Mary Ramsey with her viola in 2005.
|Birth name||Mary Jeanne Ramsey|
December 24, 1963 |
|Origin||Buffalo, New York, United States|
|Genres||Folk, folk rock, alternative rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, violin, viola, cello|
|Labels||Rykodisc, Geffen, Bar/None|
|Associated acts||John & Mary, 10,000 Maniacs|
Mary Ramsey (born 24 December 1963), a resident of Buffalo, New York, is a member of folk rock duo John & Mary and lead singer and violinist for the American alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. Ramsey has also worked with other well-known artists such as Jackson Browne, Goo Goo Dolls, Billy Bragg, Warren Zevon, Alex Chilton and Ani DiFranco. She has been called "the most accomplished and prolific rock violinist in the business."
Ramsey is a classically trained violinist who has been playing the violin since age five. She has worked with the Erie Philharmonic and was a founder of the Lexington String Trio. She has also performed with the Fresno Philharmonic, the Santa Cruz Symphony and the Monterey Symphony in California and is currently a member of the Western New York Chamber Orchestra.
With John Lombardo, former member of 10,000 Maniacs, Ramsey formed the folk rock duo John & Mary in 1989. The pair made two recordings under the name John & Mary, Victory Gardens in 1991 and The Weedkiller's Daughter in 1993. Both albums were released on Rykodisc and are out of print. Mary Ramsey played violin and viola for 10,000 Maniacs and sang backing vocals on the 1993 album MTV Unplugged.
Ramsey returned to the Maniacs as lead singer and songwriter in 1995 after Natalie Merchant's departure, along with Lombardo. The duo released two albums with the Maniacs, 1997's Love Among the Ruins, which contained a cover of the Roxy Music song "More Than This" that became a top 40 hit on the U.S. charts, and The Earth Pressed Flat in 1999. While with 10,000 Maniacs, Ramsey toured throughout the U.S. and in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Panama, England, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. The band also played USO shows in Kuwait and Bahrain. One of the highlights of her career was a performance at the inaugural ball for Bill Clinton's second term as president. In 2002, after leaving the Maniacs following the death of guitarist Rob Buck, John & Mary released The Pinwheel Galaxy (2003). With their current band, the Valkyries, they released Peace Bridge (2007).
Ramsey was rehired by 10,000 Maniacs as a viola player and backing vocalist for the 2006 shows with Oskar Saville and returned to the lead vocalist spot after the departure of Saville in 2007. She continued as lead vocalist through 2011 during which she performed on a 30-city 30th anniversary tour as well as a new EP Triangles (2011)  and their albums Music from the Motion Picture (2013), Twice Told Tales (2015) and Playing Favorites (2016).
Ramsey has performed with a group of friends under the name Mary Ramsey and the Healers. Other members include Sandra Williams Gordon on percussion, Craig Gordon on bass and acoustic guitars, Dr. Marc Rosen on electric guitar, and Ben Clarke on lead guitar and bass. In another project, she was joined by fellow Buffalonians Theresa Quinn, Susan Rozler, and Alison Pipitone in a group called Girls Gone Mild. Ramsey has also worked as a performer and music director for the Irish Classical Theater in Buffalo, New York. She teaches private lessons in violin, viola, voice and piano.
With John & Mary
With 10,000 Maniacs
- Love Among the Ruins (1997)
- The Earth Pressed Flat (1999)
- Triangles (EP) (2011)
- Music from the Motion Picture (2013)
- Twice Told Tales (2015)
- For Crying Out Loud (EP) (2016)
- Playing Favorites (2016)
With John & Mary & the Valkyries
- Peace Bridge (2007)
- Don't Try This at Home (1991) – with Billy Bragg (violin, viola)
- Our Time in Eden (1992) – with 10,000 Maniacs (violin, viola)
- Imperfectly (1992) – with Ani Difranco (viola)
- Candy Everybody Wants (EP) (1992) - with 10,000 Maniacs (violin, viola)
- MTV Unplugged (1993) – with 10,000 Maniacs (viola, background vocals)
- Puddle Dive (1993) – with Ani Difranco (violin)
- Superstar Car Wash (1993) – with Goo Goo Dolls
- Between Us (1998) – with Jules Shear (vocals, viola, fiddle)
- Coming of Age (2002) – with Jude Johnstone (viola)
- Songs for the Uninvited (2002) – with Zoomer (electric violin, viola)
- Heads or Tales (2003) - with Jamie Notarthomas (violin)
- Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings (2004) - with 10,000 Maniacs (background vocals, violin, viola)
- On a Good Day (2005) – with Jude Johnstone (viola)
- Take My Life (2005) - with Scott Underwood (viola)
- Live Twenty-Five (2006) – with 10,000 Maniacs (electric violin)
- Billy Bragg, Vol. 2 (2006) - with Billy Bragg (violin)
- Innocent Bystanders (2007) – with Innocent Bystanders (strings)
- Extended Versions (2009) – with 10,000 Maniacs (lead vocals, viola)
- Machines of Love and War (2009) - with The Dreaming (violin, viola)
- Me and Miss Grimes (2009) - with Alison Pipitone Band (violin)
- Quiet Girl (2011) – with Jude Johnstone (viola)
- Big Wide World (2013) - with Alison Pipitone Band (violin)