Courting My Muse
Dr. Mary Crowell lives with her husband, Wesley, and their son, Simon, in Athens, Alabama. She has taught piano and composition for nineteen plus years. As a resident of north Alabama, she has taught music appreciation, class piano, and private piano lessons at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama. However, she is resuming her previous occupation as a piano and composition teacher in August of 2008. She will be teaching in Athens, Alabama. Mary also teaches yoga at the Athens-Limestone Wellness Center. She loves playing Rachmaninov, Chopin, Gershwin, Bach and jazz standards; practicing yoga, gardening; and gaming with good friends. Mary Crowell has a B.A. in piano performance from Huntingdon College, M.M. in musicology from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and a D.M.A. in music composition -- also from the University of Alabama. While acquiring these degrees she accompanied ballet classes (and still twitches when she hears 'Let's go. Five, six, se-ven, eight!'), helped organize receptions and run concerts as a house manager, graded many music appreciation and history papers, and taught freshmen music theory, ear training, and sight singing. She also snuck around and performed jazz whenever her teachers weren't looking. Mary was introduced to filk music by Karen Murphy and John Brewer who paid her way and drove her to her first filk convention -- GaFilk 2001. And now people cannot keep her away with sticks. She's written several torchy songs (Magnus Retail, and Oh Milo); blues songs (Legolas and Page Not Found Blues); and some that defy description (The Song Will Tell Me True). She enjoys making lead sheets for the GaFilk Songbook and is having a good time learning the ins and outs of the latest incarnation of Finale -- Finale 2008. More recently Mary played concerts at Confluence 2003, TorCon 2003, GAFilk 2004, and Noreascon Four, Interaction 2005, Conchord 2005 (with Three Weird Sisters), Capricon 26 (as music Guest of Honor), Concertino 2006 (as toastmistress), and OVFF 22 (as GOH), and MARCON (with Three Weird Sisters) and ARCHON 2007 in Bardic Concerts with Tom Smith, Blind Lemming Chiffon, and Gary Ehrlich. Her most recent appearance at a filk convention was as the toastmistress for Consonance 2008. She was toastmistress for GAFilk in 2004 as well. Mary's song, 'When I Grow Up' was nominated for a Pegasus Award in the category Best Comic Book Song in 2004. Her song, 'Legolas' was nominated in the category Best Torch Song in 2006. In 2006 and 2007 Mary was nominated for Pegasus awards in the category Best Writer/ Composer. She has been nominated several times for a Pegasus Award in the category, Best Performer -- 2003, 2004 and 2005 and again in 2007 when she won, tying with Seanan McGuire for the award! Poison Ivy, her octet for flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, and trombone was performed at the UAH Local Composers Concert in March of 2004. Mary gigs in Athens, Alabama at downtown bookstores and garden markets as well as performing with the various bands in the greater Atlanta area. In August, 2004, Mary accepted the invitation to join Three Weird Sisters. She also performs with Atlanta based jazz band, Play It With Moxie. Recently, she has begun playing local gigs with Teresa Powell. as the duo, Birds of a Feather. Mary has finished recording Courting My Muse, her solo CD with Greg Robert. Courting My Muse is available through various filk dealers, Amazon.com, and CDBaby.com. It is also available at Pablos on Market, a delightful bookstore and coffee shop on the square in Athens, Alabama! Upcoming projects include Third Thyme's the Charm, a Three Weird Sisters album; and an as yet untitled Play It With Moxie live album. She is also putting together a playlist for a second solo album. It's working title is Acolytes of the Machine after Mary's song of the same name. Read what others have to say! Peter Alway discusses Courting My Muse: Mary Crowell's (quadrivium's) 'Courting My Muse' has overcome the special challenges of a solo recording, (I ranted about perils of piling on the accompaniment from guest musicians) because, for starters, she a damned fine pianist. Secondly, she's got a couple of bands to draw from: Play it with Moxie, the Gafilk house band; and Three Weird Sisters. I'm guessing that doctorate in music is coming into play here, as well. This is about the jazziest filk CD I've heard, but it's not all Jazz. Mary's Pegasus-nominated 'Legolas' is there, which is a lot of fun. But my favorites are: Some Believe: Just the coolest mummy song you'll ever hear. Cool mysterious Middle Eastern sound (harmonic minor?) and special recording effects that work well. This song gave me shivers up my spine while I was typing a few paragraphs back. Remind me to enter this in the Pegasus brainstorming poll. Get Down Mama: Inspired by her son Simon's surreal observations, the music is at least as cool as the imagery. I'd enjoyed it in concert, and it really shines on this recording. The creaky percussion really adds to it, especially when you realize that narrator isn't human. Two Hours Away: A very sweet song, the folkiest thing I've heard from Mary, I am reminded of Tom Lehrer describing the piano as an 88-string guitar. As good a performance of a ballad as I've heard on any recording, filk or mainstream. Doctrine of Ethos: A fun music geeking song. Especially as a dulcimer player with a minor in math. Dulcimers use modes more than most musicians who play more chromatic instruments, so the mode stuff is cool. The production values are top notch, Mary's voice is great, her piano skills are famous in the filk world, and the songs range from good to phenomenal. The only thing wrong with this CD is that I've heard Mary's more recent songs--they are even better!
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