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Sound Circuit

Raising the tide


Mary McAdams is always pushing someone.

McAdams, an elegant musician and tireless worker, is also co-host of Ritual Cafe’s monthly “Women Writers in the Round” series, along with Patresa Hartman. Each month, those two search out new, local female songwriters and showcase them, and McAdams considers each show to be a kind of mutually issued challenge.

Mary McAdams hosts the Women Writers in the Round on Friday, May 30.

Mary McAdams hosts the Women Writers in the Round on Friday, May 30.

“I want to bring these younger women in so they can hear me and know you better work,” McAdams said in an interview. “And I want to hear them play, so that I know ‘Jesus, she’s good. I better work harder.’

“I feel like the rising tide raises all boats. I if I can lift more women writers up, it’s only good for me. It pushes me to write better music, to make more albums, to stay ahead of the pack.”


McAdams and Hartman take turns with the Round’s hosting duties. They share stage responsibilities like they share everything else in the process.

“We’re definitely in it together,” McAdams said of Hartman. “She never wants to take any of the credit, and always wants to do more of the work. That’s a rare trait.”

Each month, either McAdams or Hartman will take to the Ritual Cafe stage with three other songwriters. McAdams believes in pushing and encouraging her fellow songwriters, because she understands intimately how difficult it can be to keep a positive attitude.

“I can’t get booked in my own backyard,” she said. “I can’t get arrested in this town. It’s how it is. You can’t get booked in your hometown. They don’t give a fuck. It’s like when there’s a big conference in town, what’s the first thing they do? Bring somebody in from out of town!”

So McAdams considers it her duty to give other women songwriters a place to be heard in the city.

“I want to bushwhack the path clean for those woman writers who are coming up behind me,” she explained. “I firmly believe that we need to give credit to the writers who came before us, and that you need to lend a hand to those coming behind you. If we all did this, the whole scene and the whole community would be that much more ahead.

“I don’t benefit from diminishing your light. And I’m not weakened by lighting your flame.” CV

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