Mary McAdams

December 14, 2009 Mary McAdams and Chad Elliott at Peoples in Des Moines

General Admission: $10 at door day of show (doors open at 6:30pm)

VIP Reserved Seating tickets: $40 (reservation REQUIRED) includes admission to concert, reserved seat at table up front, a $15 bottle of wine to enjoy during the concert along with the $10 corkage fee (doors open for VIP ticket holders at 6pm). 

Local acoustic singer/song writers Chad Elliott and Mary McAdams bring Des Moines “One Hot January Night”! The two will spend the evening on January 16 trading songs at People’s Court from 7-9 PM.

In 2009, Iowa singer-songwriter Chad Elliott won the Woody Guthrie Festival songwriting contest with his song “Same Old Way” and in 2008 was a Grassy Hill Kerrville new folk finalist. Elliott worked with producer Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown) to create the blend of blues, roots and folk on his album “Redemption Man” in November of 2008.

After winning’s Open Mic finals in 2006 with his song “Bluebird Creek,” Elliott earned a spot on stage with Odetta, just one on a long list of artists with whom he’s shared the spotlight: Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, Eric Taylor, Buddy Mondlock, Dan Zanes, R.L. Burnside and Storyhill. Elliott’s song, “How’s the Weather?” was chosen from 300,000 folk songs as an award nominee for the Top 20 New Folk Songs on Just Plain Folks.

Mary McAdams has been performing throughout Iowa for eight years and is host of Ritual Café’s monthly open mic night. She teaches songwriting to grades K-8. When performing live, Mary offers a menu that runs from soft folk music to saucy blues. She was the Iowa Arts Council’s “Featured Artist of the Month” for March 2009, released her debut album in August 2009, and was Metro Arts Alliance “Artist of the Month” in February 2009. In 2009, she received a grant from the Iowa Arts Council to help promote her new CD.

Chad’s music can be found at


May 1, 2013  Mary was named a NEW FOLK FINALIST for 2013!!!!

Kerrville!  I'm going home.  For the first time. Oh my goodness it's true.

I'm booking my ticket to San Antonio cuz I'm going to Kerrville!  I got

word that I'm a 2013 New Folk Finalist.  I can't wait to meet everyone

at the festival and meet the Rouse's.  This is a dream come true for

me.  A dream come true. 

Nov 29, 2012"Girl Next Door" on Iowa Public Radio

I am recording "Girl Next Door" as a single and will be donating 100% of the profits of the single to combat Human Trafficking. Please check back soon for it's iTunes availability.

Ben Kieffer of Iowa Public Radio's River to River show did a program about Human Trafficking on 11/29/12.  Ben played a demo of my song.  You can listen to the archived broadcast here:

If you would like to learn more and get involved to help put an end to Human Trafficking, please visit The Network Against Human Trafficking.

September 7, 2012 Mary is named NPR Mountain Stage Finalist 2012!

WooHOO folks!  It is such an honor to be named a Regional Finalist in such a prestigious contest.  I am humbled.  If you are reading this before the end of September, 2012, please vote for me.  You can only vote ONCE.

July 8, 2012  Mary on the Taylor Guitar Website! 

I'm on the Taylor Guitar website!  Woot!  You can read all about it and watch the video here:  Sorry...i'll fix that link soon!

THANKS Taylor Guitars.  MWAH!

June 5, 2012 Telluride Troubadour Honorable Mention 2012 for Mary!

Mary got news that she has received an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Telluride Troubadour Songwriting Contest!  From her newsletter:

"My big news is that I’ve received an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Telluride Troubadour Contest!  It may just an Honorable Mention to you, but to me, it’s HUGE.  As Caleb Hawley wrote when he was a finalist last year, “It’s a nationally recognized songwriter competition for people who aren’t famous.  Contestants are judged on the quality of the song’s composition, vocal delivery, and the overall performance.  Some of the past winners you may have heard of include Catie Curtis, Deb Talan of “The Weepies”, Cosy Sheridan, Kris Delmhorst, Mitch Barrett, Robby Hecht and Brian Joseph.  Pretty sweet, eh?”  Yeah, pretty sweet.  I’ve been entering this contest for years and lots and lots of winners start out as Honorable Mentions.  It means that Telluride knows I exist; they’ve put my name on their website and they have linked to my website!  I’m pretty happy.  Playing at this years’ festival will be John Prine, Alison Krauss, John Fogerty, Bela Fleck, Bruce Hornsby and more.

I ain’t there yet, but it’s a start!  Check out the Festival here: Telluride Bluegrass Festival"

April 20, 2012 Mary was just named a finalist in the Songwriter Serenade competition!

Texas, here we come!

I'm super happy to announce that I've just been named a semi-finalist in this years Songwriter Serenade Songwriting Competition in Texas.  I'll leave May 4, 2012 for Texas.  My airplane tickets are purchased and I'm ready to go!  I'll include more details in this months Newsletter.  I'm waiting on a link from folks at Taylor Guitars before I send it out.  How's that for a teaser....?  I'm super excited to tell you about that as well.

If you haven't signed up to get my Newsletter, you'll have to sign up on my website.  I'm working with a brand new, spanky marketing team and they do everything by the book.  To get my Newsletters you have "opt in".  They're trying to keep me honest.  Good luck guys!

Links to the Songwriters Serenade below.  Talk to you soon!

Read the Press Release.


James C. McKinley Jr. said on October 18, 2011 in the New York Times article,

"the occupy Wall Street protest lacks an anthem".

No, James, it doesn't.  You just haven't found it yet.

It's right here:

Please click on the link to download 'Greed'.  Please share it.

Please click the on the New York Times article to email James and

tell him about my song.

Thank you for your help.  Thank you for your support.


Email James C. McKinley Jr. at   

June 22, 2011 Mary McAdams Opens for The Nadas, "Nightfall on the River"

Good Morning folks,

I'm posting today to let you know about a big show for me this Friday night.  I will be opening for The Nadas at their 'Nightfall on the River' show, June 24th at the Simon Estes Amphitheater.  Be careful what you wish for.  I've been wishing and working toward this gig for 3 years and it's coming true this Friday night.  I will be joined by two of my favorite players, James Biehn on guitar and Jon Locker on bass.

For the past 5 years I've taken the "keep your head down, nose to the grindstone, do good work and someone will notice" approach to my music.  It's paying off.  Please join me on Friday night to celebrate!  Details below.  Bring a lawn chair or a blanket.

Watch a video of last years show:

The Nadas, Nightfall on the River
Friday, June 24, 2011
Doors at 6
Simon Estes Amphitheater, Robert D. Ray Drive and Locust Street - Downtown
Des Moines, IA

Buy tickets:
Midwest Tix:
Face book Event page:

Thanks for supporting local music!

June 21, 2011 House Concerts!  Let's Do This


I’m hitting the road again. I’m working on new songs, putting up videos on YouTube, and having a lot of fun!

I’d like to see you.

My favorite thing to do is house concerts, where I can really get to know the people I play for (and with!). These events are so much fun, and so memorable, that it’s a growing national trend. American Airlines did a story on it last December, and CNN is doing a story about it next month. Are you a little bit curious?

Watch the short video that people use to promote these great events to their friends.
If you think your living room is too small, you’ll LOVE this.
I’d love to play for you and your friends, so please contact me if you are interested. We can compare calendars and decide when I could be in your area.

How much does it cost? Almost nothing! Read the free guide to find out how.

Email me:, I'd love to talk with you about it!


April 26, 2011Wind Is The Way

Mary has been invited to perform her song "Wind is the Way" for the 2011 Iowa Wind Energy Association Annual Conference.  Mary will be performing right before the keynote address given by Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association from Washington, DC.

April 14, 2011 Mary On "The Insider Sessions"

The Insider Sessions found Mary after a gig this week and had her play a couple of new songs and chat for a while.  Check it out here.  Thanks Insider Sessions!  We had a blast!

March 20, 2011Mary in the Des Moines Register

A big THANK YOU to the Des Moines Register, Michael Morain and Mary Chind! Thanks so much for your time and interest. Here is a link to the Register's article.

February 14, 2011 Folk Alliance Schedule...Here We Come!

Folk Alliance Schedule:
Wednesday, 10:45pm, Rm 1729 // Bill and Kate Isles
Wednesday, 12:15am, Rm 1927 // Listening Room Network
Thursday, 10:30pm, Rm 1914 // Access-Film Music
Thursday, 11:10pm, Rm 1916 // James Moors Presents
Friday, 2:00pm, Rm 1710 // LilFest
Friday, 3:30pm, Rm 1704 // The Nadas Present
Friday, 10:30pm, Rm 1705 // Arnold McGhee Showcase
Friday, 11:00pm, Rm 1729 // Bill and Kate Isles
Friday, 11:30pm, Rm 1914 // Access-Film, Round w Sarah Sample
Saturday, 2:30pm, Rm 1827 // Cynthia’s Music

A *big* Thank You to everyone hosting me in their rooms this year. I can't wait!

January 29, 2011 The Des Moines Music Community

We are a community

The generosity that the Des Moines music community showed at the James Biehn Benefit Concert last Sunday night was awe-inspiring. From the fans who showed up at the door, right on time, to the musicians who played their hearts out. Much was asked of many people and the answer was always “yes”.

Folks, let me tell you about Tom Zmoleck. This ‘venue owner’ proved himself to be so much more - he proved himself to be a community leader and a true friend. Tom isn’t going to tell ya, so I will. People’s on Court quietly donated the venue, the staff, the security, the sound, set-up and tear down and the proceeds from the bar to the family. He did it without hesitation or care of recognition. The planning committee asked for a reduced rent for the space for the evening and he responded with so much more. Does the word ‘generous’ cover it? No.

And hot damn Midwest Tix. Kathryn and Heather threw every bit of machinery and know-how (and more) they have at this event and we could not have succeeded in such a big way without them. We are living in a talented, vibrant, and caring community.

No favors were called in. Everyone gave of their time and expertise effortlessly. From the Unitarian Church where we held the Potluck to the volunteers who ran the event and donated the priceless items for the Auction. Every person was an integral piece of the success. And the Des Moines press and media were so kind, willing and respectful in helping us get the word out. We couldn’t have done it without them.

I guarantee you that if the tables had been turned, the Bottenfield-Biehns would have done it for any of us. James would have been helping to organizing this shindig and Jessica would have helped run the potluck. We are a community.

There’s no place I’d rather live right now. You can have Boston and Austin, I’m beyond proud to be a musician hailing from Des Moines, IA. We treat each other with dignity and we take care of our own with grace and integrity. We are a community. The list of those who gave of themselves is long. There isn’t room to write their names here.

And we will never be able to name and count all the fans that came out January 23rd to support a family. Thank you Des Moines music fans for stepping up and for showing up. We are a community.

To see more pictures of the night's fun see Shana Drake Photography

November 27, 2010Mary's Christmas Release

I've recorded a cover version of Santa Claus is coming to town. Give it a listen. I had a blast with it and I hope you enjoy it. Listen at iTunes.

August 13, 2010Big Top Chautauqua

I'm going up to the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua for the Songwriting Contest at the end of August.  I'm an Finalist and will be heading up to Northern Wisconsin.  Yee Haw!  For now, here's a shot from Song School in Colorado.  I've been to the mountain and witnessed great generosity.  Thank you especially Jonatha Brooke and David Wilcox. 

June 13, 2010 Mary takes SECOND PLACE in the Susanne Millsaps Songwriting Showcase the Snowbird Mountain Music Festival!!!

I won SECOND PLACE in the 2010 Susanne Millsaps Performing Songwriter Showcase! I couldn't be more excited!! I'll blog about this soon as I sleep.

June 5, 2010 Mary McAdams is a FINALIST in the Susan Millsap’s Performing Songwriter CONTEST!

This is turning out to be an awesome summer. I received word last week that I’ve been chosen as a Finalist in the Susan Millsap’s Performing Songwriter Contest! The contest is part of the 3rd annual Snowbird Mountain Music Festival in Snowbird, Utah. I entered my songs “Fight For Me” and “Bubbles” and I will get to perform them on the main stage on Saturday July 10. I’ve got a house concert scheduled on Friday July 9th in Salt Lake City, so if you know anyone in the area, send them my way and we’ll get them a seat and a ticket to the FESTIVAL!

We are sitting on our hands here at Birch Bark Music headquarters, waiting on word from the Lilith Fair Local Talent Search. Thank you to everyone who voted for me! I am grateful for all of the time you spent at your computers, listening to music and ranking the tunes. I trust that you discovered a few new artists along the way, I know I did. My manager was voting for me in the Minneapolis region and also in his home state region and has ordered 4 CDs from artists that he discovered while voting at That’s what it’s all about; finding good, new music to be excited about. I’m appreciative to Lilith and for the exposure and I’m proud to say that I finished in the top 10! Quarter-finalist, Semi-finalist. It’s all good. Now, let me perform…I’ll come back from the Snowbird Festival ready to rock!

December 31, 2009 Radio Folks!
Debut Album from Mary McAdams, Des Moines, IA

I am happy to announce the release of my Debut CD.  If you would like to receive a copy, please email me privately and I will happy to get one out to you.  Genre: Americana, Indie Folk.

You can hear my music at:

Press Kit:

If you are interested and would like a CD, please email me at and let me know where to mail it!

A Bit about the CD:
Mary McAdams brings a mother's love and a lover's passion to the 10 original compositions on this Iowa-based release.  Mary can serve up slow and saucy roadhouse blues, earnest Americana roots rockin’ or a lullaby ballad with equal authenticity.  From the funky piano fills of "Greed" to the simple guitar picking of "Fourth of July" -you’ll fall in love with the subjects in Mary’s songs.

Reviews of the CD:
“Mary’s voice on her self-titled debut is honest, unapologetically strong and downright ROCKIN’. The writing is full of imagery as she gives us a refreshing look at magic in, "Bubbles". "As the cities and towns are in trouble, The kids will find the magic...mixing a nickel's worth of soap and a cup of rain".  Makes you believe in magic all over again.”
--Sweet Talk Radio, Los Angeles, CA.

“Mary McAdams a Des Moines-based singer/song-writer originally from Madison, WI, has put together ten exceptional tracks for her debut, self-titled album. Although I’m probably not the first to say it and certainly won’t be the last, McAdams has a lot of talent - and the ability to take her music as far as she wants to.”
--Andrew Duffelmeyer, Des Moines Music Coalition

If you are interested and would like a CD, please email me at and let me know where to mail it!

Thanks for reading!


20.January.2016 Update

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. 


I'm playing 'Music Under the Canopy' Singer Songwriter Festival in Des Moines, IA Sat, July 12. There now exists a poster with my name near Greg Brown's name!

May 4, 2014 UPDATE

I'm on the radio in a few minutes! Iowa Public Radio,  Ben Keiffer and Java Blend. Stream me.  Thanks Ben, I had a blast

DEC, 11 2013 UPDATE

Two new radio stations are playing Mary's record this week.  Many thanks to Jim Schwall at WORT in Madison, WI and Kevin Elliott of WEFT in Champaign, IL. Suggest Mary to YOUR local radio stations!

August 31, 2013 

VOTING IS OPEN!!!  Mary is a NPR Mountain Stage Finalist! 

Please vote for her in the Midwest Region of the Mountains Stage NewSong Contest.  Please Share!!! CLICK HERE!!!  WOOP!!!  How exciting is this?!!