Chart-Topping Folk Performer Mara Levine, whose latest album Facets Of Folk hit #1 on the Folk Alliance International Folk DJ charts and had nine songs featured among the Top 20, has announced that she has signed a deal with renowned TN-based label Bell Buckle Records. According to Levine, this new partnership was the “logical next step in the evolution of my career”.
The New Jersey-based independent artist, who was hailed as “the new standard bearer for folk music” by the Midwest Record, says that her goal in joining Bell Buckle’s family of artists is twofold – to help her reach a wider audience with her music, while also exploring other genres and diversifying her style.
“After working independently for many years, I’m so excited for this opportunity”, said Levine. “Bell Buckle Records is the perfect team to assist me with getting my music out to a much broader audience. I am deeply rooted in folk music, however the past few years I’ve been studying and doing some performing and recording in the bluegrass genre. I love that Bell Buckle embraces multiple genres and, under their mentorship and support, I can see myself growing musically and working on projects that cross over between folk and bluegrass.”
Bell Buckle Records, which is also home to such esteemed artists as Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, Crandall Creek, singer-songwriter Daniel Crabtree and many more, is owned by veteran roots recording artist Valerie Smith. Located in the historic town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, the label provides full marketing, video production, photography, promotion and social media support to its clients, as well as digital music servicing and artist development. Smith is known in the industry as a creative entity who thinks outside the box and recognizes that no two artists are the same.
“I’m excited to be adding such an established folk/grassicana artist to our roster at Bell Buckle Records”, said Smith. “I believe that Mara will add depth to our talent base and catalog offering for our customers and radio DJs. Mara is definitely someone that I have been looking forward to working with. Her voice is unique, her recordings are beautiful and her talent as a musician is undeniable. I look forward to seeing what she has coming next and I am excited that it will be with Bell Buckle Records.”
Levine celebrated her signing news with a special encore presentation of her CD release concert, which was hosted by The Philadelphia Folksong Society Digital Concert Venue on Facebook, Sunday, June 7. Broadcast virtually in lieu of a follow-up live performance due to Covid-19, Levine’s CD release concert co-bill with the acclaimed Long Island Trio Gathering Time was taped at PFS last year.
Called “one of the best singers of her generation” by Christine Lavin, Levine received high praise for this record release concert thanks to their powerful performances, which included her most popular songs with themes of social justice “By My Silence” by Ellen Bukstel and Nick Annis, “Daughters and Sons” by Tommy Sands and “You Reap What You Sow” by Susan Shann (which all debuted at #1).
“I am extremely grateful for the support of the Philadelphia Folksong Society, who have been working nonstop to help artists convert their cancelled live concerts to digital performances during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Levine.
QUOTES & COMMENTS ABOUT MARA LEVINE
“On her third album, Levine marks her territory as the new standard bearer for folk music with this classically framed set that finds her interpreting worthy modern classics, protest music and some of the sweetest vocalizing you’ll find this side of the golden sounds of the ‘60s. A flat out winner throughout, this isn’t about lo-fi, nostalgia or what ever—It’s a delightful slice of the here and now hitting the nail right on the head. Well done.” – CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher, MIDWEST RECORD
“Mara Levine is a gifted singer whose expressive and versatile voice is suited to any style of music she darn well pleases to focus on including bluegrass, country or folk.” – Dede Wyland, SKYLINE
“A thank you to Mara Levine for making us all remember the poetry of lyricism. Some people, like the one described in Leonard Cohen’s classic song, are born with a Golden Voice. Mara Levine is one of those gifted few who fit that definition. Hearing her sing makes you stop whatever you are doing and LISTEN! Known for her warmth, sincerity and impeccable natural musicality, she makes us all listen more intently, and celebrate the beauty that she brings to every song she sings and inspire us to do better ourselves, in whatever field we work in. Try to go to hear her live or listen to anything she has done or does. Thank you, Mara, for what you have done and continue to do.” – David Amram, Beacon, NY
“This collection of 13 “fine and contemporary ” folk songs from the likes of Paul Simon, Tommy Sands, Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Staines and Si Kahn is delivered most admirably. Ms. Levine has a wonderful voice which she uses with heart and aplomb, delivering excellent renditions of her extremely well-chosen songs, some well known, some not so much. Her version of Christine Lavin’s “The Moment Slipped Away” is as fine a song as I have ever heard and have now experienced it thanks to Ms. Levine’s fine choices on her excellent playlist called Facets of Folk. The world needs more such interpreters of fine and contemporary folk songs.” – Les Siemieniuk, PENGUIN EGGS