Many bands in Nashville spend their time studiously perfecting their craft, striving to be taken seriously in the business. The mary nails are not that band.

“We have so many friends in the city who are actual serious musicians and they tell us, ‘You are really getting away with murder here,” laughs Marc Stowe, founder of the mary nails.

In 2005, Stowe and his friend Scott Sosna were walking their dogs and coming up with songs about their experiences in the dog park. The subject matter of these early mary nails tunes ranged from picking up after your dog to the futility of attempting to hide a bodacious rear end in camouflage jeans. The more tunes they wrote, the more Stowe wanted to find people to sing them.

“I had asked a neighbor of ours, named Latoya, if she was a singer,” Stowe says. “She said, ‘No, I got kicked out of church choir when I was young,’ and I said, ‘Great! We need you.’”

While Latoya did vocals on the very first mary nails demos, Stowe wanted “another girl that could actually sing,” so he headed to the Lipstick Lounge where he found Dawn Freeman. “She was up there killing a version of ‘Sarah Smile’ by Hall and Oates and I was just drunk enough to stand by the side of the stage,” explains Stowe. “To this day she will tell you she was looking over there going, ‘Who is this drunk white man standing next to me?’”

They recruited another friend, Scott Douglas, to sing and Stowe’s team was complete. He had his keyboard, his drum machine, his singers, and his friend Kat Martin (“Our token heterosexual,” says Stowe.) who played his demos for Mike Grimes, owner of The Basement. Grimes was impressed and gave the mary nails a show at The Basement’s New Faces Night.

Recalls Stowe, “It just grew from there. We started booking dates and people wanted us to come play their clubs, I think because we sold a lot of alcohol.”

In 2010, the mary nails went on hiatus due Stowe getting sick, much to the disappointment of many fans. Perhaps their biggest fan is Chuck Beard, owner of all-local bookstore East Side Story.

“The lyrics could make you laugh, cry, and dance all at the same time,” says Beard. “It’s the truth and it’s fun; everyone smiles at a mary nails show.”

Last year, Beard started East Side Storytellin’, a free event for local authors to do readings and for musicians to play for an appreciative listening audience. “It’s good people and a good time and a unique experience,” says Beard. “Most of the time it unfolds with coincidences and connections happening that I never planned, which makes it even better.”

At East Side Storytellin’ on December 17, the mary nails will be granting Beard his Christmas wish by reuniting for a performance. “It’s a Christmas miracle,” Beard says. “Their music and personalities are otherworldly, just like the author and artist who will be featuring his book, Mark Slonicker. I thought the combination of those acts together would make for an amazing night.”

The show is at Mad Donna’s in East Nashville and it starts at 7pm sharp. Beard says to get there early to secure a seat and encourages everyone to buy merch from the author. Afterwards, there will be a meet and greet.

“The mary nails haven’t played in so long, and who knows if they’ll play after this?” says Beard.

“I love doing the mary nails, it’s ridiculous fun,” Stowe says. “Plus it’s an aerobics class for me!”

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Red Bull Unlocked Nashville

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville

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Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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