Mary Tebbs
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Mary Tebbs

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Solo Folk Acoustic

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"Mary Tebbs Landscape Of Love Vols. 1 & 2"

Truly falling in love requires opening oneself up to another person, for better or worse. And it feels like that’s what singer-songwriter Mary Tebbs is doing as she fearlessly lays bare her own complicated emotions on her latest album. An honest depiction of love that includes not just the giddy feeling of initial attraction (“Beautiful”) but the pain of loss and absence (“Missing You”) and a palpable sense of yearning (“Him”), Landscape of Love Vols. 1 & 2 is a complete picture of the nuances of human entanglements. Tebbs’ voice is warm and slightly lower, reminding me of the vibrato-rich voice of Lucinda Williams, and any instrumental accompaniment—mostly acoustic guitar and lap steel—on the album is deftly done, allowing that voice to shine. The album is lengthy (18 tracks), but no song ever falls into the category of “typical love song” because Tebbs’ songwriting is so thought provoking and fresh, such as the clever line “I’m nearly colorblind/ All I see is blue” (“Hole In My Heart”). In matters of the heart, Tebbs’ words are much more than sweet nothings. - Salt Lake City Weekly


"Sugar House musician survives tumor and heads out on tour"

Local singer/songwriter, Mary Tebbs isn't looking for fame, but she will gladly accept it if it means she can help inspire people to greatness. Her recent album, "Fuzzy Halo," is autobiographical, with songs that talk about perception, something she feels she has learned a great deal about since undergoing surgery for a brain tumor in 2008.

"There is always a choice in whatever you come up against and how you perceive it," Tebbs said. "It can look like hell or like the road to heaven. I learned to either get busy living or get busy dying."

Tebbs discovered she had a tumor when she stepped on her glasses and needed to get her eyes checked. "They could see the tumor through my eyes. I hadn't been paying attention," Tebbs said, adding that once diagnosed, she realized that her peripheral vision had been deteriorating for some time.

Her album contains a song called "Wake Up Call" that addresses this. "It's my personal story about my body giving me signs," Tebbs said.

Surviving the year of recovery after her tumor, which turned out to be benign, was removed, helped Tebbs sort through her own life's path. Later, those themes showed up in the songs in "Fuzzy Halo."

"This record and how the songs have evolved since the brain tumor is the key to unlocking the door; the key to getting purpose," Tebbs said.

Her song, "Make it Light," is a literal and figurative song about losing vision and gaining sight. The tumor altered her vision, leaving blind spots and causing her to lose some peripheral vision. But even though her vision has changed, she is able to feel gratitude for the further insight she has developed.

"I'm super grateful for how I can see," Tebbs said. "I'm developing the ability to connect with people and see with intuition."

And people connect to her music. "'Make it Light' is a difference maker," she said. "I've heard it from enough people to know I have a good song."

Tebbs has written close to 300 songs since she started writing in the early 1990s. "Not all of them are good," she said. "But they can be vehicles to getting the good songs."

Sometimes she labors for a long time over songs and sometimes they come to her quite easily. "A lot of times a song will fall out of me," Tebbs said. "I love that the most."

She has performed around Salt Lake City, including Sugar House Coffee, 2011 South 1100 East, and is currently heading out on tour to Boise, Portland, Seattle and different cities in California.

Admittedly shy, Tebbs says booking tours is the hard part of being a singer/songwriter. "Booking tours is my brain tumor," she said. Even though she can be shy, she loves being on stage. "I love the connection, and I'm learning to receive compliments," she said.

She hopes people who hear her songs will find meaning and understand the gift of choice. "I've been given this life. It's a gift," she said. "I've been struggling and mucking through. What an eye opening gift for me to look at life and say, 'What do I want to create?' Each moment is a gift. How can I make the most of it? How can I connect people and generate love?"

Mary Tebbs' latest CD is available on iTunes and Amazon as well as at www.reverbnation.com/MaryTebbs. Visit www.MaryTebbs.com for upcoming performances in Salt Lake City. Myspace.com/MaryTebbs. - Sugar House Journal


"Sugar House singer-songwriter survives tumor to record concept album about recovery"

Some of the world's best and most devastating music was spawned during times of great personal turmoil.

Classical composers from Beethoven to Mahler wrestled with creative demons. Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" sold more than 40 million copies despite its themes of bitter abandonment bred in the warfare of love. Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" was recorded during the breakup of his marriage, and he ruefully recalled years later that he didn't understand how people could find joy in his pain.

Salt Lake City singer-songwriter Mary Tebbs has just released her third album, "Fuzzy Halo," which was conceived, written and recorded in the midst of her July 2008 diagnosis of a brain tumor and her ensuring recovery.

She has lost vision in both eyes and is adjusting to seeing the world differently. But as she sings in "I'm Gonna Shine," one of the songs, she has never felt happier:

In this time of weary conversations

When the news leans toward our slow decline

I'm gonna shift my focus to elation

And find the magnificence in me and let it shine

"This is my third album, and the first one I'm very, very proud of," said Tebbs, 49, her smile framed by cropped, light brown hair and thick spectacles. "I've grown up as a musician. The wisdom of all these experiences have changed why I write songs. I'm not writing about chasing girls. My intention is to inspire people to be alive, [and] show up."

While the loquacious singer has always had a larger-than-life personality, longtime friends are alert to the ways in which Tebbs' health scare has transformed her.

"It's her coming through the other side and coming through with grace," said Michael Jodell Hessling, who played with Tebbs in the local band Sweet Loretta in the 1990s and sings back-up on "Fuzzy Halo." "It shaped her into what she is now. It's fodder for a new muse."

"[Her outlook] is very evident in all her new songs," said Matt Brown, a co-producer of the album. "She wants to enjoy every day."

Tebbs, raised in Southern California, is the daughter of Brigham Young University basketball legend Terry Tebbs, who led the Cougars in scoring during his 1956 senior season. He later married Mary's mother, the former Miss Nevada 1954.

Mary Tebbs, who owned her first guitar at age 9, grew tall like her father and, like him, excelled in basketball, eventually earning a scholarship to BYU.

"I fell in love with a girl, and it ruffled some feathers," Tebbs understates, explaining that she transferred to the University of Utah. Although she didn't graduate, she did earn satisfaction of beating her former BYU team.

Tebbs no longer considers herself Mormon. "Being gay and Mormon is very difficult," she said, explaining how it took some time to reconcile her sexual orientation with the values she grew up with. "Suicide won't get you into the celestial kingdom, so I didn't kill myself," she said.

A few years after college, she picked up a guitar again. She wrote a song on the spot — "Substance Abuse" — and her amazed friends, who didn't know she had ever played, encouraged her to develop her craft.

Tebbs moved to Sugar House, and worked as a graphic designer, while on the side she recorded several albums. That was before health problems arose that confused and worried her.

Tebbs went to see an eye doctor in July 2009 after being bothered by vision problems, headaches and insomnia. She was diagnosed with a noncancerous tumor, and three days later the growth was removed.

Her health complications continued, yet it was while Tebbs was recovering that she had an emotional awakening. "It wasn't life-threatening," she said of her tumor. "It was life-expanding." She didn't want to spend any more time working in jobs that felt less rewarding than making music.

So Tebbs has become a prolific singer-songwriter, while dedicating herself to living consciously.

Bolstered by confidence, the musician is in the midst of recording two new albums. One is focused on love songs, while the second, "Hot Flash," is a collection of more provocative and sultry "lust" songs, which demonstrate Tebbs' new-found directness in her lyrics. Her song "Fits of Love" documents that uninhibited spirit:

Got to getcha into fits of love

You see, I've got this burning feeling and it's pounding through my veins

So come on, give me your willingness and I'll have you coming 'round again and again and again

"I love my life," she said. "I love what I'm up to. I want to expand my love."

Beethoven never said that. - Salt Lake Tribune


"Local Reviews: Mary Tebbs"

Mary Tebbs = Melissa Etheridge + Carole King + Lucinda Williams

At first glance, Fuzzy Halo appears to be the standard singer/songwriter album you’d find at the merch booth for Lilith Fair, but Tebbs did her best to stray away from the singalong sympathy of “every woman.” Rather than taking the story-telling route, Tebbs hits the lyrical mark using her own personal perspective. Tracks like “Then Let Go” and “Find My Way” show personal exploration and defiance, and never try to encompass the listener in the experience as if it were their own. Tebbs keeps it unique from the others who try too hard to hook the audience’s emotion into theirs. What makes the album most interesting is that it doesn’t really have a defined genre. Songs sway between country, folk, jazz and near-disco signatures, sometimes making it hard to tell if Tebbs was showing off her skills at composition, or if she’s still trying to find her sound. For what it’s worth, she was willing to experiment for the audience, and for that alone, it’s worth a listen. - SLUG Magazine


"Make It Light: Salt Lake City's Mary Tebbs finds new focus."

Talk to Tebbs now about that diagnosis, and her new album that subtly explores her experiences during recovery, and you’ll quickly find out that her life was feeling off-balance well before her physical illness came into play.

It might be hard to remember for Salt Lakers who know Tebbs from her long-running solo career and stints in popular local bands like Sweet Loretta, but she gave up music around the turn of the century. Frustrated with being another struggling musician, she bailed for a graphic-design job in Vegas. The drive she once put in to writing and performing was now geared toward 16-hour days sitting in front of a computer.

“After three years, I thought, ‘I’d rather be doing what I love to do and not making as much money, because I’ll be happier,’” Tebbs says. “That kind of started this journey for me, a midlife discovery. I don’t call it so much a midlife crisis as an exploration of what’s at the core of me. What makes me up? Who am I?”

Tebbs got involved in what she terms a “conscious community” that opened her to new ways of thinking—tools and “basic principles” she didn’t have before.

“I started discovering there was more to life than broken hearts and chasing girls,” Tebbs says. “I discovered a whole new way of perceiving things. I realized it was up to me. If I wanted to change something, it was up to me.”

Naturally, that’s where fate stepped in to challenge Tebbs’ new perceptions. Tripping over her dog in July 2008 led to an appointment with an eye doctor, who spotted a tumor on her pituitary gland. It had grown so large it was destroying her peripheral vision and had to be removed immediately.

“That was a scary experience, but fortunately, I now had this background where I knew I had a choice of how to deal with the experience,” Tebbs says. “I didn’t choose to see myself as a victim.”

After recovering, Tebbs delved back into her music. But instead of a return to what she calls her old style of “funny, groovy, ‘Hey, let’s have some fun!’” songwriting, she found a need to dig into some deeper reflections on the songs collected on her new CD, Fuzzy Halo.

That’s not to say Fuzzy Halo is a tough listen, wallowing in the depths of Tebbs’ emotions at her low points, or beating the listener over the head with the joy that came with recovery. Tebbs is too savvy a writer for that.

“I struggled with it and I fought it for a long time because I don’t want to be preachy,” Tebbs says. “I don’t want to be a songwriter who says, ‘This is what you should do, this is my message.’ But I feel like I’ve found a way to be subtle with a message rather than be in your face about it.”

Indeed, songs like the autobiographical “Make It Light” and the closing gospel-tinged “I’m Gonna Shine” pulse with positivity, but it doesn’t sound forced in the least. Touching on folk and country along the way, Fuzzy Halo is a welcome return for Tebbs after a decade on the sidelines.

Now the 49-year-old just has to figure out how to navigate a music industry that’s vastly different than the last time she engaged with it. Fuzzy Halo is available on iTunes and Amazon, and Tebbs plans on touring when the time is right.

“For me, it’s a matter of getting the word out locally, then getting the word out regionally, then getting the word out beyond,” Tebbs says. “It’s going to take some time, but I feel like I have time now, and I actually believe it can happen now. And believing is half the battle.” - Salt Lake City Weekly


Discography

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/landscape-of-love-vol.-1-2/id849434512

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Bio

Mary Tebbs has been called the Ellen DeGeneres of singer/songwriters. It's not unusual for her off-the-cuff, quick-witted and endearing performance style to have you laughing in one moment and crying the next.
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The Las Vegas Weekly says, Tebbs is full of weathered innocence, dealing with love, sensuality and heartache, building it all on a solid foundation of blues and slow mountain funk. A pretty accurate description.
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Since 1995 she has garnered many awards for her songwriting claiming the Best Songwriter, Best Solo Performer, Best Folk/Acoustic (Salt Lake City Weekly), and receiving a national nomination for Best Jazz Song from GLAMA (Gay Lesbian American Music Awards based in New York City).
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Marys new release Landscape of Love Vols. 1 & 2 shares songs that travel across the many different emotions that arise from a love relationship attraction, longing, desire, anger, heartache. Its a moving listening experience and one that many people can relate to. The fan favorite, "Beautiful" tells the story of finding the guts to tell someone you're attracted to the truth about your attraction. The City Weekly says, "Tebbs voice is warm and slightly lower, reminding me of the vibrato-rich voice of Lucinda Williams, and any instrumental accompanimentmostly acoustic guitar and lap steelon the album is deftly done, allowing that voice to shine," and "...no song ever falls into the category of 'typical love song' because Tebbs songwriting is so thought provoking and fresh..."
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Marys previous release, Fuzzy Halo (co-produced at EchoTone Studios in Portland with Matthew Denton Brown), is an inspirational listen. In July of 2008 Mary was diagnosed with a brain tumor (macro adenoma) and the songs on this CD reflect a journey of awakening to life fully, accounting the moment by moment choices that afford happiness. This CD is a gift of inspirational proportions. From her song Make It Light Mary reminds us   The gift thats in the journey awaits our true discovery. And love is the key.
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David Burger of the Salt Lake Tribune says, Fuzzy Halo is an intriguing concept CD that features Mary's penetrating lyrics as well as music that is joyful and happy to be played and to be alive.
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Though Mary has shared the stage with a wide range of national acts like Weezer, Melissa Ferrick, Karma, Luscious Jackson, Blessid Union of Souls, and The Young Dubliners to name a few, her favorite venues and audience to play for are those where the energy is focused, like a concert setting, so that there can be an exchange of connection and love. These are the performances where Mary really shines as she creates an intimate experience with those in attendance through her candid willingness to share her stories and melodies with raw emotion and humor. Mary says, I love the energy exchange at house concerts and coffee shops. People are there to listen to the music and the stories behind the songs and Im there to share my music and stories so we all get energized and edified by the experience and this is the most profound way that I connect and create relationships with my listeners.
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Marys musical influences range from Hank Williams Sr. to Stevie Wonder. She sounds like the full range of a storm: from the calm before to the intensity during to the clearing beauty after. Comparison-wise people have said she sounds like a mix of these great singers: kd lang, Karen Carpenter, Bonnie Raitt, and Mary Gauthier. But through and through shes an original.
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Marys music is about sensuality, inspiration, honesty and humor. Her performances are about laughter, reality, rawness, and connection. The City Weekly has described her songs as Swinging music thats not afraid to wear its heart on two or three sleeves. Well said.
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Mary adapts warmth, richness, and the down-to-earth realness of simplicity. She is original, entertaining, and real. Listen and enjoy.

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