FRI. MAY 31, 2019 – MARY BRAGG / LIBBY KOCH

  • By mrsmusic40
  • February 26, 2019
  • Comments Off on FRI. MAY 31, 2019 – MARY BRAGG / LIBBY KOCH
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MARY BRAGG

For Mary Bragg, the process of fully coming into her own actually began with her last record, 2017’s critically acclaimed ‘Lucky Strike.’ Hailed as a “sublime distilling of Southern grit” and one of the year’s best by NPR, the album dipped its toes into a kind of radical honesty that Bragg had only previously hinted at, and it connected with audiences in profound and deeply personal ways. The record prompted Vice Noisey to dub her an “Americana Queen,” while Music City Roots called the songs “infectious, smart, and resonant,” and World Cafe praised her “refined, sumptuously, melancholy take on Southern storytelling.” The title track earned Bragg first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest, and the record’s second track, “Comet,” has racked up nearly three million streams on Spotify. Billboard Magazine says the songs on her new album Violets as Camouflage are “among the most intensely personal Bragg has ever written.” 

LIBBY KOCH

Texas Americana singer-songwriter Libby Koch (pronounced “coke”) is a “country meets soulful” (Free Press Houston), “feisty Texas songbird” (Country Music People) who “sings her story with a little twang, some slide guitar, and a lot of heart” (Texas Monthly). Libby is working on the follow up album to her critically acclaimed 2016 LP Just Move On (Berkalin Records). Working in Nashville with Grammy-winning producer Bil VornDick, she draws on legends from Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, among others, to craft “true cryin’ and leavin’ country songs.” Combining her country soul with a seventh-generation Texas troubadour’s storytelling skill, Koch fills her songs with intimacy and honesty. Like the most timeless country classics, they’re the kind that make you feel good about feelin’ bad.

Koch’s gospel-grounded and honky-tonk voice powerfully navigates the emotions inherent in an album about relationships, starting with the opening break-up trio, “Just Move On,” “You Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “Out of My Misery” — three diverse, retro-to-modern songs that ultimately convey more about the triumph of empowerment than the pain of loss. Tracked live with veteran players handpicked by VornDick, the album, her fourth, is a fine follow-up to her 2014 release, Tennessee Colony, which drew on her ancestors’ stories to address themes of family, faith and home. Calling it “a frisky blend of country, folk, bluegrass and gospel set to some mighty fine fiddle, banjo and mandolin” and labeling it “daisy fresh,” the Houston Press put Tennessee Colony on its year-end top 10 list.

Though Houston native Koch began writing songs in junior high school, she never considered doing so professionally until she attended law school at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, where she discovered she could hold her own in a city full of heavyweight talents. A job at a large Houston law firm convinced her music, not law, was her true calling, and eventually, she decided it was time to … just move on.

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