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Mary Elizabeth Remington LP


Mary Elizabeth Remington IN EMBUDO. Loose Music

Featuring: Adrianne Lenker (acoustic guitar, vocals) Mat Davidson (steel guitar, acoustic guitar, electric bass, vocals), James Krivchenia (percussion and engineer) and Mary Remington (vocals).

The thought of someone humming one of my songs while they are crafting, wandering, or going through a difficult time makes me feel closer to all of humanity,” says Remington. “There is a deeply magical and mysterious core to each of us, and when I sing, I connect to this part of myself.”

In a log cabin by Moose Brook in Hardwick Massachusetts is where Mary Remington grew up with her parents and brother. She was always a creative soul, painting and making artworks throughout her childhood and eventually graduating from MassArt. She travelled to farms to work the earth, to stone yards to cut stone, and to the rivers and oceans to dig for clay, finding rich meaning and potent metaphor for her stories and songs. In the summer of 2013 Mary spent a week at the Kerrville Folk Festival and sang her songs to an audience for the first time. This adventure turned her on to the idea that she should share her songs.

Now Mary has recorded her first album of original songs, IN EMBUDO, with her friends Adrianne Lenker and James Krivchenia of Big Thief and Mat Davidson of Twain.

IN EMBUDO was made using full live takes onto a 4-track in a small house edged up along the Rio Grande in Embudo, New Mexico.


The first thing that struck me when I pressed play was the superb quality of the recording which was so clear, sharp and as if the lady was playing live in my listening room. The next thing that struck me quickly was Remington’s easy, intimate and conversational tones. It’s an unadorned voice; simple and direct with the minimum and well-judged level of instrumental support. This record is about clarity of thought and its clearest communication to the listener. In short, it’s an extraordinary achievement as a debut release.

So what’s the musical style? Well I would summarise it as a mix of alt country, folk, blues and therefore a distinctive style which belongs uniquely to the artist. ‘All Words’ opens with a semi-talking vocal, picked guitar and brushed drum. Her lyrics are simple and compelling: “I’m on my way to see you/My brother, my friend/Time will rekindle what is lost/What has been buried in the past/This night will last as long as we are sleeping/And the sun will wake our new eyes/And through the storm the mountains will stand/Shackled in the wind.”

‘Dresser Hill’ is country/bluegrass song sung largely without instruments with a multi-layered vocal. It’s a conversational piece strengthened by a tangible melody while ‘Mary Mary’ repeats the style and delivery: “Many a night as I lie alone/I hear the ocean on the wind/See you walking by the waves/The stars come out and dance with you/Mary, Mary with your eyes so bright/Sapphire shinin’ in the candle light/Mary, Mary can still the waves/Raise the roses from the cold hard ground.” The track concludes with a rather happy-sounding laugh…

‘Fire’ opens with a distorted sound before it settles down to the more conventional with percussion dominating the instrumental support albeit with some delectable guitar punctuations. It’s a lovely, intimate song which underlines the lady’s very distinctive sound and style.

‘Green Grass’ - the title announced by Remington - sings alone in poetic style. It’s short and very sweet. ‘Holdfast’ is darker than anything else here with its startling deep drum opening. ‘Tuesday’ is pure Americana vocal with a strong traditional feel. A strong melody and the most subtle of instrumental arrangements makes this my personal favourite here. ‘Mother’ is another deeply personal song sung acapella: “Mother, can you give me what I need?/Yes, is the answer she shows me/Anything is possible, go and get it now/I’ve shown you the clues to figure your shit out.”

Throughout this wonderful record there’s a diversity of pace and mood. It’s also a recording that one is obliged to listen and listen close to gather in the stories and the superb way they are communicated. The sound quality is like nothing I’ve heard for a long time being devoid of any extraneous production. This is music at its purist - audiophiles take note! I love it!


Portrait Image By Leslie Lindsay


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