Jesse Locks: Folksinger Mariee Sioux
Mariee Sioux Sobonya was destined to be a storyteller. Growing up on an organic flower farm outside of Nevada City, Mariee was surrounded by music, stories and nature.
Her father Gary, a talented mandolin player often had band practice at their home and her mother Felicia, shared a love of her Native American heritage and folklore with her daughter.
At seventeen, Mariee traveled to Patagonia and while there began to write songs and taught herself to play guitar. She returned with what would be the makings of her 2006 self-release album A Bundled Bundle of Bundles. Recorded with her good friend and fellow musician Art Echternacht, the album featured stream of consciousness lyrics backed by delicate acoustic guitar.
In 2007, Mariee released Faces in the Rocks on Grass Roots Record Co, and began touring nationally and internationally. The last two years she’s spent mostly on the road supporting the album, performing at well-known folk festivals in the US and Europe and playing with some of the best young folk artists of today.
Mariee has herself hunkered down deep in the woods of Pollack Pines, recording her second release for Grass Roots due late this summer. She’s working with Echternacht again at his home recording studio and took some time out to discuss playing local shows, touring, Graham Nash and growing up.
It’s been two years since your sold-out CD release show at The Center for the Arts. Are you excited to be performing back in your hometown?
I’m really excited. I’ve never played at St Joseph’s, it seems like such a nice place to play and the right kind of environment and acoustics for my music. Shows at home are always the most stressful because I haven’t seen people in so long and I just want to hang out.
What have you been up to the last couple of years?
I’ve been to Europe ten or more times, performing mostly in France, England and Belgium. I haven’t done as many shows in the States, but did set up my own kind of tour on the East Coast last summer. I’m really getting into the live shows, and becoming more comfortable performing, singing, and being a musician.
How has so much touring affected you as a person and your music?
It’s interesting learning to balance tour life with regular life. It has been a little hard to find the energy to be creative, but I’ve also been immersed in so much music with creative people. I’m more comfortable performing now.
How have you seen your audience in Europe evolve with each tour?
Every tour there has been an increase in interest even though I didn’t have a new album. It wasn’t this immediate thing, more of a trickle with people discovering my music. People are still learning about the Faces in the Rocks album.
You’ve played every notable folk festival in Europe. Any highlights?
Folk Dranouter in Belgium was totally insane. There were a few thousand people crowded in this outdoor tent totally silent listening to me. I had never experienced something of that magnitude.
Do you think European audiences have a greater attention span for folk music than American audiences?
Definitely, they are interested in American folk music like how we are interested in international musicians, because it is mysterious and intriguing.
You recorded “Sleep Song” with Greg Weeks of Espers for the Grass Roots Records and (((folkYEAH))) “Be Yourself” tribute to Graham Nash’s “Song for Beginners.” What was that experience like?
I love this song and the entire album. We took a couple days in Greg’s studio in Philadelphia to record. He runs an all-analog studio in his house with lots of different instruments to play on. He’s a really cool guy.
What are you most excited about for this new record?
I’m experimenting with new instruments, not playing just acoustic, but still a little more stripped down at the same time. I didn’t have a huge amount of time with Faces In the Rocks, things just formulated organically in the week of recording. This time I have more of an idea of what I want and I want to do more on my own.
What have you’ve learned about yourself in the last few years?
Recently my life has been full of extreme things happening with friends passing away and friends starting families. It’s been very intense, but amazing as well. I’m proud of being able to come out of it and be okay with this life.
Lemonade is cool and refreshing, usually sweet and a little bit tart. Jesse Locks is a freelance writer. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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