Mary — 21st Annual Woody Guthrie Festival, 2018

Woodyfest 2018: Mary Battiata

Mary Battiata & Little Pink at the Brick


This post was updated on Sunday, 4 November at 11:15 A.M. to cor­rect the year Battiata began work­ing for the Washington Post. We orig­i­nally stated she began report­ing for the Post in 1984. Battiata actu­ally started at the Post in 1981.

From Killing Fields to Killing Audiences

From the moment [Sidenote: The sixth install­ment in our 21st Annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival series fea­tures Mary Battiata.] she began to sing “Trance” from the Brick Café stage, Mary Battiata had this writer’s short hairs stand­ing at atten­tion. The song, from her sec­ond full-length release Gladly Would We Anchor, is a swampy, off-kil­ter affair that sent shock­waves through the audience.

Wearing one of the sharpest west­ern snap-front shirts this side of Rob McNurlin, the petite native of our nation’s Capital made her first Woodyfest appear­ance on the Brick Street Stage this Year. She was accom­pa­nied by Geoff Queen on lap steel gui­tar and David Carroll on elec­tric bass.

Battiata started play­ing acoustic gui­tar and singing in high school. She worked as a staff writer for the Washington Post begin­ning in 1981 before being pro­moted to for­eign cor­re­spon­dent cov­er­ing famine in Africa in the 1990s. Her next beat for the paper was report­ing on the war in Bosnia. On return­ing to the states she picked up the pen again, this time to write music.

Starting an alt-coun­try band in 1997, she played some gigs at the now-defunct IOTA club, an Arlington, Virginia venue whose lineup of local and tour­ing bands had inspired her to resume music in the first place. Two years later she formed her cur­rent band, Little Pink. The band’s fluid lineup draws from the best play­ers in the DC and Baltimore roots and coun­try music scenes.

Battiata has opened for the likes of Neko Case, Jim Lauderdale, Sam Baker, Gurf Morlix, and Alejandro Escovedo. She released her third full-length album, The Heart, Regardless, late last year. The album gar­nered much praise [Sidenote: For a more in-depth list of awards and hon­ors the album has received, visit the band’s web­site.] and appeared in the WXNA (Nashville) and the Honky Tonk Daily (Austin) Best of the Year lists.

Gallery: Mary Battiata


About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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