Two weeks into what seems like two years in Taos

I haven’t been in Taos for two weeks just yet – Tuesday eve it will be so – but time moves slow here –  I’ve made it as such.  Imposed solitude.  Turning down invites to chill with the other artists,  to go to a Bob Marley dance party at a gallery,  and right now I could be drinking and watching the Superbowl with some passionate intellectuals … but no,  I am in my casita … blogging … what a DORK!

A quick update on how I am spending my artist residency – the spiral nature of my time thus far.  First – motivation,  enthusiasm,  excitement spiraled to overwhelm,  exhaustion,  lethargy and then back around slowly to productivity,  awe,  creative bliss … Emotions; they are always shifting,  changing like clouds in the sky or waves in the sea.  The thing is,  underneath all of that emotional stormage and weather there’s a clear blue space.  And I work with that.  I try to work with that.

I’ve been re-visiting The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  Every day I’ve done my morning pages diligently (3 pages of writing whatever aka “brain drain”).  She suggests every week we go on a solo “Artist Date” – take ourselves out and do something fancy and inspiring.  See music,  visit a museum,  taste the local culture,  go for a walk.  Since I’m on a residency,  every day feels like a date but I try to shake it up.  I’ve been hiking a bunch,   a small mountain – Devisadero Trail.  Also the rim along the Rio Grande River Gorge …

Rio Grande River Gorge trail – that bridge was featured in the movie “Natural Born Killers”

I bring a notebook and write lyrics down during or after the hikes.  I check out the wildlife – bighorn sheep,  magpies,  crows,  white-bellied & long eared squirrels. I try not to think.  I really try not to go to deep and dark on my hikes … I’ve been taking a break from my personal facebook and trying really hard to limit my social media.  If any of you have followed this blog,  you know I’ve been a real advocate of twitter – even took a class on it – but I’m falling away from all of that.  If this year has taught me anything,  I would like more of a private life.  I tend to share every goddamn thing,  always asking for advice or validation even without thinking that’s what I’m after (advice/validation).  My ex husband called “likes” and “retweets” happy buttons.  I’m trying to come to a place where those happy buttons don’t give me that mini endorphin rush.  And so,  the silence of the gorge.  And so,  imposed seclusion,  turning down really fun social opportunities.

But I’m getting shit done.  I’m,  as my friend / bass player Sean said, “hearing my own goddamn self think.”  Imagine that.

I finally recorded my yoga song that I’ve sung to my students since 2009.  Please enjoy a free download below.  Take in the well-loved tinkling of the Wurlitzer piano …

I am hearing my own goddamn self think.  I’ve been purchasing newspapers instead of seeing what goes viral.  While reporters too are biased,  my news is coming in slow and I’m processing at my own pace.  There is so much suffering in the world right now … I hope you’re all hanging in.

While I’m not entirely sure what the future holds post-residency,  definitely my yoga studio will exist another year (i signed a two year lease – ha!),  I am looking forward to more of a private life,  continuing my quality over quantity show philosophy and being very deliberate and even slow about all of my choices.  Becoming more of a Taurus.  Slow food.  Slow travel.  Trying to be there for my loved ones more after recovering from this fucked up year when everyone was helping me.  I’m learning what’s important,  and happy buttons aren’t the answer to inner peace …

More soon … Peace and love from the high desert,

Arrived in Taos for 3 months as a fancy Artist in Residence

Arrived in Taos for 3 months as a fancy Artist in Residence

Greetings friends!  I hope this finds you well,  late January,  morning, afternoon, evening.  I’m not sure how much I’ll blog but I’m off of my personal facebook so I need some sort of outlet!

I arrived on Tuesday evening to my casita at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation where I will be an artist in residence for 3 months.  Just a little over a week ago I had a wonderful send off party at Icehouse Minneapolis (lots of buzz about it – SO grateful for the press! Read the previews & show reviews & interviews here) and then I hustled in a procrastinatory way to get everything in check in Minneapolis,  secure the yoga studio with its amazing instructors, pack up my house and hit the road …

From my instagram: “This lady bird has flown … en route to New Mexico, jeep filled to the brim with instruments & journals & watercolors for more cow portraits ?I couldn’t have asked for a better last week in Minnesota. Lots of talks and some face time with besties, a kick ass invite to Red Hot Chili Peppers w/ someone handsome, hanging with the folks & watching The Last Waltz w/ my dad, a wonderful week of classes at Imbue and feeling overwhelmed with the goodness of the space and the humans that practice and teach there – will be in good hands while I’m gone ❤️I’ll be saying buh-bye to my personal Facebook til the spring tomorrow when I get to Taos to simplify … Peace and thanks for the well wishes and thanks also for all the marching and praying and community building that is pro-human & pro-WOMAN – I am inspired amidst all the fuckery – keep the dreams alive, keep talking, keep organizing. Water is life, pussy grabs back, love trumps hate. Muuuuuaaaaahhhh!!”

I’ve seen some beautiful things on the road … and not so beautiful.  Some Colorado ghost towns,  totally crumbling – haunting – I almost pulled over and gawked …  the horrible passage of “livestock” on the highways (I always hated that word) to their deaths before becoming your burgers … but also antelope in the fields and many birds of prey perched to find their suppers …

I rolled in just as the sun was setting.  Through the mountains,  through Eagle’s Nest and Angel Fire,  through blowing snow where I could not see the road,  and the wind ripping quietly through the winding canyon road.  My casita is adorable.

“Dear friends, I’ve arrived at my casita in Taos, New Mexico where I get to be freeeeeee as a bird for the next three months as Artist in Residence! Feeling fancy 🙂 Kept my windows down as I drove so I could listen to the mountains and the snow, saw bison, antelope and many birds of prey … I drove fast when I could and slow when I couldn’t … I am so grateful to one of my best friends Sara Alexander (Softich) for paving the way and doing this artist residency 7 years ago, planting the seed. Love you, Sara! Grateful to a lot of you out there too for your kind words and support of my music. The world needs our artists now and I am not taking this time here lightly!!!! I’m heading off of my personal Facebook NOW so stay in touch via instagram (maybe?), website (probably will do some blogging) or you can massively support my endeavors by subscribing to my bandcamp page for some exclusive acoustic songs (acoustic & piano versions of holy bones coming up!) as well as my entire digital catalog & ramblings here ❤️️Thank you and much love and peace to you all.

I’ve barely left the casita,  but when I did on the first night to grab a bite to eat and a glass of wine at Taos Inn’s Adobe Bar,  I pretty much met half the town.  It’s a small town,  around 6000 (20,000 surrounding) so they know when someone new arrives … I will have to protect my solitude immensely as I know if I’m out too much,  the socializing could swirl me up and away from my focus!  My focus:  writing music.  Just letting it shape itself,  my goals are forming,  also top secret!   I’ve also been practicing scales on the piano and doing some sustain pedal heavy improvising … such a nice thing to do pre-dawn … I’ve delved back into The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (a 12 week course in artistic recovery – breaking through creative blocks) – the last time I did this course was in 2002 – and I’m tickled to find out that she first started her “morning pages” while living in Taos!  Serendipity.

Thanks for reading,  peace out!

Majesty of Beasts Poem


Hi loves!

Happy Cyber Monday! I’d like to share with you the poem that became the lyrics to the title track of my new musical project “The Majesty of Beasts.” This song is about the beauty of the earth and its beings. It’s about humans wanting pretty things on their walls and in their bellies so much that we are devastating our beautiful home. It’s about violence. It’s about love. It’s about evolving beyond greed and recognizing the majesty of the earth so much that we can just let it be majestic … (There is also a reference to The Walking Dead, which I am obsessed with – but I’m behind in the series cuz I only have watched it on Netflix. It’s killing me!!)

If you are so inclined, please pre-order this project on Kickstarter! If it doesn’t get funded by Dec 11th at 10 am, your card won’t be charged. I am SO grateful for your support, friends! This song is kind of the anti-thesis of our consumer culture … and yet here I am imploring you to buy it. Ah life!  We are getting SO close to funding this thing! It means the world to me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Big love, Mary

Pre-order here:

(If you’d like to hear the song, it plays in the background of the video on my Kickstarter page)

Album artwork by Amy Abts, Design by Adam Guggemos


i recognize the majesty of beasts
thundering hooves
milky eyes
the power of a horse’s thighs
the beating of wings in the sky
the flipping of fins under the ice
lungs taking in oxygen down in the deeps of the night

i recognize the majesty of trees
towering pines
cover the sky
on branches where the monarchs lie
your birch bark canoe gonna take us to
that island where the palm trees sway
it’s a fantasy
it’s lost at sea
as the amazon dies for your beef

i recognize the majesty of you and me
fingers grip the trigger
eyes stare down the shaft
another life gone too fast
it’s your only one
staring into a gun
you won’t come back turned like on tv
it’s a tragedy
a comedy
humans making fools
what else could it be

i recognize the majesty of beasts
ivory tusks
abalone shells
the pretty things we want on our walls
a peacock’s plumes
a shark’s sharp tooth
a rabbit’s fur to keep us warm
lie with me dear
in front of the fire
don’t tell me now that it’s too late

i recognize the majesty of beasts
thundering hooves
milky eyes
the power of a horse’s thighs
the beating of wings in the sky
the flipping of fins under the ice
lungs taking in oxygen down in the deeps of the night


12/3 Red Herring Lounge for Zöe’s bday – Duluth – 9 pm w/ Social Disaster, Torment & Walt Dizzo (my band plays 1st) – Facebook event here

12/20 331 Club – Minneapolis 9:30 pm w/ Ilika Ward Duo Facebook event here

1/14 Icehouse Minneapolis 10:30 pm w/ Molly Maher & TBA
*Artist Residency Send Off*

Photo by David Tanner at the Replacements Tribute Show – Clown Lounge – 11.25.16 w/ Robert Russel on sax,  Adam Werven on drums & Sean Roderick on bass

Re-post: Hanging out with Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking”

“When you openly,  radically trust people,  they not only take care of you,  they become your allies,  your family.”  – Amanda Palmer

**Originally posted in January 2015.  Amanda Palmer was just in Minneapolis for a solo show last night and I SO hoped to go but was teaching,  and also turned down a gig of my own … ah LIFE!  I support her art & writing on Patreon — she is an inspiring, motivated,  STRONG woman.  We need those!  I just started re-reading her book “The Art of Asking” this week AND I’ve launched another crowdfunding project for my new EP “The Majesty of Beasts”,  so I’m getting back in the spirit of “asking.”  Here’s the re-posted blog!  THANK YOU FOR READING!

Amanda Palmer is a force to be reckoned with.  I first learned of her wily charms from her duo The Dresden Dolls and from afar have followed her marriage to the rad author Neil Gaiman,  her solo career on the ukelele,  her SMASHING Kickstarter success of over 1.2 million dollars and her celebrated TED talk reflecting on her life as a musician,  artist and live statue called “The 8 foot Bride.”

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Going for vinyl!

Hi friend in music + living la vida loca,

How are ya?  Holy bones,  it’s the end of October.  I don’t have a ton to blab at you today,  just a cordial invite to a few shows in Duluth + Twin Cities and to let you know that I have changed my mind AGAIN and I am GOING TO RELEASE “MAJESTY OF BEASTS” 4 song limited edition vinyl album in MAY 2017.

Paying the big bucks to get “Majesty” pressed – it is in the mastering,  lacquer cutting & plating process TODAY,  and s 300 copies (and only 300 as this is limited edition! WOOT!) should be in my hands by the end of the year.  I bawled over this decision today,  not gonna lie.  It’s such an emotional push,  this album,  more than ANY OTHER because not only of the song content but also that the band that recorded this project isn’t together anymore.  Not asking for a pity party,  just speaking my truth.  I believe in the songs and have already invested $$$, time, and big energy into it. I’d consider it a sequel to Holy Bones.  It’s full of crunchy, fuzzy guitars,  big lyrics,  hammond organ, even a harmonium cameo and is a true TIME CAPSULE.  Those of you who have been up with my previous emails know that I’ve had a bunch of thoughts about this (release a full length?  Not release it at all?).  Pardon the wishy washy-ness,  but I’m going forth and making this thing come true. 🙂 Also,  Amy Abts’cover art is too beautiful to hoard.

Release Party will be in early May 2017 (alas.  I wanted to put this thing out before I go on my Artist Residency in Taos, NM late January so that I could create with a CLEAN SLATE and not be bogged down by an unfinished project.  It feels heavy to me to keep it hanging. HOWEVER DUE TO HIGH VINYL DEMAND the albums couldn’t be duplicated until later since I had been procrastinating for so long!)

Pre-order your copy here (includes digital download) via KICKSTARTER! Click on the video below.



Estimated arrival: MAY 2017



11/14 – Amsterdam Bar & Hall – St. Paul: SUPPORTING GAELYNN LEA (NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Winner) – Solo w/ harmonies by Crystal Meisinger + Cello w/ Julia Floberg
Facebook event here

11/25 -Turf Club – St. Paul:  Replacements Tribute – 20 minute set of Replacement Covers:  Tickets here

12/3 – Red Herring Lounge – Duluth – 9 pm FULL BAND – for Zöe LaTour’s Bday!

12/10 Riverview Wine Bar – Minneapolis 7 pm – 3747 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis – Solo Songwriter Showcase

12/20 – 331 Club – Minneapolis FULL BAND (hopefully) 10 pm

With big love,  massive gratitude and all the mixed up messy good stuff in between,
xoxo Mary

Uke Fest, Subscribe to MEEEEE, Replacements Tribute, Supporting NPR Tiny Desk Winner Gaelynn Lea: October Newsletter

Hey there music lover!

And how blissful it is to love music!  I’ve been digging in deep,  running with it,  crying with it,  feeling elated by it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been so excited by listening to music.  Weird,  huh?  I feel like all my senses are hyper lately and the world is fresh and new,  my ears are PERKED.  I hope yours too!

Lots of stuff going on, as usual.  I went to some conferences,   am launching a subscription fanclub thing so you can get hot-of-the-press exclusive song demos and things,  and have some really rad solo shows coming up to round out this CRAZY ASS YEAR.  Read on if you wanna!  xoxoxox

Conferences …

I had the great pleasure of going to two conferences the last two weekends.  One was in Chicago with the delightful Katy Vernon who road-tripped with me.  It was the CD Baby DIY Musician Conference.  Some of you have met me through CD Baby where I’ve been distributing music since about 2001.  Attended workshops w/ Jack Conte (Pomplamouse,  Patreon),  Ari Herstand (Ari’s Take – great music blog),  Shannon Curtis (house concert goddess),  Gaelynn Lea and NPR’s Bob Boilen,  and so much more.  Next year it will be in Nashville!  YEE HAW!  Katy and I had a HOOT of a time and solidified our friendship in ways both deep and lighthearted.  Love you, lady!  Be sure to come to Uke Fest this Friday and see her great labor of ukelele love in St. Paul at Vieux Carre.  I’ll be throwing down a few uke songs myself!

Gaelynn Lea,  Tiny Desk Concert Winner + NPR’s Bob Boilen  (I am stoked to support Gaelynn on 11/14 at Amsterdam Bar + Hall in St. Paul 🙂

Me + Katy Vernon at Sheboygan, WI North High School performing for their Connect 4 Success after school program

Also had the honor to perform and teach yoga at the Midwest Women’s Herbalist Conference’s “Herbal Traditions Retreat with Rosemary Gladstar.”  I got to open for Rosemary!  Rosemary is an herbalist ROCK STAR – she founded Traditional Medicinal Tea company,  helped start United Plant Savers,  started the first herbal school in CA and does tons of activism for protecting native plants.  She is a BLAST and a half.

I am STILL BUZZING. Tons of laughs, learning more of the power & medicine of plants … Did a wild Chakra Breath Meditation w/ Crystal Dawn that blew my heart wide open – even more so – HA! If you can make it to the conference in June, definitely do so. ?

Subscribe to me,  would ya???! Join the exclusive fan-tastic club!

I’ve finally decided to launch a yearly “subscription” to my music via Bandcamp.  Think of it as a music downloading “fan club with exclusive content and subscriber-only magic.”  Since I’ll be heading for 3 months to Taos, New Mexico for an Artist Residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in early 2017,  I want to have an interactive way to stay in touch,  outside of silly facebook and all that. (In fact,  I may challenge myself to go off the facebook for a few weeks! OH MY!)

This subscription “fan club” gives you,  for $40/year:
– all of my albums to digitally download from Bandcamp
– an exclusive “subscriber only” immediate download of a live performance with my old band at Red Herring Lounge in Duluth (thanks Zac Bentz for recording the audio)
– subscriber only demos,  of which i will be recording a fair amount in Taos.  Get the raw tracks before I polish them up in the studio for commercial release!
– Videos,  art,  poems,  all sorts of creative explosions
Interested???  I HOPE SO!

Even if you already have all my albums,  you’ll get every new release with this subscription as soon as it is digitally ready,  as well as all these new song demo snippets.  And be privy that “subscriber only content” – little videos and art and musings and poems with me.  You can cancel at any time,  as well,  no obligation to pay year after year if you’re sick of my shit!

Subscribe here!  BANG!


Some super fun shows to tell you about!

If you’re in the Twin Cities here are a few shows to come say howdy:

10/14 – Uke Fest @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul, MN – 3 songs on the ukekele (solo), 8 pm
Facebook event here

10/29 – Acadia – Minneapolis (solo) w/ The Belle Weather
Facebook event here

11/14 – Amsterdam Bar & Hall – St. Paul: SUPPORTING GAELYNN LEA (NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Winner) – Solo w/ harmonies by Crystal Meisinger + Cello w/ Julia Floberg
Facebook event here

11/25 -Turf Club – St. Paul:  Replacements Tribute – 20 minute set of Replacement Covers

Imbue Yoga Studio Stuff

And many of you know that in June I opened a yoga studio in south Minneapolis (Imbue Yoga 2223 E 35th St Mpls).  All my years as a indie musician and yoga contractor couldn’t have prepared me for THIS brick and mortar small business owner life style!  It is my happy place and I’m so thrilled with the community that is building.  If you know anyone interested in yoga in the Twin Cities,  have them come say hi!  We are doing a fun Halloween Party / vegan potluck w/ live music from Frequency Collisions during our yoga class on Oct. 21st.  Donation class,  proceeds go to the musician and Honor the Earth. Will be FUN! Class at 5:30 (all levels) and potluck at 6:30.  ALSO starting my “Yoga for the Absolute Beginner who wants to know what the fuss is all about” series TOMORROW for 4 weeks,  Thursdays at 7 pm.  If you have been intimidated to try yoga,  I’ll break it down for you!  Can’t wait to meet ya / practice with ya!

Thank you,  always, for your listening ears + support.

It’s been a wild ride.  I am grateful for you!  BIG LOVE,

Quality over Quantity

In 2015 I played 90+ shows.  In the Midwest, on the west coast, in the south.  This is nothing compared to the more seasoned full time musicians,  non-stop touring,  living in their vans & buses,  300+ shows a year.  However for me,  doing my own booking and promoting and holding down rent and some yoga teaching in Duluth at the time — it was quite a lot.  I have so many great memories (and alas,  some not so great!) and especially love the travel aspect and connecting with new and old friends.  This country is incredible and huge and its inhabitants vast and varied.

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How to get your band from Duluth to Nashville to record for two days without killing each other

****** Follow up to this – this band no longer exists!  Apparently we did have some trouble brewing 😉  Awwww band drama.  However I have a great new line up (Zac stayed!).  And these tips are still valid for the touring musician.  😉 ****************

How to get your band from Duluth to Nashville to record for two days without killing each other

I’m embellishing of course! I didn’t exactly TAKE my band against their will! I invited them to come and record four songs with me at an awesome studio in Nashville called Welcome to 1979. In 2014 I won a prize of one free day of recording from their Battle of the Bands thing and wanted to cash in on it! April seemed like a good month to go. Not as risky driving from northern Minnesota and wouldn’t we all like to get away from the mud and muck and end of winter drear?  And isn’t this a dream come true for a lot of musicians???!  Wasn’t too hard to convince them it would be fun.  🙂