concert, not sure who 2 of them were meant for. Turned out to be two friends who were not familiar with your ministry or music. I am SO excited to bring you - and the Lord through you - to them. Thank you for the magnificent CD."
-Teri Nystrom, a worshipper referring to "Beautiful Savior"
"It's an album for all kinds of people - old and young, men and women, country lovers and those who don't like country too much - anyone who wants to worship with a woman whose heart has been broken and healed and found true love."
- Sara Burrows, Good News, Etc. on "Truth Cries Out"
"Your music was balm for my soul."
- Sherrie Norris, Writer for The Mountain Times, Boone, NC.
"I believe that some of us are called to reach out to people who may not realize that God loves them. Music can touch people very deeply and reach into their hearts in a way that nothing else can. There is no doubt in my mind that is why you (and others), who have great musical gifts are compelled to use them in this way. After reading your personal story it confirmed that to me even more."
- Rich Miller, Radio Personality & DJ/The Power Source Top 20
"Thank you for a very inspirational album that speaks universally to all faiths. Your vocals are simply outstanding. Your message of faith and praise should be heartfelt by all who listen to it."
- Tom Gorton, writer for The Borrego Sun on "Truth Cries Out"
"Mary is truly a blessing to us here at The Sunrise Show. She's the real deal and the entire package; extremely talented, beautiful and warm spirited. In a genre that thirsts for female artists of her caliber, Mary is a drink of cool water to Country and The Sunrise Show."
- Jim Tucker, The Sunrise Show
"Mary is a welcomed addition to the worship ministry at The Rock Church! What you see is what you get - a gifted songwriter and singer, an anointed worship leader, and a heart to point others toward Christ."
- Adam Vega, Former Worship Pastor, The Rock Church
"Mary James' heart of worship is evident. The music she writes digs deep into the soul and has the ability to tear down walls and cause a person to turn their eyes to Jesus. Mary's humble heart makes her so easy to work with. Her willingness to work hard and to be excellent at what she does makes my job as worship leader so much easier. Take the time, get to know Mary James for yourself and you will be blessed beyond any words that I can say about her."
- Chris Surdock, Worship Leader
"Every time we come to The Rock and I see you're there I tell my wife "Oh no, I'm gonna cry!" I really feel His presence through you. My wife and I met when we were in a Country/Rock band together and so we know the difference between ordinary and inspired. GOD has truly blessed you and those of us that feel His power through you. God Bless you
and thank you."
- Brad B, a worshipper
"Mary has captured a sound all her own with Christ as her focus, combining folk and country genres with a strong modern pop and praise slant. Her catchy melodies and sincere lyrics make for comfortable listening and thought-provoking reflection. With bright and engaging vocals, this is one independent CD you should definitely check out."
- CCM Planet on Little Things
"Knowing Mary James is a blessing in itself. Working with independent artists on a daily basis can be challenging, but not with Mary. She is not only a very structured songwriter, but also a versatile vocalist with the voice of an angel. Truth Cries Out is a beautiful 13 cut CD that not only showcases her ability, but more importantly her love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
- Lynne Turner Connolly, Former Rep at HMG Nashville,
Christian Country Music Association
"Limitless being joyously expresses self through singing! Your concert at Summer's Past Farms was really wonderful; not even thunderous storms could dampen the enjoyment."
- Erhard Vogel
"To those who know her, the passion of her music and heart permeates her life and ministry."
- Pastor Tom Thompson, Former Associate Pastor,
Shadow Mountain Community Church
"Mary's music is a reflection of the light of Christ that shines so vividly through her. The gift Jesus has given to her will minister to your very soul."
- Roxi Leeder - Women's Ministry Leader, Pacific Hope Church
"Mary James has an incredible talent! She has ministered through music multiple times at Shadow Mountain Community Church and has been a great blessing. She is not only a gifted singer with great stage presence but is highly respected for her integrity and walk with God."
- Steve Caudill, Former Minister of Music,
Shadow Mountain Community Church
Set lists and show length are dictated by event requirements. The following options are available:
Concerts. Typically a blend of original music and limited covers. (Extensive songlist available upon request)
Concert and Keynote. Mary is also frequently contracted as a keynote speaker, weaving music throughout her message and testimony.
Worship only and Special Music. (Extensive songlist available upon request)
PDF RiderStage Plots 4/6/7 Pc
There are no upcoming dates at this time.