Songs ripped from the headlines of life

From staff reports

“Mean Mary” James’ life story would make a great movie.

During her nomadic childhood the Florida native lived for a while off the grid in the Minnesota north woods while her family nurtured her burgeoning musical talent. A prodigy, she could read music before she could read words, released her first album at age 6 and was soon entertaining audiences.

James has had her fair share of tumbles from horseback, but one injury threatened to end her career. After a devastating car accident left her with a paralyzed right vocal cord, her indomitable spirit kept her working at recovering her singing voice until it returned to its power. That energy and persistence is evident in Mean Mary’s multifaceted career as a musician, songwriter, novelist, playwright, producer and TV personality.

James picks a mean banjo, along with 11 other instruments she’s mastered. Her repertoire includes fresh takes on traditional folk songs and instrumentals as well as original music delivered with crisp musicianship.

Meaning of Mary

Who: “Mean Mary” James

When: 8 p.m. Aug. 7

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $10 advance, $12 door