Americana artist Mary Bragg wins MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in country category

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May 2, 2017

Americana artist Mary Bragg wins MerleFest

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in country category


New album, Lucky Strike, out on May 5th


Nashville-based Americana singer-songwriter Mary Bragg has won the MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriter Contest in the country category for her song “Lucky Strike” (co-written with Liz Poston). As winner in her category, she performed her song at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC on the Cabin Stage on Friday night. Other artists who performed at this year’s MerleFest included Zac Brown Band, The Avett Brothers, Béla Fleck, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sarah Jarosz, Jim Lauderdale, and many others.

“Lucky Strike” is rooted in the big dose of humility Bragg got when she moved from her hometown of Swainsboro, GA to New York City to pursue music. “There’s this feeling—no matter the dream—this desire to be seen, acknowledged; like you’re just waiting on that one thing that will get you to where you want to be,” Bragg explains. “The song ‘Lucky Strike’ is bit of a sarcastic poke at hopefulness, because it might feel like there’s just one thing holding you back. But it’s never that simple is it? And—it might even be your own subconscious hang-ups standing in the way.”

The song is the title track from Bragg’s forthcoming album, Lucky Strike, which will be released on May 5, 2017. Bragg and co-producer Jim Reilley (of indie stalwarts The New Dylans) recorded the album “in a backyard barn studio,” says Bragg, “where the microphones are old, not expensive-vintage-old, just old. Where the pop filters have holes in them. Where the vocal booth is unfinished because real walls never got built. It’s where ‘recorded live’ is for real recorded live, and everything is exposed.”

The result is a stunning collection of songs that speak to our common humanity with uncommon honesty. With candor and subtlety, Bragg’s songs probe this common journey to discover our truest selves, outside of our families and communities in which we are raised. That’s how she approaches the craft of songwriting as well. “I truly believe that a good song will make people feel something—even prompt people to ask themselves questions that I ask myself when writing the song. I can tell stories most effectively when I shake off that resistance to honesty, because that’s when the songs best resonate with my audience.”

She has been honored in the past in such prestigious songwriting contests as Kerrville New Folk, Telluride Troubadour, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Wildflower! Festival, and the International Songwriting Competition. She has been named a finalist in the 2017 Kerrville New Folk Contest with a track from Lucky Strike called “Comet,” as well as another song not on Lucky Strike called “The Highest Tower.” Lauded by press from USA Today to Nashville Scene, CBS New York praised Bragg for “winning over audiences for years,” while Blurt Magazine called her music “assured yet vulnerable.”

Bragg is touring in support of the new album—confirmed dates are listed below with more dates to be confirmed very soon.


Mary Bragg Tour Schedule:

4/30/2017        Nashville, TN – The Bluebird Cafe

5/5/2017          Nashville, TN – The Family Wash

5/8/2017          Knoxville, TN – Blue Plate Special

5/9/2017          Nashville, TN – The Bluebird Cafe

5/12/2017        New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3

5/13/2017        Newtown Square, PA – Burlap & Bean

5/18/2017        Nashville, TN – The Family Wash

5/23/2017        Harlingen, TX – The Prelude Songwriters Club

5/28/2017        Kerrville, TX – Kerrville Folk Festival – New Folk Competition

6/1/2017          Elgin, TX – The Liberty Tree

6/13/2017        Cambridge, MA – Club Passim

6/14/2017        Westerly, RI – Perks & Corks

6/16/2017        Middletown, CT – The Buttonwood Tree

7/21/2017        Minneapolis, MN – The Warming House

7/23/2017        Seward, NE – Red Path Gallery

7/28/2017        Swainsboro, GA – The Wrens Nest

7/30/2017        Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic


This article was written by admin