Mary is a Des Moines-based singer, songwriter and educator. Her music is a mix of folk and Americana blended with the blues. She performs at Music Festivals, Art Festivals, coffeehouses, farmer’s markets, community groups and schools. Mary performed at...
Mary is a Des Moines-based singer, songwriter and educator. Her music is a mix of folk and Americana blended with the blues. She performs at Music Festivals, Art Festivals, coffeehouses, farmer’s markets, community groups and schools. Mary performed at an Official Showcase for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and with the 2010 Access Film-Music Showcase in Park City, UT. In late 2009 she showcased at the Crossroads Entertainment Conference in Des Moines, IA. Mary is a member of ASCAP and is affiliated with BMI. She was a finalist in the Minnesota Folk Festival “New Folk Songwriting Contest” in 2002 and 2005. Mary runs Ritual Café’s evening Open mic, which provides space for new songwriters and performers to develop their skills. Mary has been on the IAC Performing Artist Roster since 2005 and is an active teaching artist with Metro Arts Alliance. Mary is a member of Nashville Songwriters Association International and has received commissions to write songs for a local organization. She is a teaching artist and teaches songwriting in the schools to grades K-8 with an emphasis on working in schools with under served populations and schools that have lost their arts programming. Mary annually attends the Planet Bluegrass Song School in Colorado to study with the nations top songwriters. Mary performs solo, duo and with her band. Mary’s artistic mission includes building a strong and acclaimed songwriting community in Des Moines, IA. Mary received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin. Go Badgers. Press Quote: “Mary McAdams brings a mother’s love and a lover’s passion to the 10 original compositions on this Iowa-based release. Mary can serve up slow and saucy roadhouse blues, earnest Americana roots rockin’ or a lullabye ballad with equal authenticity. From the funky piano fills of “Greed” to the simple guitar picking of “Fourth of July” – you’ll fall in love with the subjects in Mary’s songs.”
Great Original Music from a local Rising Star by Andrew Duffelmeyer, Des Moines Music Coalition Tuesday, 15 September 2009 10:11Mary 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...
This is a WINNER! by Roel Stäbler DJ FM 104.1 C. Houtmanstraat 41, The Netherlands “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...
Great Original Music from a local Rising Star by Andrew Duffelmeyer, Des Moines Music Coalition 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.
-Andy Duffelmeyer, Des Moines Music Coalition, September 15, 2009
This is a WINNER! by Roel Stäbler DJ FM 104.1 C. Houtmanstraat 41, The Netherlands “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
Local Talent 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.
Debut album is dream come true for busy mother-musician by Michael Swanger firstname.lastname@example.org Soccer moms have nothing on Mary McAdams. As if being a full-time mother to two girls and a wife isn’t enoughto 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