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The Loving Mary Band

Little Bit of Love – 2016 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by The Loving Mary Band

Loving Mary Band touts its debut as one "you could set proudly next to Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac." It's a bold claim from a sextet comprised of behind the scenes songwriters who found a little magic when joining forces behind the mics. Some members do have classic rock street cred. Guitarist and lead vocalist Marti Frederiksen is a chart-topping producer who has written for Aerosmith and Ozzy Osborne. Session drummer Sarah Tomek has played with Bon Jovi. Rebecca Lynn Howard is a two-time Grammy Award winner and ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year nominee.

Upon a sit down listen, however, there are more similarities to the folk outfit Mumford & Sons topped with the gloss of Lady Antebellum and Dixie Chicks. In fact, the best tracks ("Where There's Fire") feature Howard and Suzie McNeil's harmonies. As a result, the album has a more contemporary style and is focused on delivering a feel good vibe, of which they freely admit, However, it feels thematically myopic. The collective 43 minutes has a sitting around a campfire experience. There is nary a hard luck song in the bunch. This being a country effort, however, the obligatory drinking songs are packed in midway with the one-two combo "Drinking With You" and "Hungover." We get a fun spelling lesson on "Tennessee" "Spelled T; E; double N; E double S; double E" Sonically, the album has an almost deliberately pleasurable feel, as if to; match the tone of the generally kitschy and fun lyrics.

Their goal was to spread love and have people lighten up and smile. In that sense, mission accomplished. Otherwise, there's not much else here.