2637 Knox Road 2300 E, La Fayette, IL 61449

Date

Jul 23 2023
Expired!

Time

6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

2023 Levitt AMP Galva Music Series | Mean Mary & Bandits On The Run | FREE CONCERT

Every Sunday from May 28th through August 6th (except July 2nd) there will be FREE, FAMILY-FRIENDLY live music at beautiful Wiley Park in Galva, Illinois starting at 6:00pm.

Events are rain or shine. Please bring your lawn chairs/blankets to sit on. Food vendors will be on site. Free art kits will be available on a first-come basis at each concert.

 

Mary James, youngest of six children, was born in Geneva, Alabama, though her family lived in Florida, a couple miles below the Alabama line. Her mom (author, Jean James) and dad (WWII veteran, William James) lived a very nomadic lifestyle. On one occasion they packed up the family (Mary was four at the time) and moved from Florida to North Minnesota, near the Canadian border, to rough it in the wilds.
The North Country:
For three months they lived in a tent built from a roll of Visqueen they’d brought with them. During this time, they built a log cabin using only an axe, hand saws, and the trees around them. They cooked their food on a campfire, got their water from a deep hole they’d dug, and read at night by the northern lights shining through the clear walls of their plastic tent. On one occasion their tent was mauled by a large, 7’1” black bear that Mary’s mom, Jean, was forced to shoot.
The tent soon became unbearably cold, and when they finally moved into their almost completed log cabin, winter was upon them. Without electricity or running water, and cold enough to freeze water five feet from the only source of heat (an old wood stove), the family spent many hours reading books by kerosene lamp and enjoying the great outdoors (cutting firewood!).
First Guitar:
Mary’s oldest brother, Jim, who’d just joined the Navy, sent the family a guitar and a compilation tape of songs he liked. With a battery-powered tape-player, the family listened to the music of Hank Williams, Jr. and Dolly Parton. It wasn’t long before Mary was singing the songs plus vocalizing all the instrumentation. Seeing her talent, Mom and Dad bought guitar books, and Mom started teaching all the children to play the guitar. Mary and her brother Frank were the two who would turn music into a career.
Mary learned to read music before she could read words and was an official singer/songwriter before she’d started her first day of kindergarten. With the help of her mom, she wrote her theme song “Mean Mary from Alabam’.” The press immediately baptized her with this handle, and she’s been Mean Mary ever since.
Goodness, Snakes Alive:
The James family eventually migrated back to Florida. Mary’s dad (who was sixty when she was born) was now retired, and Mary’s mom searched for ways to help support the family as well as feed Mary’s musical appetite and the varied interests of their other children. She started an organic truck farm, built and sold live-animal traps, collected live reptiles, amphibians, and mammals for wholesale distributors, and collected live venomous snakes for antivenom production. The children joined in all these undertakings and found it great sport.
On the Road Again:
Mary was now playing guitar, banjo and fiddle. She recorded her first album at age six, and spent five hours a day on instrumental and vocal practice along with her live performances. When she upped her music study time to seven hours a day, and her road shows began to multiply, it became impossible for her to attend school. At the end of the second grade, she went into home study and also started appearing daily on the Country Boy Eddie Show, a regional TV program out of Birmingham, Alabama. During this time, she also appeared regularly in Nashville, Tennessee at the Nashville Palace, on the Nashville Network, the Elvis Presley Museum, and on Printer’s Alley.
In spite of her hectic schedule, she found time for her studies and when only nine years old she aced a state required test at a 12th grade equivalency level. This wasn’t surprising to her parents who had witnessed her read the entire Gone with the Wind novel at age seven.
Her guitarist brother, Frank James, who’d now joined her on stage and in the home school program, also excelled in his studies and at age fourteen taught himself trigonometry. He graduated from high school at fifteen.
Back in Time:
At one point, Mary and Frank were booked at a living history event. They immediately fell in love with folk music. They’d grown weary of the commercial, country-music scene and so started a tour of historic folk and Civil War era music. It wasn’t long before they were one of the most sought after historical folk groups in the country, being booked every weekend and having to turn down hundreds of shows a year.
There was only one problem with this new arena of music to Mary’s fourteen-year-old eyes: all those mounted reenactors riding around while she stood in the dust and played music. Mary had always wanted a horse, and being a wise teenager she slyly told her parents that the only reason she’d worked so hard on music was so she could one day afford one! When her brother, Frank, who was equally drawn by equestrian interests, seconded her resolve, Mom and Dad gave in.
Bandits on the Run is an indie-folk-pop-americana outfit consisting of three lead singers, a guitar, a cello, a suitcase drum, an accordion, and various toy instruments. They hail from Brooklyn, NY and are known for their vivacious performance style, genre-defying sound, soaring harmonies, and ability to make music-magic happen everywhere from subway platforms to concert halls.
Bandits on the Run is a musical trio comprised of Adrian Enscoe, Sydney Shepherd, and Regina Strayhorn. Formed upon a chance encounter while busking in the subways of New York City, the Brooklyn based outfit has gone on to receive accolades from NPR Music’s All Songs Considered, American Songwriter, NPR Weekend Edition, and the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. 2020 found them busy writing and recording their EP “Now Is The Time” with producer Ryan Hadlock (Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers) and producing a short musical film “Band At The End Of The World” commissioned by NYC based Prospect Theater Company. 2022 saw them they have composing music for the Netflix children’s animated series “Storybots”, scoring the newest Peter Hedges movie “The Same Storm”, and touring the globe with appearances at the Cambridge Folk Festival, Floydfest, Milwaukee Summerfest, Americanafest, and the Singapore Grand Prix. Their next release will be their most collaborative yet: a self-produced EP featuring various and sundry bandit friends that explores the tensions of a world that has been broken open but is putting itself back together; it is slated for release mid 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *