monday morning mp3: mary my hope

Remember that scene in High Fidelity where Rob is organizing his music collection autobiographically…?

In the summer of 1989 I moved to Nashville to try to salvage a romantic relationship that died pretty much the day I arrived. This made for an interesting three months. In order to pay the rent I worked at a place called the Pasteria with several interesting coworkers, including one of the guitarists for a band called Rumble Circus, who were good but apparently never found much success. I probably have the details a bit wrong, but some of the members of Rumble Circus went on to join at least three Atlanta bands: the Black Crowes, Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’, and Mary My Hope.

The Black Crowes you have probably heard of as they had a few national hits over the years, and those of you in the Southeast probably know Drivin’ ‘n’ Cryin’. Mary My Hope were a band that should have made a bigger splash than they did, frankly, but perhaps their timing was off. To me, they merged the aesthetics of ’70s glam rock with the vision of self-styled prophets like Jim Morrison and Patti Smith. Their sound verged at times on heavy metal. Too many cooks spoil the soup? I don’t know.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m sitting on the porch with Sheila Doyle, who had worked with me at the aforementioned photocopy place and who played violin for Big Fish Ensemble. We used to have lunch and play some songs together; one of them was Mary My Hope’s “I’m Not Singing” (mp3, 5.7MB), which is one of the best tracks on the band’s debut CD Museum. I can only remember doing this a few times, and I guess I talked myself into thinking I wasn’t very good, but Sheila was always pretty happy about our informal collaborations. Once her boyfriend, BFE’s drummer, came home and sang along with me on one song; I did a pretty good harmony vocal (he even said so).

I was never more than a satellite on the fringes of the margins of the periphery of the Atlanta music scene. But this is one of those moments in my life that I look back on and think, “Why did I quit doing that?”

I’m not sure that you can even buy Mary My Hope CDs anymore, but if you see one, be sure to take it home. I do know that singer James Hall has a release out on Daemon Records, and it looks like his current project is Pleasure Club.

MP3 files are posted for evaluation purposes only. Availability is limited: usually 24 hours. Through this site, I’m trying to share and promote good music with others, who will also hopefully continue to support these artists. Everyone is encouraged to purchase music and concert tickets for the artists you feel merit your hard earned dollars. If you hold copyright to one of these songs and would like the file removed, please let me know.

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4 thoughts on “monday morning mp3: mary my hope

  1. I was JUST listening to James Hall _and_ Big Fish yesterday. Weird. Your post made me flashback to wandering past a Sheila Doyle/Michael Lorant yard sale, of all things, many a year ago.

  2. Ah, Big Fish Ensemble — that carries me back. I never was part of the music scene when we lived there, the way a couple of our friends were, but I’ve seen all the bands you mention live at least a time or two.

  3. Mary My Hope was amazing. Their “Monster is Bigger Than The Man” EP is even better than “Museum”. I saw them live sp many times… I remember when they tried to play again without James Hall – can’t remember the name they called themselves, but I know the singer was pretty insane, undulating onstage in pink spandex. Clinton Steele was a great guitarist – ended up playing with Swans for a while. Saw MMH in just about every venue in Atlanta – Cotton Club, Masquerade, etc. They really should have made it big, but I guess they were too dark for the ATL.

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