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MARY JOHNSON ROCKERS…
is her name, not a band. But with the Spark behind her, she delivers “great, roving Americana with pipes to spare,” (The Pinhook, Durham, NC). Ranging from soft twang with impeccable harmonies to driving rock rhythms full of late-night swagger, Mary’s music draws in fans of indie, folk and country alike. This past year has taken Mary Johnson Rockers and the Spark to new heights-- thanks to their 2011 release Hummingbird Heart, dubbed “a triumph,” full of “catchy, well-written and eclectic” songs (Chris Parker, Independent Weekly), a repeat spot on NPR’s The State of Things, and a score of solid performances throughout their local NC Piedmont. Mary is joined by longtime friend and vocalist Miriam Chicurel-Bayard, contributing songwriter Jim Kremidas on vocals, guitar, pedal steel, and dobro, and most recently, bassist FJ Ventre (Jon Shain, The Stars Explode, Tom Maxwell) and percussionist Robert Cantrell (Hobex, Tim Smith Band, Samba Jovem).
The energy sparking now didn’t happen overnight. In a review of Mary's 2008 release No Place for Birds to Rest that features notables Greg Readling (Chatham County Line) and Mark Holland, she was noted for “a voice built for singing of lingering touches and songwriting skills built for the subtle but lasting detail” (Rick Cornell, Country Standard Time). She’s earned a seat twice on the famed Blue Plate Special at WDVX (Knoxville), joined North Carolina’s “Stars in the Round” circle at Shakori Hills, and with surefooted versatility has performed both as a solo artist and with collaborators for over a decade, including former Chapel Hill band Pawnshop Ruby. With the chemistry of the current ensemble, new songs are in the works, and Mary Johnson Rockers and the Spark shines brighter than ever.