The Sweet Maries, lead by Amy Shoemaker and Susie Lofton, thrill audiences with their amazing vocal blend and soaring harmonies. Their arsenal of guest musicians include a few of Chicago's best-loved musicians, featuring Steve Martin on mandolin & banjo. Guest artists include Mitchell Straeffer on upright bass, Meg Thomas on hand percussion & drums, Don Stiernberg on mandolin, Jim Cox on upright bass bass.
Amy ‘Marie’ Shoemaker is an artist by every definition: painting beautiful songs with her colorful lyrics, she blends muscial genres together as a singer-songwriter, poet, producer, and musician. With a background in theatre including MFAs in Acting and Directing, it’s no wonder that she inspires others with her classic songs and music, bringing that familiar sense of playfulness and stage presence to the concert hall; performing with her husband John Williams across the US, Ireland, and Canada; and with bands: The Rolling Mothers, Ladie’s View, Fizgig, Earl Fly, The Shoemakers, and Amy and the Rhinos. Amy grew up in Florida, but prefers Illinios for its weather, history, and rich characters: inspirations from which she conjours her songs. She is self taught on the guitar and also plays piano and bazouki. Major influences inlcude some of the usual suspects: Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Laura Nyro, and a big Chicago shout out to Robbie Fulks!
Susie ‘Marie’ Lofton is a vocalist trained within various choral ensembles including renowned Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus. This foundation gave her a love for classical writers and composers, ensemble singing and harmonic structure. Her background in musical theater helped to hone her craft as a performance artist. Susie also plays guitar, drums and a variety of percussion instruments, most notably the Cabasa. She is inspired by singer-songwriter, inspirational, R&B, gospel, jazz, world beat and prog-rock genres. The result allows a blending of her poetry and short stories set to harmony and rhythm. Susie's powerfully sweet and soulful voice is noted to possess the whisky timbre of the classic rock “diva”, while soaring into her higher registers to reach harmonious angelic realms. Front woman for bands in the Wicker Park Chicago area, Susie has enjoyed playing in notable rock venues including The Double Door, Chicago, House of Blues and 12 Bar Club in London.