Canadian singer Suzie McNeil is looking forward to playing two sold out shows in Niagara Falls next week with her latest band, Loving Mary. The Nashville based band will be backing up Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler when Tyler plays the Avalon Ballroom inside Fallsview Casino on March 29th and 31st.
Loving Mary, a six-piece band, began as duo when McNeil hooked up with singer/songwriter Marti Frederiksen. The two first met in 2005 after McNeil finished Rockstar: INXS. The two hit it off and began working together.
“He produced my next three albums and became a great friend,” McNeil told Music Life Magazine earlier this week. ” When he moved to Nashville (from LA) I would see him when I went there for writing trips. Every time we hung out I bugged him to start a band with me. It was our plan to make it a duo act for a while.”
Frederiksen had previously worked with such artists as Carrie Underwood, Buckcherry, Daughtry, Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue and Aerosmith. He was also the lead vocalist for the fictitious band Stillwater in the 2000 movie Almost Famous.
It wasn’t long before the two decided to expand after they met country singer and two-time Grammy winner Rebecca Lynn Howard and her husband Elisha Hoffman – a songwriter, musician and producer who has worked with such artists as Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Faith Hill, Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain.
“Marti had already written with Rebecca a couple of times and I ended up doing a writing session with her one day,” said McNeil. “I met up with Marti after the session and I said ‘We should ask her to be in our band with us!’ He was already thinking the same thing. We proposed the idea to Rebecca and Elisha and they agreed!”
But it didn’t stop there. McNeil’s husband Andrew Mactaggart and drummer Sarah Tomek rounded out the band in 2014.
“Around that same time Andrew and I had just got married. He was a session guitarist in Canada who played with artists like Tim Hicks and Small Town Pistols so we asked him to join the band,” explained McNeil. ” Then one night Marti was at a local Nashville pub and saw Sarah jamming on classic rock tunes. He thought she’d be the perfect addition to the band – three guys, three girls. She agreed and the rest is history!”
Tomek, born and raised in Asbury Park, New Jersey, has worked with such artists as Glen Burtnik and Jon Bon Jovi.
When asked how she would describe Loving Mary‘s sound to someone who has never heard the band, McNeil responded, “We kind of describe it as Country meets Americana meets Rock. There’s a mix of different styles in our songs, especially because we have three lead singers. There’s some Tom Petty influence mixed with a little Kentucky and baked in the oven with some good ole fashion three-part harmonies!”
Last October Loving Mary released an EP called Loving Mary Live. When asked about a studio album release, McNeil responded, “We’ve actually just released (the single) Drinking With You officially to Canadian Country Radio and it’s doing really well so we are itching to follow that up with an album release,” McNeil announced, adding, ” We recently finished recording our first studio album and we’re currently negotiating a distribution deal…so the answer is SOON! It’s a great record and we’re very excited!”
Next week’s shows in Niagara Falls won’t be the first time Loving Mary plays with Steven Tyler.
“Marti has known Steven for years, they’re great friends. Marti has written a lot of Aerosmith songs with Steven, including the hit Jaded, ” said McNeil. “When Steven started this new solo country project he asked Marti if he knew any musicians he could hire for a show and Marti said “well… I actually started a band…” and we’ve been playing with him ever since!”
Loving Mary has been playing shows with Steven Tyler for over year now.
“The Loving Mary singers sang on his first single Love Is Your Name. We were all in his video for that song. I believe we’ll be playing on a couple more songs on his album and we’re also scheduled to do a North American tour with him this summer.”
When asked what we can expect at next week’s shows and whether or not fans will get to hear some Loving Mary material, McNeil responded, ” We’ve played our own songs at some of his shows in the past and we’ve opened up for him but I believe we’ll just be playing his songs this time at the Fallsview shows.”
Three of the band members have had previous ties with Niagara Falls. As mentioned earlier, Mactaggart played with Canadian country singer Tim Hicks, who is from Niagara Falls. McNeil is the singer heard in all the Marineland commercials and Frederiksen has previously played at Fallsview Casino as part of the Songwriter Series.
When asked if she or any of her band mates have other plans while in the Niagara Falls area, McNeil responded, “We’ll actually be pretty busy with some press and radio promoting the new single while we’re in town so we’ll be pretty busy. Of course, it will be exciting to see the falls though! It always is.”
Posted by Joel Naphin | March 25, 2016