Katie O'Leary's in Waseca was host to the Mary Cutrufello band on January 11th. If you like music with some diversity, a little less metal, a little more original, Mary will rock you all night long! Her soulful growling vocals along with her overdriven Marshall amp will connect you to a night of powerful and energetic music. "It's all about connecting with people", Mary explains. The first time you meet this soft spoken, humble black woman, and then hear her sing, you'll know all about connection. Mary loves performing music and she'll connect you right up to her experience. Add a talented backing band and you will hear blues-influenced "rootsy rock" like you've never experienced before.
Mary certainly isn't new to the music scene, she's appeared on television in ads promoting music, the Tonite show, and was signed to a major recording label. Right after graduating from Yale in 1991 she moved to Texas and began playing the country scene. By the late 90's she had a major recording deal, and then suddenly her dash at stardom was axed. Mary was the victim of a corporate merger that was canceling her deal and leaving her out in the cold.
Today she's moved up north to the cold and is heating up the venues like never before. You could say she's on the rebound - with dreadlocks and guitar in hand she often plays solos at smaller clubs. Other nights, her band joins her for an experience of electrified musical grandeur. I doubt Mary will be left in the cold for long, my guess is we will see her with another major recording deal soon. In the meantime, while she works her way back to stardom, catching her in the clubs along the way is the sweetness of the ride.
Labeling Mary's music is not easy. Rootsy blues and rock come close, but there's an alternative flair, there's another tonality that seems to emerge from her music. It's more than the growl and the soul of her voice, it's more than the anthem-like lyrics and phrasing…. there's another facet of pure originality, something unique that says, "this is Mary". Her guitar solos are equally as compelling as if to punctuate her vocals with an edge that cuts you just a bit. It's bluesy, but not raw; it's rock, but not harsh. It's soulful and emotional, and it defies genre.
Not to be overshadowed, Mary's band is an example of musicians who come to play; they enjoy playing and it shows. On drums, Erich Hofmeister is a groove master, and for good reason. He plays with an intensity that few can match. His rhythm and timings are the backbone of the groove. Erich plays straight grooves, odd timings, expert fills and provides a percussion that lifts the band. Equally as talented and completing the rhythm section is Scott Allen on bass. Scott shows he knows the fretboard and the emotion of the music. He provides a solid foundation and paints beautiful bass melodies along the bottom. Keyboardist, Toby Marshall brings the B3 sound from behind the curtain and out to the front when he solos. He has a keen sense of "less is more" and not only knows what to play but when to play and how it adds to the total sound. Toby and Scott also provide backing vocals that blend and support Mary's style of performance. The four together create music that is both sweet in sensation yet lively and energetic.
Mary is a die-hard musician that loves to gig and perform. Her music may not be for everyone. If you strictly like country, or jazz, or top 40 radio play, Mary and band will disappoint you. But, if you love intense, "give me something different music" performed with soul and spirit, Mary will make you a fan forever. Either way, you will experience live music played to be fun, and played from the heart.
Look for Mary Cutrufello at a club near you soon. Visit Mary's website for a complete listing of her coming shows this spring at www.marycutrufello.com .
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