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Providence, Rhode Island, United States | INDIE

Providence, Rhode Island, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Acoustic


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"Review: Mary Ann Rossoni - Timber & Nails"

Mary Ann Rossoni is Providence, Rhode Island's resident Renaissance woman. The designer, painter and musician has her hand in many pots and seems to make things bloom wherever she touches. After a five year break in recording, Rossoni returns with Timber & Nails, a highly introspective and personal collection of songs that are thoughtful and sleek, even sometimes witty. Rossoni has grown as a songwriter in the last five years, providing great depth and breadth to the material, along with the a good instinct on how deep to dive with each subject.

Mary Ann Rossoni mixes wit, consummate story-telling skills and a fine sense of melody on Timber & Nails. Pop the disc in. Fourteen songs later you'll feel like you've just had a Musical Experience. Rossoni brings a heartfelt honesty and warmth that many singer/songwriters wish they could convey on stage, much less on the relatively cool medium of the CD. Mary Ann Rossoni delivers her songs with the same sort of insular warmth as Dar Williams. Starting with the title track, Timber & Nails, Rossoni calls into question her own existence and beliefs with a cutting yet elegant honesty. How does a home become just a house, she seems to ask. The song is sweet and touching and way more than the sum of its parts.

Red Shores Of France smacks of reminiscence by an old relative and the desire and inspiration that is sparked in a younger member of the family from the relating of old stories. EmmaLee displays the "grass is always greener" effect of our life experiences, and highlights the tendency at times to overstate the abilities and gifts of others while failing to see our own. Be sure to check out Wondrous Impression as well. This is an amazing tune. I feel like I can't say enough about it and yet I can't find the words to properly convey its beauty. You just need to listen.
That said, my favorite song on the CD is Follow The River. It's a country tune with a Celtic heartbeat. The melody here will follow you for days after you've heard the song, and the positive message is both hopeful and full of a passive regret for not finding the truth sooner. Other highlights include To The Sky, Other Woman, the ironic and witty Everything Needs Fixin' and Soft As Sorrow.

Mary Ann Rossoni is a singular talent. She has a warm, rich voice that's an absolute pleasure to listen to. She writes intelligent, honest and sometimes funny lyrics and wraps them in gorgeous arrangements. Most of all she projects a warmth and personal reality that comforts the listener and urges you to let your guard down and really listen. Again, this is on CD. If this effect is at all more tangible in concert then her shows could literally be life changing experiences. Timber & Nails is a watershed musical experience, the coming together of musical and lyrical talent, a distinctive and honest performing style, and the maturity and grace to tie them all together into one dynamic, quietly earth shattering package. Timber & Nails is a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc. Put it on your holiday list. Someone you know deserves this CD.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5) -

"Mary Ann Rossoni- Downcity"

Mary Ann Rossoni has a gift for writing lucid songs that connect. It is not just one aspect of songwriting in which she excels, but the full range of expression, imagery and songcrafting. She understands how to write a hook that stays with you and draws the listener into the verses of the song. Her voice is distinct, strong and expressive. Her vocals are without cliché even when she is rocking or singing the blues. Her first solo album, Half Slips & Garters, was a wonderful introduction to her slightly smoky voice and outstanding songs. Downcity seems to be an attempt to reinvent herself, dropping the "Mary Ann" completely from the outside of the CD, giving the illusion that Rossoni is the name of a band.

The production of this album at first turned me off. Rossoni is such a major talent as a songwriter and performer that it is baffling why anyone would want to sink it behind heavy handed drumming and very ordinary pop electric guitar and keyboards. Rossoni rocks for real when she chooses to, but what’s the point in pop-rocking? I put this album aside for a while, and when I picked it up again two things were apparent. One is that Rossoni’s talent still comes shining through—even on the noisier tracks, the songwriting and singing is wonderful. The other is that I hadn’t actually listened to the whole album and when I did, I was rewarded with some welcome production reduction.

The first song, "Conversations," is a travelogue that shows Rossoni’s maturity as a songwriter, balancing startling emotional details with the progress of her trip. "Dead Limb" is raw and personal, but it doesn’t read like yet another singer-songwriter "song about me" because Rossoni elevates it to an archetypal level with poignant images and compact phrasing. "When will you stop thinking I’m the/ Dead limb on the family tree?"

Rossoni seems come to terms with her production team on the neat little rocker "Drama Queen" as Rossoni and her band are on the same page and having fun. The eighth song on album is an absolute gem. It takes a few listens to figure out exactly what is going on in "Mother of the Heart" but only one to feel its power. It is a love song about a woman who is close to the children of a friend or relative. "I did not bear you as my own/ Think of me as your soul mother of the heart."

There are several other outstanding cuts to enjoy as this fourteen-track album winds down. "Move On" is a quiet, moving ode to a young love that fell apart due to the pressures of being different. "Kept our love underground/ ‘Til we grew cold and numb/ Knowing just above the surface/ Others walked out in the sun." "Next Bus" is about an attempted escape from domestic violence, a chilling account from a third person perspective. "Safe Zone," a memorable cut from Half Slips and Garters, is reinvented here with bag pipes and a marching band cadence in the drums. This song about hookers and street people is remarkable in this setting, every bit as good as the original far different version. The album ends strongly with "She Trusts No One," an edgy portrait of an edgy person delivered in a bitten-off bluesy vocal.

For those who have never heard Mary Ann Rossoni’s music, Half Slips & Garters is probably the best introduction. For those who are already fans, Downcity is an album you will definitely want to take home and play all the way through.—Michael Devlin - Music Matters Review


Her most recent release,Timber & Nails, was released October 12, 2007. Prior to "Timber" Mary Ann has recorded 3 full length CDs: Downcity, Half Slips & Garters, and Waking Up from the American Dream; 2 EPs, Anonymous and Living with the Fury & the Fire; and has tunes on 5 compilation CDs: Fast Folk, Vo. 8, No.3; First Night '94; Lazy Day; Our Invincible Summer; and The 12 Steps of Christmas



Her first record in five years and her third album overall, Timber & Nails, is the sound of a songwriter growing cozy in her own skin. Her words and music come from the soul of someone who has finally, after a long search, discovered her identity as an artist.

Mary Ann Rossoni, band leader, writer and lead vocalist is not new to the scene having toured for several years as a soloist and with her band. She was raised in Johnston, RI yet has called Providence her home since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Illustration.

She is thankful to be a self employed artist and musician and likes it that way. She has a wide range of influences but attributes most to 70s rock and her all-time musical heroes: B. Springsteen, J. Mitchell, J.Taylor, G. Estefan and Yo Yo Ma-oh and let's not forget her 5th grade teacher Mr. Skitt.