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Roots Radio News

Mary Bragg Covers Aaron Lee Tasjan, And Others, With An Assist

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Holly Lowman
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Nashville songwriter/artist Mary Bragg revered the band Drivin n Cryin during her college years at the University of Georgia.

“They were kind of the ultimate example of what it was like, to me, to learn about just unabashed writing and guitar playing and entertaining,” Bragg says in the WMOT interview posted here. “Kevn is just a glorious singer, songwriter and performer.”

Bragg is referring to Kevn Kinney (yes that’s how he spells it), who founded the Southern rock ensemble in the mid 1980s. Their paths crossed again, as colleagues on the same music scene, when they lived in New York City, but even then he was a mere acquaintance.

Last year though, Bragg reached out to Kinney through their friend in common Aaron Lee Tasjan, inviting him and Drivin n Cryin to back her up on her cover of a song she loved that was written by Tasjan. “Don’t Walk Away,” released last month as a single in advance of a covers EP that Bragg will release March 6, is a confrontation with the self, a rumination on the doubts that vex the performing artist.

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“Instead of allowing yourself to cower and hide and say nothing is worth anything, you should remember that there is worth in the effort and belief,” Bragg said. “And staying the course is not just for yourself but also for the person that is hearing the song.”

That lines up with Bragg’s feeling about her job, or more accurately, her calling. “I experience other songwriters’ songs in a way that helps me get through my life. And I’d like to be contributing to that well of relief in musical form.” 

Bragg is a small town Georgia native who took her new interest in writing songs from Athens, GA to New York in the mid 2000s. For about a decade, she played listening rooms and made an album with the musical crew around Norah Jones, including guitarist Adam Levy and bass player/producer Lee Alexander. Music City followed in 2014. Her career accelerated in the last three years as she won the 2017 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in North Carolina and then earned widespread praise for her LPs Lucky Strike and 2019’s Violets as Camouflage. 

Bragg’s upcoming EP will be entitled Think About It after the lesser-known Stevie Nicks song she covers. Also included will be “You Got It” from the Travelling Wilburys repertoire and “Our Lady Of The Well” by Jackson Browne, which is also streaming now. 

Mary Bragg’s next Nashville date is March 22 at the Bluebird Cafe.