Mare Wakefield
Mare Wakefield
  News Shows Music Lyrics Photos Bio Myspace Contact PRESS
April, 2011
Dear J.

We've gotten so many inquiries about the song "Dear J." (offered as a bonus track on new record Meant to Be) that we decided to post a little something on the topic :-)

First, yes, it's true. I was a teen-age runaway. I'm not advocating it for troubled teens today, but this was a simpler time (the '80s!) and I had my reasons. I'm currently working on a novel on the topic (at the pace of about two pages a year, give or take a page or two), so maybe someday a more detailed explanation will be available.

Second, yes, we are in touch with the J. of the song. He has heard the song, and we did get his permission before including the song on the album (and the link to his "just giving" site). Both spouses have been incredibly understanding and supportive, and all is well in each happy home -- and yes, of course, that's Nomad playing piano on the track.

Those are the easy questions to answer.

The tougher ones come in the form of "Why share such a personal topic with the world at large?" Which leads to the unanswerable: Why do we make art?

Which led to this article on Berkeley's Greater Good website: We found it because it's the first one that comes up when you type "why we make art" into google :-) But it's perfect. They talk to dancers, rappers, writers, poets and photographers about why they do what they do. The response of photographer Judy Dater was a good start: "I like expressing emotions--to have others feel what it is I'm feeling." Poet Kwame Dawes takes it even further: "The ultimate aim of my writing is to create an environment of empathy, something that would allow the miracle of compassion to take place, where human beings can rise out of their own circumstances and extend themselves into others and live within others. That has a tremendous power for the human being."

I think of how moved I get sometimes by a novel or movie, leaving my own reality behind for a time, and delving into someone else's story. And I think that must be the explanation. We want to connect with one another, and sharing personal stories is a great way to do that. Nomad and I listen a lot to the news programs on National Public Radio (great for those long drives!), and we can manage to stay dry-eyed when hearing the broad strokes about the many troubles in the world. But as soon as they zoom in to highlight one individual's story -- a nineteen-year-old Lybian freedom fighter who was left permanently deaf in both ears when a bomb went off just yards away, or the Japanese family dog who was lost at sea for three days but made it back home -- and it's please pass the tissues! It may make for slightly unsafe driving at times, but these individual stories connect us to people (and canines) in a way that facts and figures simply cannot.

I believe we all do long for connection, and so we all need stories in our lives. That's part of what makes us human. Sometimes we are the reader or listener, and sometimes we are the writer, speaker or singer. For better or worse, I am called in this life to share my stories as songs. Many of them are at least partially "true," but even the ones that are entirely fiction contain elements of truth, drawn sometimes from my own experiences, sometimes from a friend's or family member's.

I'm honored and extremely grateful to have so many wonderful, interested listeners. But I also know that even if no one ever came to another show or bought another CD, I'd still have to spend my days writing songs, attempting to share my stories and feel that often-elusive but ever-desired human connection.

We're wishing you lots of great stories and many warm connections--and thanking you for listening!

Lots of love,

Mare & Nomad

August, 2010
Like a Dozynyade Cowboy

Okay, I admit, I have no IDEA how to spell that word, but while driving through the Czech Republic last week, we heard a Czech version of "Rhinestone Cowboy" come on the radio. It was one of the highlights of the trip. (I mean, the shows were great and we had a fabulous time on the tour, but come on, Rhinestone Cowboy? in Czech?!?! Hard to top that!

In other news, the never-ending roadtrip continues. Nomad and I hit the road tomorrow (!!) for 8-weeks in the western half of the US. We are breaking in our new Subaru (named Penny in honor of her super cool former owner), but memories of Daddy Cool (former Subaru) will be strong. See shows for details on the specific dates. Come out and see us if you can, meet Penny, mourn the passing of Daddy Cool, and join us in a round of Rhinestone Cowboy ... in Czech! Everybody now ... "dozynyade cowboy -- strum strum -- something something something something something ro-day-uuuuuuu" :-)

June, 2010
Thanks CD Baby

Just got word that our latest record Ironwood was named a staff favorite by the good folks over at Nomad and I are very honored and we even did a happy dance around the room.

We're also getting ready to head down to Florida mid-June for some shows in Georgia and Florida. Then later in the month we board a plane and head to Europe for shows in Germany and the Netherlands. See shows for details.

February, 2010
Singer/Songwriter Etc. and more

Howdy y'all (yes, we are becoming Nashvillians!). Last week Nomad and I taped a performance of a few new songs on locally-produced television show "Singer/Songwriter Etc." We had a blast and look forward to seeing the show on the air soon (Channel 19 if you're in Nashville).

In other news, we've started work on two major projects. The first is a 5-song EP of all new material. We're pretty excited about this because this will be the debut release of our new band, the Sweet Tea Brewers (or the Teadrinkers ... still haven't quite decided on that name). But either way, this is a true collaboration of the best (we hope) of both our brains. We look forward to hearing what you think.

And, as I'm typing, concrete is being poured in our backyard for the new and improved studio. Nomad's out there looking super cute in construction-worker garb. I just took a few pics and will post them soon so you can follow our progress. Big adventures, no fear.

September, 2009
Tom Waits, Miss Kitty and Jerome, Arizona

... or Best Gig Award for the Aug-Sept. 2009 tour

Every tour has them, these golden moments that come out of nowhere. Moments that make you say "ahhhh, NOW I remember why I gave up a promising career in ____________ to play music!"

For Nomad and me on this tour, that golden gig happened at the Spirit Room in Jerome, Arizona. "Where?" you ask. Jerome! Population 200. Elevation 5,080. It's a tiny Old West mining town nestled on the side of an Arizona high desert hill. Now the town survives almost exclusively on tourism.

We booked a Tuesday night there on a recommendation from the Fiddler's Dream down in Phoenix (another stellar gig). There was a modest guarantee and a room for two nights, but to really describe Jerome, I have to start with Flagstaff.

Now, being basically happy, positive people, we don't give a "worst gig of the tour" award. But oh buddy, if we did, this Flagstaff show would have won hands down. We had left a virtual paradise in Anaheim (another great gig!) to play this coffee shop in Flagstaff -- for a guarantee of $20. No, that's not a typo. I guess it was a momentary lapse of reason on my part, but it was a Monday night, and we were driving right through...

Anyway, it wasnÕt the money (or lack thereof) that made this gig bad. Even if it had paid $500, it still would have sucked -- though much less! :-) No, it was abysmal because for some reason, no one was listening to us. I don't mean that they were distracted, or talking through our songs. I literally mean it was as if no one could HEAR us. The lone exception, and only reason we made it through that night, was a sweet family who, I found out later, had actually driven an hour and a half to see our show. For some reason THEY could hear us, but seriously I don't think anyone else could. No one clapped, no one smiled, no one tapped a single toe. At one point I even asked the girls behind the counter how to turn the stage lights on, and they didn't look up either. Nomad actually asked ON MIC, "Are we in some kind of a vortex where no one can hear us?" I laughed. No one answered.

That gig FINALLY ended, and we found a dingy grocery store, bought bread and cheese and ate sandwiches in the gloomy parking lot. Also, we made a phone call to Jerome to double check that there would be a room waiting for us, and the woman, instead of confirming our reservation, began to give Nomad long-winded directions. "Go through two of those things. What are they called? Where you don't have to stop but you drive in a circle? Roundabouts, right. So you go through two of those. Or is it three?" etc. Meanwhile Nomad's cell phone is beeping cause the battery is dying. I honestly thought he was going to hyperventilate from his deep breathing trying to keep calm.

But Nomad survives, the room is confirmed, and we drive off into the dark Arizona night.

I'll skip the part about the winding, nineteenth century mountaintop trails and gravel-road rollercoasters our GPS recommended (what had that lady said about roundabouts? Maybe we should have written that down!). We finally had to turn the GPS off and turn on (gasp!) our brains. Follow the PAVED road. We get to the town. Almost midnight. Really looked like something out of ummm, what was that cowboy show, with Miss Kitty? Except for the electricity of course.

Hotel reception was closed, but the bar had our keys. Dimly-lit, two or three customers, juke box playing ... was that Tom Waits? The bartender had long, silver hair and the kind of laid-back attitude that makes a California surfer seem uptight. Sign over the bar reads "Jerome, AZ. We're all here because we're not all there." Funky. Almost spooky, but really cool. I could feel the day's tension fading along with our cell phone reception.

And the room! Again, from the Miss Kitty show. (Except for the giant flat-screen TV on the wall, oh, and the whirlpool tub, and the microwave ... hmmm, maybe I need to watch that show again?) But the giant antique bed frame and the furniture and the hotel itself were certainly in-keeping with the Old West theme. And to have a real bed! How many nights in a row had we slept in the car? Six? Seven? Soft pillows, clean sheets, fluffy down comforter. Felt like heaven.

I wanted to do everything at once. Pop the complimentary popcorn, watch a movie, take a whirlpool bath. In the end, we just slept.

We woke up early the next day and realized we didnÕt have to drive at all. First day in weeks we didn't have at least a 3 or 4 (if not 8 or 9) hour drive ahead of us. We breakfasted in the room and then moseyed around town, aimlessly ambling and fully understanding the true meaning of the word "mosey." Town was pretty much two streets. We walked them twice, impressed by the authentic Old West buildings, but left breathless by the surrounding mountains and canyons. Red, yellow, pink, orange, green and gray. Hard to believe that bare rock can have so many different colors. But I've always loved the desert, ever since I was six and my family moved to Phoenix for three of the happiest years of my young life. I love the sun, the dry air, the hardy and strange-looking cacti. The barbeque smell of creosote mixed with sage. Smells clean. Smells like sunshine.

We handed out cards with info about that night's show. And people actually took them and said thank you! Some of them even showed up that night. Amazing. Guess that shameless self-promo actually works sometimes ... or maybe there's just not that much else to do in Jerome on a Tuesday :-)

We splurged and went out to lunch, choosing the restaurant with the best smells and the best views.

Little more walking, then back to the hotel for a whirlpool bubble bath (one of the perks of touring with your husband!). A note of warning here: I'd recommend EITHER bubble bath OR whirlpool jets. The combination left us fighting off an ever-growing mountain of monster bubbles ... but that was kind of fun too.

The icing on our Jerome cake was really our show at the Spirit Room. Like I mentioned, a few folks showed up with our cards in hand. A few more had read the posters. Some regulars knew that the room had an acoustic night. In other words, people came for a show. Same bartender (sweet guy named Chuck) was there, and I almost fainted with pleasure when he covered up the pool table for our performance. Here's a place that knows how to host listening-based music!

Though it was a Tuesday night, most folks stayed for the full 3-hour concert. They listened, they laughed, a few cried, and they all sang along! For a performer, this is the kind of audience that keeps you going another whole year. ("I'm NOT wasting my life, I AM reaching people!")

They all signed the mailing list, and most bought multiple CDs. But even the extra income (though nice!) wasn't as important as their attention and appreciation. This is why we do this. We have so much to give, and these Jerome folks took it all in. Genuine connections. Real bonding. Through music. That's the whole point of my existence, and Jerome and the Spirit Room reaffirmed this for me.

So they get our "Best of Tour" award (which is basically this blog), and they may even be named one of the Top 5 All Time Best Gigs (still working on that list).

Thank you Spirit Room. Thank you Jerome residents and visitors. Thank you everyone who made these 2009 tours possible and, yes, even profitable. Nomad and I are home now, safe and sound, tired but happy, and full of enough love and light to sustain us through the winter and prepare and motivate us to get back out there and do it all again next year.

In the words of Roy Rogers, "Happy trails to you, till we meet again."

August, 2009
We Love Martin

Just got the word that Mare and Nomad have been officially recognized by C. F. Martin and Co. as Preferred Martin Artists. We are so honored and also super duper excited about this since it means that, among other things, we'll soon be getting a new baby Martin guitar. Hooray!!

August tour of the Western half of the US is underway. Shows in MO, MN, IA, NE, OR, CA, AZ and TX. See shows for details.

Also, my kids' music duo, Eve & Mare, is still celebrating the release of new CD, Green Means Go this month. See for more details.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope to see you out on the road!!

July, 2009
There's No Place Like Home

Just got back from our June European tour in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Tour was the most successful yet, even despite a whopping crack on my beloved Martin -- thank you US Airlines! (Not to worry, the good folks over at Joe Glaser's shop here in Nashville say they can patch that baby right up, thankfully.)

August tour of the Western half of the US is coming up. Shows in MO, IA, NE, OR, CA, AZ and TX with a few more dates pending. Keep checking our shows page for the most up-to-date info.

Also, my kids' music duo, Eve & Mare, is celebrating the release of new CD, Green Means Go this month. See for more details.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and enjoy the rest of your steamy July. See you in August!!

April, 2009
Great American Songwriting Contest award and COOKIES!

Just got the news that we were an Honor Award Winner in the 10th annual Great American Songwriting Contest, in the Contemporary Acoustic/Folk category for our song "About the War."

You can read a list of all the honorable Honor Award winners here:

We are sooo soooo happy to get this news. Yes we are. And now we will rush home and bake cookies to celebrate. Really, we've been looking for an excuse to bake cookies for WEEKS now!! After all, adults can't just bake cookies because they feel like it, can they? I mean, it's the middle of April, not a cookie-type holiday in sight. No children coming to visit. Plus we're supposed to be getting ready for swimsuit season... But we have no choice. Awards call for celebrations. And celebrations call for cookies (at least in my book--which just happens to be a cookie recipe cookbook).

Wishing you all many awards, honors, celebrations and cookies! :-)))))

November, 2008
Be As You Are

It took hours. Pages and pages of multiple choice questions about my preferences, strengths, personality, etc. Upon completion, a computer I'd never even met before was going to analyze my answers and tell me what to be. This monstrous thing was called a "Career Aptitude Test." I took one when I was a freshman in college, and almost 20 years later, that beast is still haunting me.

Not surprisingly, a career "in the arts" came out on top. The computer couldn't tell the difference between music, painting, writing or acting so these all were tied for top placement. But the computer also listed a caveat for this kind of artsy, self-starter career: I scored low in "drive."

Fast forward through two college degrees and six years of being a semi-successful local and regional singer/songwriter. I had decided to go back to school to get a music degree and a troubled individual, who shall remain nameless, made some off-hand comment about how I must be lazy because here I was at the dottering old age of 29, and only now deciding to get a third degree.

Lazy. Low in drive. Obviously I didn't let a crazy person and a computer run my life or affect my decisions. But each of these comments stuck with me, and resonated with a secret fear buried deep inside. (Perhaps planted by some childhood comments my mother made--but let's just avoid that can of worms altogether, shall we?)

I wanted to get to the bottom of why these comments still bothered me so many years later. And I couldn't deny the fact that they disturbed me so much because I was afraid they might be right. Essentially, I have a fear of being lazy. Or rather, I have a fear that I am lazy.

This fear is fed by perceived failures (I haven't won a Grammy yet, have I?) and held at bay by stressful, frenzied orgies of work-sitting in front of the computer for hours and hours, booking tours or chasing publicity, telling myself again and again, "there, see, I'm NOT lazy."

But why is it only when I'm doing the work I absolutely HATE that I can push this fear away? I don't give myself that same validation when I'm exercising or cooking or cleaning the house or writing or playing guitar or doing any other tasks that are productive and fun. Only when I'm doing the stuff that makes me most miserable do I get the sense that I'm "really working" and therefore "not lazy."

Now, I know there have been armloads of books written on how creativity needs space, needs play. One of my favorites, Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, advises hours of play and a weekly "artistÕs date" with yourself. And while it's often difficult in our nine-to-five world to give oneself permission to play, I feel that, for me, there is another piece to this self-acceptance puzzle.


Maybe I'm not lazy or lacking in drive. Maybe it's just that I want variety in my life. I love yoga, but I don't know if I could drop everything and just do yoga 12 hours a day (though sometimes I think I could). I enjoy cooking but I don't want to open my own restaurant. I even enjoy housecleaning to a certain extent, but I don't want to become a full-time maid. I enjoy a certain amount of yardwork, a fair bit of travel, and yes, writing songs and playing music. But what makes me happiest is a balance of all these things. I can have deficiencies or excesses and get off-kilter, but when there is balance in my work, in my activities, then I feel balanced in my heart and at peace in the world. There can certainly be too much computer work (and usually there is). There can be too much housework, too much cooking, too much exercise. And FOR ME, I guess there can even be too much music. I know people that live in their cars, touring and playing 300+ nights a year. I used to think this was the life I wanted, but I've never been able to take that leap. And perhaps that's not the leap I'm meant to take. I've certainly experienced periods of intense inspiration when I'm playing or writing songs for days on end. But when I emerge from these states (and I always do emerge) I like to do a little gardening, a little yoga, maybe bake something. Maybe even check my email.

So what if it's not a lack of drive that I have, but rather a desire for variety and a well-rounded life? The trick would be not only recognizing that, but giving myself permission to be this way. To be content with the way I am. Allow myself to be as I am. Sounds so simple. But it's taken me 35 years to even realize this is what I need to do. Hopefully it won't take another 35 to learn how to do it.

November 7th, 2008
Mare Wakefield CD Release Concert for new record, Ironwood.
Friday, November 7th
Douglas Corner Cafe
2106 8th Ave South
Nashville TN 37204
6pm -- no cover
venue phone 615-298-1688
CD release sponsored by Music City Unsigned
The aptly named Ironwood radiates strength with every song. There's the woman who calls out all liars in "Enough Bad Love." The gun-toting girlfriend in "Slimeball," and the tongue-in-cheek barfly in "Whiskey Does it Better."
There's a lovely elegance to the record as well. Sparkling guitars highlight "Arizona," while stark piano and cello complement the title track. And producer Nomad Ovunc rose to new levels on the hushed soundscape of "Dreams Come True." "It's mostly bass and voice, and it's my favorite," Mare confides. "Nomad does this amazing thing where he frets the bass high on the neck, making it sound like a harp. That tune is always a show-stopper live."
Mare celebrates the release of Ironwood with a Nashville show Friday, November 7th at Douglas Corner Cafe.
"One of the best we've heard. Four stars!" -- Maverick Magazine, UK
"Cozy brilliance ... could she be the merger of Maria McKee, Natalie Merchant, Shawn Colvin and Dolly Parton?" -- Louisville Eccentric Observer
"Ironwood is a roots-driven Muscle Shoals-influenced Americana joyride--only the passengers are sipping Starbucks lattes instead of whiskey. Wakefield's voice is sweet and sexy, and the funky twangin' guitars recall the best episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard." --
For more info please contact