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.