Transcript from an Interview ith Mary K.
Mary K. Croft, based in Cottonwood, AZ, USA. Musically, you’re a storyteller…
Yes and as a storyteller, I use music. I just took "Ridin' In Alone" off the page, because in my studies (I'm doing my Master of Arts in Humanities, with a Storytelling emphasis, at Prescott College) I have begun to do archival research, and that was one of several songs that were just not correct. Bits and pieces of it were, but the whols thing was incorrect... Damn! And it was one of my favorites! I have rewritten the lyrics, keeping the melody and chorus, and centered on Father Kino, an amazing man who did indeed ride alone throughout Apacheland in the late 1600's, building missions and bringing cattle, wheat, and orchards to Alta Pimeria. Gotta re-record it.
I am mostly working by myself right now, although Bill Vasquez (keyboard, small brass, flutes) and I have long-range plans for recording and performing some wildly jazzy stuff. Working to pay the bills, unfortunately, gets in the way of musical time together at this point.
Why this name?
Names are important. As a baby there were my two big brothers, Jimmy and Donny, and me, Mary Kay. Then they decided that those were "baby names" and insisted that they wanted to be Jim and Don. ...And the older one got overwhelmed with being in Arkansas and tried adding a derivative of his middle name, but "Jimmy Bob" sounded too... white trash, so he dropped it. Because I did everything my brothers did (found out by age three that I couldn't pee standing up) I dropped the "Kay" also.
But the numerology of it showed. "Mary" is based on the Aramaic which means "bitter"; my middle name, Katherine, means "sweet". Not until I added the K back to my name, did my life start to sweeten up.
Do you play live?
I do play live, here in the Verde Valley. Currently I can be found somewhere on Main Street in Old Town, every Saturday afternoon, into early evening. The Renaissance Faire in Flagstaff, the weekend of June 25, I will head a group of storytellers and will be playing Elizabethan-style guitar.
I've been performing live ever since I can remember, being a standout voice in a musical family. At parties with relatives, someone would play piano and there would be wonderful harmony singing.
I started on piano at age 2 but switched to guitar at 15. Six weeks later was my first solo at the high-school talent show, and that standing ovation was a wonderful, defining moment! Those people had thought I was just ...strange... which made their reaction especially sweet.
I hit the coffeehouse circuit in the Washington University (St Louis) area at 18, after bombing out of my first attempt at college. I had majored in Student Lounge/Street Protest 1969.
It still shows in my style, that street musician thing.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
Here I am. I'm not anywhere else. That says a lot.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
Only if I had artistic control.
And then there's this: "'The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major
- William Colby, former Director of the CIA"
If people think they have me figured out, I change just to mess with 'em.
The river, about 100 yards from my back door, especially on my Arabian mare, Sue Sidi Sue.
Equipment used: 1973 red Guild D-25 (one owner)
Malden Holly Keyser guitar www.maldenguitars.com
Alvarez classical guitar
Samick 5-string bass
Carvin bass amp
Crate bass amp (small)
Pignose amp and PA
An interview with me was recently done for CLAMOR Magazine, and I'm hoping it's published soon.
"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." --Frank Zappa