To see Mary Scholz live in concert is to fall in love. It is not just the flashing dark eyes or the crown of black ringlets or the confident, welcoming body language at the microphone. It is the voice and the lyrics – the music that flows from the stage and puts its soft hands on your cheeks, kisses your forehead, your ears, your mouth and becomes your lover. You are taken; you know this woman and her music and you want to spend the rest of your life listening to her.
Her new album, The Girl You Thought You Knew has the same effect. It’s a star-filled Milky Way of music that tightens your stomach, speeds your pulse and captures your heart. The fifteen songs on this album are each crafted and polished and presented as a love offering in a carefully sequenced order that defines her heart and pierces yours. This is not an album to play on shuffle; it s a romance ready to ripen.
Beginning with “A Mournful Noise”, the anguished cry of loss and heartbreak that evokes an image of a siren standing on a hill crying for a lost lover, then shifting to her hit single, the country- twanged “The Bridges We Burn” Mary sets the stage with the lines, “Can I leave/Can I let it go/Can I just walk away from the life we have built. You are forewarned; this is an emotional journey like no other. The pace picks up with a blues-rock tempo title song The Girl She Thought You Knew that unreels the story, pushing your love away with the lyrics, “I’m Sorry baby , but I tried/Sorry for telling you all those lies”. This girl has been places, not all of them good, and you alternately want to take her in your arms and comfort her and scream back at her in anger.
The album was released in February, but I waited until now to review it so I could se her live and talk with her on Music Friday Live!. I am glad I did, because it gave me her backstory and a glimpse of her personal power.
For me, two songs on the album close the deal: In My Bed spills out a woman’s needs – complex, erotic, urgent but romantic. She sings directly to me, the listener, “I want to feel you inside/I want to know its not just inside of my mind/Pull me closer to you baby”. Man, woman, young, old – it doesn’t matter, you want to pull her close, to feel that soft crystalline voice inside you.
But elsewhere in the album, she tells you that you can’t feel her inside because she is “Someone Else’s Wife”, to my mind the most powerful song on the album. Drawn from her young marriage and divorce, “Someone Else’s Wife” pulls you close to her heart, but never her body. The conflict that love can bring is laid out bare before you with the catch of tears in her voice. For those who have been there, it surfaces feelings long ago buried; for those who have not, it is a vicarious experience both sweet and bitter.
The love and anger and ache that builds up through the album – a chronicle of the love, anger and ache that we have all felt as we have fallen in and out of love– melts away in this song as she gives you a window into the heart of a young woman’s dilemma, a window so clear even a man can see the feeling on the other side.
Mary Scholz’s album The Girl You Thought You Knew is a romance of powerful feeling – regret, sadness, love, sex, independence and strength – all delivered in an angelic voice and heartrending lyrics. Listen to it all the way through and you will fall in love. I did.
The Girl You Thought You Knew by Mary Scholz
Available at http://www.maryscholz.com/ and iTunes