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Yelling At Mary

Mary Karlzen

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Album Review

Mary Karlzen's voice is an acquired taste. It's thin and girlish, and the singer/songwriter often sounds shrill. But her voice has a way of growing on you — the more one listens to Yelling at Mary, the more one realizes that she does have a certain charm. Karlzen wrote most of the songs on this CD, which favors an earthy and rootsy approach to pop/rock, Americana and folk-rock. Karlzen's voice might be overly cutesy at times, but her lyrics show her to be a substantial storyteller. The evocative "St. James Hotel" vividly paints a picture of the Old West and an American town near the Mexican border, while "Dimestore Life" finds a small-town teen-ager longing to travel and see more of the world — only to end up going back home at 31 with a newfound appreciation of the town she once found boring. Like Bruce Springsteen, Karlzen has a knack for embracing songs that equate traveling or hitting the road with improving your life — "Anywhere Is Better Than Here" and "Another Town, Another Place" find her trying to cope with heartbreak by leaving town. This isn't to say that Karlzen is in a class with Springsteen, only that she uses his influence to her advantage. Not magnificent but certainly enjoyable, Yelling at Mary is worth acquiring if you're a fan of Americana and roots rock. [This edition contains bonus tracks and an additional DVD.]

Biography

Born: 1970 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

An early obsession with '80s songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello, coupled with mastery of her brother's guitar at the age of 14, prepared Mary Karlzen for her later life as an intellectual folk-popster. Born and raised in Chicago, Karlzen moved to Florida to attend college, but ended up working in a record store. She sang in several bands, and recorded a few songs with a local friend, Mark Scandariato. The Miami label Y&T jumped on the demos and released her self-titled album...
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Yelling At Mary, Mary Karlzen
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