Written by Eddie Ferranti

ImageA blast from our past flew into the intimate cool confines of Almost Austin House Concerts in the form of Mary Cutrufello. It had been since 2008 that she played Houston at McGonigels Mucky Duck. She made a special airplane trip from Minnesota for the gig and special it was indeed. It has been since 2001 that she hauled off to Minnesota and then had a bad bout with vocal nodules in the mid-2000’s that derailed a very strong career.

MC was always different in a good way and she showed this night that she’s still got that power presence on stage ! Girl was a major force in H-Town at the likes of Rudyards and Satellite Lounge back in the day and even opened for John Mellencamp at the Woodlands.  Hell, she’s played the Tonight Show with Danny Federici on keys from Springsteen fame and toured opening for the Allman Brothers. Stout indeed. 

Nowadays she drives FedEx truck by day and plays enough to keep that rock at heart passion alive. Her strong and country-ish delivery does not fit with the rasta grunge look she portrays, but that is part of the allure of Cutrufello. Using a borrowed shiny red Gibson Hummingbird guitar she busted out “Loving You Beats All I’ve Ever Seen” and the knee dip jam she’s known for was on display.

She is brandishing a new record, “Faithless World”, and from the cuts she played it sounded like a winner. “Lonesome in the Wine” harked me back to remembering how much I dug her blitzing audiences with electric guitar wizardry in the 90’s! 

Her banter was very cool reflecting on the two climates where she made her home over the last 20 years or so like saying Minnesota’s winters are the flip side of Texas summers!  

ImageBarkin’ out “here’s a little old school for y’all” she tore up “Black Maria”, then a song about her songwriter sister’s wedding “Wish You Fall in Love to Stop the Tears”, new one “Everybody Knows Where the Summer Goes”, “Worthy Girl” about hangin’ in Texas in 1991 and stunner “By the Time You Get to Dallas I’ll Be Gone” !  Whew baby.  

Tossed in another wedding song “Rescue You” showin’ off some of that hippie rock side of hers ta boot.  Woman has a Middle America hard worker persona that permeates her delivery and songs which also basically define her life.  She’s originally from Connecticut and being Yale educated she’s a smart cookie,too.

After an opening hour set she burned into “Out of the Fire”, growled Joplinesque a newbie “Fools and Lovers” and “Can’t Handle Women” .  The night would not of been complete without her “rock star” hit, Sunny Day” which was a fitting close to the evening.  

Cutrufello is anything but a cynical person.  She summed it up in her own words with : “I’m grateful anytime I open my mouth to sing now and can still do it.” 

Girl spilled the beans that she plans on coming back to Texas with a full band in April.  We’ll be there…Hats off to Kenny Pipes for digging deep and bringing acts like this to his adobe.  If you have not tried his “experience” yet- good food is always a slam dunk- try it! Find and reach him at : kpipesjr@aol.com. LIVE music needs your support!