02.04.14: Press Release: New Rossoni Release
Better All the Time: Edentown
by Mary Ann Rossoni
CD release concert at:
Stone Soup Coffeehouse
Saturday, February 22, 2014, 8:00 PM
(MWM1007/2008)Mary Ann Rossoni is back.
This time with the benefit of experience.
It’s always a treat when our beloved acoustic music icon Mary Ann Rossoni returns with a collection of songs. Edentown
, her newest and eighth work shows us an artist that has come full circle, from acoustic music and back again. Only this time, Mary Ann’s songwriting shows the benefit of passing time, of experience, of wisdom, of age.
The new album is Rossoni laid bare: a collection of songs shorn of any elaborate arrangement or instrumentation—just words, delicately strummed guitars, and her voice.
Best known for composing melodic ballads focused on the challenges, perils and accomplishments of working class heroes, Mary Ann follows that formula, and her strength, with Edentown
. The songs here reflect a pensive depth, her songs address the darkness and difficulties that so often afflict her heavy hearted narrators, all of us. Many of the tunes on Edentown
talk of loss, recovery and sacrifice. “After the deaths of my nephew and a close friend, my writing took a ‘why-are-we-here?’ turn,” she says. “The songs on Edentown
speak of loss and recovery, young love and gratitude for the simple things that life has to offer.”
“Beside My Memory of You” is a haunting waltz for a friend that passed suddenly. “The Passion” sings beautifully of the ultimate sacrifice. Years of disagreement end in understanding in “More and More the Same.” The title cut is a missive from a friend on the other side.
Writing and recording since 1988, when she met and performed extensively with singer/songwriter John Fuzek, Mary Ann in a sense returns to those simpler days, only this time with more complex feelings, more mature reflections, and a more truly meaningful body of work.
Rossoni will be performing these newer songs at Stone Soup Coffeehouse on February 22 with longtime band mate Paul Dube (harp/accordion); his son Matt Dube (percussion) and fellow board members of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Medrick Bellaire (mando/acoustic guitar) and Jeff Keithline (stand-up bass).
Mike Laureanno, longtime friend, fellow RISA member, and the recording engineer behind Edentown
, opens the show.
“I’ve really missed playing small folk rooms, getting out there in front of people and feeling that connection,” she admits. “That’s why I feel it’s good to take these songs on the road.”
Timber & Nails
(MWM1007/2008) Mary Ann Rossoni, band leader, writer and lead vocalist is not new to the folk scene having toured for several years as a soloist and with her band, the Rossonians. Of her most
recent release Timber & Nails
, Bob Gulla of Phoenix Magazine
writes, “‘Timber & Nails’ is the sound of a songwriter growing cozy in her own skin…her skilled composing and delicate song structures on her new album, have never sounded so poignant or affecting.”
Prior recordings have been favorably reviewed in People Magazine
, Dirty Linen
and the “DIY”
column in Performing Songwriter
magazine. Her song “Rainfall” from her CD Downcity
, was featured in an Emmy nominated NBC documentary which focused on the issue of affordable housing. Locally, Mary Ann was voted Best Singer Songwriter – Americana in the Motif Magazine Music Awards
and “Best Local Folk Act” in The Providence Phoenix
Best Music Poll which writes, “…her artistry is expanding, maturing, and showing signs of creative growth. ”
Mary Ann has also lent the use of several of her recordings for very worthy causes. Her song “Timber & Nails” was selected for a Habitat for the Humanities compilation project produced by Notable Works; “Dreamer” was selected for the compilation project The Invincible Summer
a RI Musicworks production bringing mental health issues to light and ”Emma Lee.” recently recorded by artist Jesse Liam, first appeared on a compilation project for Family Services of R.I. – a Benefit for the Mt. Pleasant Academy which also included tunes by Livingston Taylor, Len Cabral and Bill Harley.
More recently Mary Ann’s tune “Measure My Love” was recorded by Caroline Doctorow and appears on her CD Sweet to Me
; and she has co-written a tune with Jesse Liam, “One with the World” which appears on his One Step Closer
CD. Available on CD or digital download
Changing producers can make a big difference for a recording artist. Just ask Mary Ann Rossoni, whose second solo album, Downcity
, is a bit of a departure from her first solo outing, half slips & garters
. Rossoni is still a folk-oriented singer/songwriter, and she is still an impressive storyteller whose influences range from Christine McVie and Grace Slick to Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega. But this time, Rossoni’s songs (which combine folk, rock, and pop) tend to have more bite and more of an edge. Under producers Tim Rochon and Joe Sanders, Rossoni often goes for a somewhat tougher, grittier approach. While producer John Paul Gauthier went for a subtle, acoustic-oriented ambiance on half slips & garters
, Rochon and Sanders make Downcity
more amplified. “Drama Queen” and “Conversations,” in fact, are especially rockin’ and have a lot of Americana appeal. But those who valued the sensitivity of half slips & garters
need not worry about Rossoni turning into a hard rock vixen; when Rossoni rocks, she is closer to Melissa Etheridge or Joan Osborne than Lita Ford, Courtney Love or Joan Jett. Rossoni would still fit right in on a Lillith Fair stage, and she brings plenty of sensitivity to reflective originals like “Rain Fall,” “Dead Limb,” and “Mother of the Heart.” For Rossoni, being more amplified doesn’t mean sacrificing sensitivity or nuance. Downcity
is a fine sophomore effort, and it is every bit as appealing as half slips & garters
in its own way. Available on CD or digital download
(Sizeleven Music – MTR1008) Knowing that her newer songs were leaning toward a rock sound, and after the recording of half slips and garter
s and the introduction of percussion to her sound, Mary Ann teamed up with John Orsi, the drummer on half slips
. Together with Karen Riendeau (who later became John’s wife) on lead guitar, they formed Rossoni the Band and produced a 4 song, live-to-DAT recording at Ivy Lane Studios, engineered by Larry and Tyler Minnis. This sampling showcased what this trio had to offer and landed them several performance opportunities up and down the east coast club scene. Available on cassette.
half slips & garters (TGT1005/1997)
A key part of being an effective folk or folk-pop singer is being an effective storyteller, and Mary Ann Rossoni demonstrated that her storytelling skills were excellent with her first solo album, half slips & garters
. The Rhode Island native is far from an aggressive singer; subtlety is the rule for Rossoni, whose phrasing could be described as an appealing combination of Christine McVie, Grace Slick, and Joni Mitchell. At times, there are traces of Suzanne Vega in Rossoni‘s vocals, though she lacks Vega‘s waifishness. But for all her softness, Rossoni has no problems getting her points across. Just how impressive a storyteller she can be is evident on originals ranging from “One in the Jury,” sung from the perspective of a juror who has helped send a man to prison for the rest of his life, to “Run of the Mill,” which describes a factory worker’s family. But the most memorable offering of all is “In America,” a haunting gem reflecting on the adjustments immigrants have made after coming to the U.S. This fine CD indicated that Rossoni deserved to be much better known nationally. Available on CD or digital download
Mary Ann Rossoni Song Sampler –
(Rossoni – DEMO96) Trying her best to gain her musical footing and position herself as a serious musician on the national acoustic singer/songwriter circuit, Mary Ann realized that she needed a recording that represented what she sounded like acoustically. The sampler is a 3 song EP which features Mary Ann, acoustic guitar and vocals; Jon Campbell, bouzouki and mandolin; Everett Brown, accordion and violin; Rick Harris, dobro and John Orsi, percussion. Recorded tunes on the sampler include: “Night Train”, “When I Die”, and “Dreamer”. The latter of the three appears on the compilation Our Invincible Summer
. All but “Dreamer” was later recorded on her first solo CD half slips and garters. Available on cassette
Enjoying the duo process, and between the American Dream and her first solo recording, Mary Ann connected with Hurricane, a popular, local, rock performer. Mary Ann Rossoni and Hurricane already had each established solo careers. Hurricane performed locally and was well known for her rock driven love ballads. Mary Ann, though home-based in R.I., continued to tour the acoustic singer songwriter circuit, opening shows for Dan Fogelberg, Patti Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler and many other nationally known performing songwriters. Their sound was well received and a nice blend of folk-rock vocals and acoustic instrumentation. This CD features three of each writers tunes and is the first introduction of the song “Night Train”. One of her more popular ballads when performed live, Wall Street Music decided to re-record “Night Train” on the CD Downcity
. Out of Stock
Waking Up from the American Dream (FR1002/1993)
is the second self produced release by the Fuzek Rossoni duo. Both Mary Ann and John, not unlike many folk artists, considered themselves change seeking progressives. The writing on American Dream
reflects their angst and their youth with songs like “Next Bus”, a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship; “Big Picture,” the force-feeding of American TV/commercialism masking the real problems with our society and “March On,” the devastation of the rain forests and the death of Chico Mendes. But the CD is not all dour. Audience favorites were the uptempo “Love in Time” and “Tumbleweed” touching on love and relationships or “Peace of Mind,” a song Mary Ann wrote for her recently retired father. After touring for 8 years, with over 100 dates/year, the duo decided to split. Yet to this day Mary Ann credits Fuzek for encouraging her to hit the stage. They remain great friends and often get together for reunion concerts and performances. Available on original cassette and CD
Living with the Fury and the Fire (FR1001/1989)
is the first Fuzek Rossoni recording. It was recorded in the home studio of percussionist John Lamoia and released as a 5 song EP. The songs are direct in meaning, dynamic in performance with Mary Ann picking and John taking leads in between well placed rhythm patterns. As young as they were and despite being their novice release, the instrumentation and meaning is powerful. Available on original cassette and remastered CD
“My Heart is Hear to Stay” Singing About Providence (2011) Songwriting is not a science. It’s an art fueled by inspiration. Sometimes it is an “aha” moment; and most often it is write and listen, listen and write until you listen and it’s “right”. The Rhode Island Songwriters Association/Hear in Rhode Island was given an exciting challenge – to write songs about Providence, some of which would be performed at a concert celebrating 375 years of its founding – a “birthday party” of sorts. Because the members created such a wonderful variety of audio/lyrical “creations”, we felt they should be shared. A CD was recorded (rather quickly, we might add) – “Singing About Providence”. We invite you to listen & enjoy, laugh & absorb. You may even learn a little history about this place called “Providence”. Happy Birthday Providence! ~ Dianne Fuzek
“Timber & Nails” Working in Harmony for Hearth & Home This is a compilation CD comprised of original music and poetry in a variety of styles including, classical, folk, blues, and rock. This two disc CD highlights the issue of homelessness and substandard housing.
“It’s A Holiday” 12 Steps of Christmas and Other Holiday Fare (PMW 10002/1996)
“Emma Lee” Lazy Day and Other Notions
“On This First Night” First Night (BGCD2126/1994)
“Dreamer” Our Invincible Summer (PMW 10001/1995)
“March On” Fast Folk (FFCD803/1995)