Concert Reviews

Mary Bragg, Adam Levy Impress at the Living Room

I first met Mary Bragg in December at Galuminum Foil Studios while she was recording on the A Holiday Benefit, vol 5 album. As she sang her part on “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” the whole studio went silent in awe of her beautiful vocals.

The Georgia native moved to New York eight years ago to pursue music and in an interview with her I learned about her songwriting start with famous friend Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum and her recording process. This year, Bragg has a monthly residency at the Living Room where for two hours she showcases her own material and invites a collaborator to share the stage.

Last Tuesday her guest was Adam Levy. Known for his collaborations with Norah Jones, Amber Rubarth and Amos Lee among others, Levy admitted that his first show as a singer was at the Living Room.

Shortly after 7 p.m., Bragg took the stage. Having just spent the weekend in Georgia, she began the evening with a song about where she is from. Alone onstage with acoustic guitar her beautiful vocals stood out. “Orange” followed suit as her whispered singing style captivated.

Soon after, her guitarist and bassist joined the stage for the soulful and bluesy “Leave Tonight” before Levy joined her for the darker “Circle the Night.” With a distinct twang and bluesy guitar interludes from Levy, the track stood out. Bragg left the stage while Levy remained performing five songs of his own. The comical “You’re Not My Baby” had the room laughing along with deep vocals and lighthearted lyrics.

“I love singing here at the Living Room because it’s the first place I ever sang,” Levy admitted. “I used to stand in the shadows and play guitar.” Levy then performed a “love song to my home state” of California before Bragg rejoined him onstage and sang the song they first wrote together. With reverberating vocals and a wavering electric guitar interlude by Levy, the track was memorable. Slower ballad “Wildflower” followed while the poignant “Tattoos and Bruises” struck a chord.

Afterward, Bragg confessed she never intended to be a country singer. “For a long time I didn’t think I was going to be a country singer and that was a mistake,” she admitted. “I didn’t start writing until I was 22. My second record got more folky and poppy. Having that fore into folk and pop music allowed me to be honest with who I am and where I’m from and I stopped being afraid to write country songs.”

Next track, “When Your Heart Belongs To Another,” was “a shore-fire example of me embracing my country roots,” Bragg said as the twangy number impressed and hushed the crowd.

The remainder of her two hour set had the entire room entranced with her soaring vocals and quirky anecdotes. For more on Mary Bragg, visit her Website and catch her live at the Living Room March 20.

Related Links:
Mary Bragg Credits Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood For Songwriting Chops
Mary Bragg Performs at Rockwood Music Hall
Night in the Studio at Brooklyn’s Galuminum Foil Studios
Lady Antebellum Talk Dating, Drunk Dialing and Dylan