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MARY WEBB – GUITAR


Captivating and unique, Mary Webb has recently released a new single Gecko Fingers, a stirring ode to the relationship shared between sisters. Accompanied by an eerie video, directed by Aaron Schuppan (West Thebarton, Nakatomi), Gecko Fingers is the first taste of Mary’s new album Love Like Planets, a spectacular body of work that explores the complexities of modern relationships and personal rediscovery, set for release on February 16. Mary will be taking the new album on the road from mid January through to March, kicking off at the Exeter Hotel in Adelaide, then continuing through SA and NSW and finishing up in Melbourne at the Wesley Anne on March 17.
Mary also took some time out to answer a few guitar-related questions for us.

What was your first guitar?
My first guitar was a Yamaha C 40 nylon string. I didn’t know how to play yet but I wanted to give it a go. I sat it on a chair next to my bedroom door and had a rule that every time I walked in or out the door I had to pick it up and play at least one note, even if I was rushing to the toilet or late for work. Once I’d picked it up, I always wanted to keep playing, so it was a good way of getting practice! When I finally bought my first ‘adult’ guitar a few years later (a Maton 225C) I gave the Yamaha to a friend who wanted to give guitar a go. I hope the tradition continued!

What’s your main guitar now?
The guitar I play most now is a Timberidge TRM1 Mini Acoustic. I needed something smaller and lighter for long gigs and ease of travel. It’s really responsive, which suits my style of playing. I mostly fingerpick, and I love how much it communicates the subtleties, with volume and tone. I bought it as a light alternative to my full-size guitar, but I play this one at almost every gig now. You’d think it would lack bass with such a small body but it actually sounds really healthy across the range, especially with the Fishman pickup. One day though, I’d love to own a Collings acoustic guitar, and a Fender Telecaster. I played a Collings on my latest album and it was an absolute dream!

Through what amp and why?
I don’t usually use an amp, but for gigs in small spaces I use a Marshall AS50R Acoustic Amp. It’s a good, solid, value for money amp with a nice tone. Nice and simple to use with a few basic effects.

Which pedals are your standards?
I haven’t gone down the pedal route. I like to keep the setup really simple with my solo shows. But on my album the electric guitarist, Dan Hindman, used PettyJohn, Moog and Effectrode pedals and got some awesome sounds out of them. I love analogue pedals for adding texture and atmosphere to spacious songs.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
My latest recording is a 12-track album called Love Like Planets, which I recorded in the US last year and is being released on February 16th. I had a band from Portland (Oregon) come to record with me and it was just the most amazing experience, being in this beautiful studio in the Mountains of Montana, making music surrounded by snow. We went screen-free and recorded entirely in Analog, live to tape machine. I’d never met these guys except over Skype, and we just clicked right away, which is lucky really! We’re releasing the album on 180g double vinyl (as well as CD and digital) which I’m super excited about. That will be the ultimate way to experience this record. I don’t have plans to get back in the studio just yet, but I’m really looking forward to a new writing phase once I get this album out into the world.

What gigs have you been playing lately?
I’ve been playing lots of gigs around Adelaide, including my single launches in October and December at the Grace Emily Hotel, one of my fav venues. I also did some really nice Parlour shows with Naomi Keyte in Qld, NSW and Tas. I really love playing house concerts, and it’s almost a ‘scene’ of its own now!

Most memorable gig?
The first time I played at The Cheese Factory Studio Gallery in Meadows, SA. It was such a beautiful setting, and the entire room sat silently while I played, even a row of attentive children! The sound there is also fantastic, and it’s where I met Mike Kirkham for the first time, who produced my new album.

Worst stage nightmare?
My theoretical worst stage nightmare is getting the opportunity to do a big support or festival gig and being so overcome with nerves that I do a bad job and embarrass myself!

Album that changed your life?
That’s a tough one… I’d have to say Jeff Buckley’s Grace. The fluidity and depth of feeling in that recording just blows me away, even today.

What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
I’ve got a whole bunch coming up over the next few months, including album launches in Adelaide and Melbourne with band, and a national solo tour. Details of these will appear on my website as they are confirmed: www.marywebbsings.com
FRI 2 MAR | GASOLINE PONY, MARRICKVILLE NSW | 18+
SAT 17 MAR | WESLEY ANNE HOTEL, NORTHCOTE, VIC | 18+

A tip for the kids?
Don’t be afraid to experiment! Be brave and push yourself to the limits of your skills. It’s the fastest way to improve, and as someone wise once said to me, the only true failure is the failure to participate.