Mean Mary James wows WERFA

“Maybe we should close those doors?” Mean Mary said when the WERFA crowd joined her in a chorus of chickens, geese, ducks and hounds “think of the neighbours”- but most of the neighbours were there!

Mary deftly and expertly swapped between banjo, guitar and fiddle, playing tambourine and rhythm with her feet – ballads, tractor songs, the Celtic ‘Minstrel Boy and ‘Kerry Dances’ and the occasional Christmas Carol

The rousing ‘Sweet Jezebel’ contrasted with the soft and lilting ‘Blackbird Blossom’.  ‘Listen to the Mocking Bird’ was a lovely duet of guitar and fiddle.  She and her road-trip brother , Frank, accompanying her on guitar and vocals, teasing each other like all siblings do.  We heard a little of  their shared lives- their snake-catching mother, Mary writing songs since she was four and now writing novels too.  But the teasing and banter stops when the important things in life happen, and for Mary and her brother, that’s music.

Mary loved the fabulous bluegrass set, posted it on her Instagram  page, and thanked Les, Elaine and Mike for its design and installation.  Joyce and Leslie did a great job on the lights and sound – Catherine, Paula, Emily, Lorraine and team fed us all well, and staffed the bar.  There was even a ‘Guess the Weight of the Boris Pumpkin’ with a cornucopia of a prize – thanks to Bob’s allotment.

The final “Leaving on a Jet Plane” showed off Mary’s versatility and her lovely voice.

I think she promised to come back in two year’s time- let’s hope so!

Kate Hennessy