playing at Banter on Saturday from 10:30 to 11:30
Singer-songwriter Mary Walker captures the sweeter notes of a musical life born and bred in North Texas. Her debut album, Heavy Hearts, balances the intellect of Denton’s focused musicianship with the accessibility of cheeky pop.
Whether perched at the piano or behind her guitar, Mary’s flirty vocals beckon in a playful manner reminiscent of Regina Spektor; lyrics ever deepening as they swirl through the psyche of a charming old soul turning 21 all over again. Her quick smile indicates mischief is likely afoot.
“I was always very loud and eccentric,” said Mary, a self-professed class clown. “I was constantly in trouble.”
Mary transferred into public school her sophomore year of high school, but found the cookie-cutter vision of popularity and cheerleading an odd fit for her own eccentricities. Unwilling to waste her energy on the drudgery of suburbia, Mary spent her senior year in Argentina. She fell in love with the piano at 17.
When her father overheard her teaching herself pop songs on YouTube, he gifted her with lessons from Norah Jones’ piano teacher, Julie Bonk.
“She was my musical lighthouse,” said Mary. The master encouraged Mary to write her own songs. She advanced quickly to studio recordings within four months. Mary brought her original work to the stage by her 18th birthday.
While studying Spanish at the University of North Texas, Mary delved into Denton’s reputable music community. She began playing with two separate yet poignant jazz and indie scenes. While employing the deft skills of Grammy-fodder jazz students from UNT’s legendary Lab bands, Mary turned around to woo critical crowds gathered on the Square during 35 Denton.
Heavy Hearts manifests the diverse perspectives of small town craft, including producers Sean P Jones (One O’Clock Lab Band) and McKenzie Smith (Midlake). At the core of her music, Mary ties together the intricacies of finely-tuned ears with her own words.