Acolytes of the Machine & Other Gaming Stories

by Mary Crowell

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Wing
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Wing Listening to the title track always gives me the shivers. Favorite track: Acolytes of the Machine.
Muttering Mutt
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Muttering Mutt Groovy and geeky, fun piano style and great variety. Play me a story. Favorite track: Acolytes of the Machine.
Cortlyn Fischer
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Cortlyn Fischer Massacre Anne just emanates a haunting energy played along to beautiful piano, and it is something that just echoes the energy of more than a few of my bards in D&D.
That and the jazzy feeling brought about by said piano and Crowell's voice is near perfection. Favorite track: Massacre Anne.
Dustin Simeone
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Dustin Simeone This entire album is great fodder for brainstorming RPG sessions. The jazziness of all of them will keep them on repeat in your head for days, and I Put My Low Stat is now the obligatory song for building characters Favorite track: City of Doors.
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1.
Massacre Anne © 2011 by Mary Crowell We are riding ‘cross the desert On a mammoth post-apocalyptic For the path is most Vile, And the visions kind of cryptic. Sun isn’t set, But it’s getting quite ecliptic We’re stalking an angel in style. We are fleeing ‘cross the desert With a wicked lord of necromancy Oh, his art is most vile Making zombies for his fancy Opened a door Now his future’s kind of chancy Darkness is spreading for miles. CHORUS I feel a cloud over me. Are those zombies I see? And that priest, is he losing his soul? Well, I’m Massacre Anne, and I do what I can To bring the Master back living and whole. Living whirlwind in the desert The familiar to beloved master Saw an Angel most vile Slay the wizards, cause disaster. Death from the air Elemental and much faster Revenge keeps him here for awhile. BRIDGE The Master’s been taken, and now I’m alone His rings on my fingers, his Mark in my bones. CHORUS There’s a secret in the desert He’s a priest of guile and elocution But deception most vile Caused his wrongful prosecution. Events have conspired To delay his execution; He’s only beginning his trials. Keep a paper in the desert It’s a list of those who needed killing. But that angel most vile Made my missions less fulfilling, Stolen my thrills. For my Master I’m willing To stalk this dark angel with style. BRIDGE Mammoth and mutants and we curs-ed four Villains kill villains to settle the score CHORUS (Extra Chorus) And there’s no more forgiving ‘tween the deadly and the living And my sword is a Will of his own. Well, I’m Massacre Anne, and I do what I can To bring the Master back flesh, soul, and bone, To bring the Master back living and whole, To bring the Master back flesh, bone, and, soul.
2.
Devil of Stories: The Dance of Moxie and Mathias I © 2007 by Mary Crowell I’m going dancing with the Devil of Stories. I’ve got a date with my destiny. It may be tragic, but it never seems boring, Brings out the worst and the best in me. This is a story for the darkest ambitions. It is a tale of vanity. Two foolish lovers, and some hasty decisions, A little sex, and insanity. CHORUS Take a look inside his journal; Ballads, odes, and epigrams Got me hooked. I’m his eternal – An elegy and a slaughtered lamb. He’s been a schemin’; he’s a demon of reason. He’s misery, and I’m his biggest fan. I keep on singing to the tunes that seem pleasin’, ‘Looks like I’ll dance though, at his command. I’ve read the writing, and resisting is futile. I’m going down in history. We’ve hit the deadline, and the editing’s brutal. Well, win or lose, it’s his victory. CHORUS I’m only crying ‘cause the story is ending. The world I’ve known will be torn apart. He’s smiling somewhere as realities bending. The devil’s safe from a broken heart. Repeat Verse I
3.
City of Doors © 2007 by Mary Crowell Come in. Come in! Come into the City of Doors, of Doors. Stick around the city; you have time to explore. You can’t leave by the way you came in. Come in. Come in! Come into the City of Doors, of Doors. Saints rubbin’ shoulders with the lowest of whores. They can’t leave by the way they came in. If you crack a door open who knows where you’ll be? With your best friend or your worst enemy? Sooner or later you may find your Connect. It’s in the place that you least expect, so Come in. Come in! Come into the City of Doors, of Doors. Dark angels winkin’ while the beggars implore. They can’t leave by the way they came in. [Instrumental] There’s a little old man a-keeps watch with a drum, Plays it all day, and he plays with his thumb. ‘Searching; he’s looking for the door to go home. Now it’s the place he’s content to roam. So, Come in. Come in! Come into the City of Doors, of Doors. You’ve traveled farther than you’ve ever before. You can’t leave by the way you came in. [Instrumental] When the little old man a’ Wandered down here, ‘Found our fine bar, and he Ordered a beer. Sang us a song and said his Name was Bernard. ‘Smiled as he tipped; then he Gave his card. So, Come in. Come in! Come into the City of Doors, of Doors. You listen close! He’s a master of lore. He can’t leave by the way he came in. [First verse Reprise]
4.
A Balleto for Rupus © 2011 by Mary Crowell Rupus Fugue is misty mad, Fa la la la la la la la! Fed by pity, ragged clad. Fa la la la la la la la! The vapors sing their songs to him, Fa la la la la la la la! The song discordant, always grim. Fa la la la la la la la! Mists of pink will raise the dead; Fa la la la la la la la! All that hungers must be fed. Fa la la la la la la la! Monks and crows shall hear the call. Fa la la la la la la la! Red will swirl to change them all; Fa la la la la la la la! CHORUS Songs of memory and time, Poly-rhythms, slanting rhyme, Deep within the swirling pale, They ride upon the fiercest gale. Rupus Fugue can hear them croon, Fa la la la la la la la! Dances to its timely tune. Fa la la la la la la la! Songs are sung of presents past. Fa la la la la la la la! Futures now will never last. Fa la la la la la la la! Summon birds with mists of green; Fa la la la la la la la! Raven font will wash them clean. Fa la la la la la la la! Souls will fly on midnight wings Fa la la la la la la la! But soon forget what Rupus sings. Fa la la la la la la la! CHORUS [Instrumental] Rupus Fugue is misty mad, Fa la la la la la la la! Fed by pity, ragged clad. Fa la la la la la la la! The vapors sing their songs to him, Fa la la la la la la la! The song discordant, always grim. Fa la la la la la la la! Rupus Fugue is misty mad, Fa la la la la la la la!
5.
I Put My Low Stat © 2007 by Mary Crowell I put my low stat in charisma. ‘Don’t have no sex appeal. I want to play the fighter, So I can maim and kill. ‘Live like a monk, ‘Cause I’m no hunk. Baby, what’s the deal? I put my low stat in charisma. I put my low stat in my wisdom. I think I’ll play the thief. Got a lot of skill points; They bring me no relief. I failed my save -- Charm Person’s slave. Now I’ve come to grief. I put my low stat in my wisdom. I put my low stat in -- can’t spell it. But, I think it means you’re smart. I rolled up a barbarian, And he’s a work of art. Don’t call him ‘clown.’ He’ll hold you down, And on your head he’ll fart. I put my low stat in -- can’t spell it. I put my low stat in dexterity. I’ll play an armored priest. When we all roll initiative I always have the least. ‘Can’t save at all Against fireball. Now I am deceased. I put my low stat in dexterity. I put my low stat in my strength score, And I can’t hit a thing. I thought I might just be okay If I had magic bling. No vorpal sword, And god, I’m bored! I miss on every swing! I put my low stat in my strength score. [Syncopated vamp to prepare] I put my low stat in constitution. Now I’m always sad. I usually go unconscious, Which makes the cleric mad. My blood won’t clot; ‘Got mummy rot; ‘ Eyesight’s really bad. I put my low stat in constitution. I don’t know where I’ll put my low stat. It’s only seventeen. I wonder why the other guys Have started turning green. You think they’d be So glad for me. Instead they’re really mean! I don’t know where I’ll put my low stat. I don’t know where I’ll put my low stat. ‘Think all the rolls were shit. My dungeon master thinks it’s fun To irk me just a bit. “No class will work,” I told the jerk. “Well, you could always quit!” I don’t know where I’ll put my low stat. [Spoken] I know where YOU can stick that low stat!
6.
Just Dessert: The Dance of Moxie and Mathias II © 2007 by Mary Crowell I remember As I butter my bread You so easily led me Out of my head with the Words that you said. Oh, Darlin’, I’m gonna kill you! I nibble on cheese and Think of your treacheries. You are the reason That our destinies Are dark. Yes, Dear. You’re gonna die. CHORUS Oh, I’m thinking as I sip my wine, You’re debonair, Your looks’, sublime. But, Darlin’, oh Darlin’, You’re gonna die. I remember, As I spoon up my soup, Jumping through hoops, Mind led in loops. Oh, I was your dupe. Darlin’, I’m gonna kill you! As I sample the greens, I’m choosing my means, Pondering scenes Played out with a fiend I know. Yes, Sweet. You’re gonna die. CHORUS [Instrumental] I’ll remember That we dined on filet, Revenge our entrée Shared on this day that I made you pay. Oh, Darlin’, I’m gonna kill you! And I’ll remember Sharing a quip As our brandies we sipped. Then I curled my lip E’er your heart out I ripped. Oh, Darlin’! You’re gonna die! LAST CHORUS Oh, I’m thinking as I smile at you The lies you tell, the things you do. You know that part of just dessert Is making sure you’re gonna hurt. Oh, Darlin’, oh Darlin’, I’m gonna kill you. Oh, Darlin’, my sweet Darlin’, You’re gonna die. You’re gonna die. You’re gonna die. [Spoken: Hey! What’s in this sauce?]
7.
Acolytes of the Machine © 2006 by Mary Crowell Gauging the pluck point. There’s no going back. ‘Hearing the chiff as I start my attack. Fingers don’t shake as you dance on the keys. Those working bellows are counting on me. Pipes loom above me in glorious ranks. (The) wind chest is central -- the reeds guard my flanks. Stops are before me -- which ones should I choose? Should I choose wrongly the City will lose! CHORUS World’s crumble ‘round me. I always knew Music’s the only Thing that is true, that’s true. It’s true! The Wolf comes to threaten our Barony here Seeking to rule us with hatred and fear. (By) burning our city he plans to repay Slights cast upon him in song and in play. The Storm looms above us. It’s promising doom -- Death to the small folk and those who presume (To) sing of the Hunter in ways that demean. Our only hope is this Brilliant Machine! CHORUS The Hunter has risen -- the Wolf’s at the door. Storms are upon us too loud to ignore. They came and got me to play the Machine. I’ll play the Organ. The Blonde Choir will sing! [Blonde Choir Descant] Feet march the Pedal-board, fingers the Swell. Music is heaven, but out there it’s Hell! Flue pipes are singing in tones bright and clean. Praise for the Acolytes of the Machine! Pipes glow too lucent -- the song’s in my soul. The warmth in my finger’s so hard to control. (The) Cadence is Perfect -- the moment is nigh. (A) great beam of light lances through the dark sky. CHORUS Circuitry’s burning -- the manual’s on fire. Singers are silent -- no notes from the Choir. No longer flesh, I’m a spirit serene Sacrificed gladly to this Fine Machine! Praise for the Acolytes of the Machine! Praise for the Acolytes of the Machine! Praise for the Acolytes of the Machine!
8.
Opportunity Tango © 2000 by Mary Crowell Revised by Mary Crowell 2007 There's a new edition called D&D 3E That has a concept confusing me. Sometimes when combatants let their shields and guards down They suffer attacks of opportunity. They suffer attacks of opportun-i-ty. You threaten a space of about five feet. Usually, that's any direction. Weapons with reach are such a fine treat. Many hold their spear with affection. Cast a spell, and you risk your neck Unless you make your concentration check. Drink a potion, or read a scroll, And shoot far away from a grassy knoll. That new edition called D&D 3E Has another concept that mystifies me. Moving through spaces threatened by your enemies Provokes attacks of opportunity, Provokes attacks of opportun-i-ty. To move, attack, and escape unhacked Three feats you'd better consider: Dodge, mobility, spring attack, Or Brother! You're gonna be bitter! Another thing if you move and kill, Consider taking the tumble skill. When you're fleeing it saves you woe If you lack the HP to go toe to toe. That new edition called D&D 3E Has other rules perplexing me Sometimes when combatants wanna try to be cute These feats let them have the opportunity To avoid attacks of opportun-i-ty. Disarm the swordsman, or punch like Bruce, Sunder, or bull rush or trip 'em! Grapple, or pin, or maybe seduce. It's all in the way that you grip 'em. In that new edition of D&D 3E An AOO per round seems fair to me. I always travel with my own friends Who get their own opportunities To make attacks of opportun-i-ty. Get more advantage from AOO's. Take a feat called combat reflexes. Only one blow on each of your foes How many? 'Depends what your dex is. Seems complicated, but we're almost done. You may walk away, but you never want to run. Only pick things up when you're safe from attack. You can draw your weapon, but don't put it back. That new edition called D&D 3E Revised itself to bewilder me. Three point five keeps the AOO's alive So you get your golden opportunity To make attacks of opportun-i-ty.
9.
Pretty Little Ladies © 2011 by Mary Crowell Pretty little Ladies from down below Lost in the mists where the mem’ries go Make a hard peace with the ravens and crows. Hope the seers and the seekers don’t find you. Might have done right or you might have done wrong, Just some old lyrics to forgotten songs. The work here’s hard, and the days are long, But the years and the seasons won’t bind you. Serpents three with stolen things Ride another power. He has your book, and he wears your ring, And he waits there in his tower. The city is a crater where the wizards died. The voices in your head brought you here to hide, Found a mountain home where the ravens bide, Didn’t know that the journey would blind you. The clerics and the monks tend the olive trees, But they have no flowers, and they got no bees. They live long here, and there’s no disease, But you can’t put your hate behind you. Serpents three must pay the price For stealing magus power. Kill them once, and kill them twice, Then three times in their tower. (She’s) mourning for her lover who burned and bled, (He) died from the spell meant for her instead. She won’t remember that she wants you dead As your magic and the visions remind you. The serpents are sinners, but you’ve never been nice. ‘Learned your lore with a heart of ice. Most live once, but you get to go twice Change the pattern and the goal that designed you. Serpents three took you to ride Stole away your power Killed the groom, and now the bride Will find them in their tower. Pretty little Ladies from down below Lost in the mists where the mem’ries go Make a hard peace with the ravens and crows. Hope the seers and the seekers don’t find you.
10.
Oh Milo 04:11
Oh, Milo © 2002 by Mary Crowell Oh Ohh, Milo! You've had a bad bad evening, I know. They roughed you up and then they brought you to me. There now! You tremble. I'm so gentle you see. And Oh Ohh, Milo, I'm your friend, don't you know? Oh Ohh, Milo! I wanna know know know what you know! Oh, yes I know information ain't free, But, I can help you. Make it easy for me. And Oh Ohh, Milo, I'm your friend, yes you know. VERSE I know you saw them drag him away, When my friends asked you, you wouldn't say Where they were taking the priest that day. But you'll tell When I say The word. Oh Ohh, Milo! You've been a bad bad boy, you know! You think you're safe out there on the street, But down here, honey, you're just fresh meat. And Oh Ohh, Milo, We're good friends, don't you know. It's really kind of you to agree. You're such a good man, now tell me your fee. Oh, yes I'll pay you. I'm honest you see. Now I think, I'll say The word. CHORUS: Oh Ohh, Milo! It is not safe out there, don't you know. Here have a sip of this drink from my vial. Why don't you go off to sleep for a while. And Oh Ohh, Milo, I'm your friend don't you know. Why don't you go off to sleep for a while. Why don't you go off to sleep for a while. Why don't you go off to sleep for a while. And Oh Ohh, Milo, He's my friend. Yes, you know.
11.
Pas de Deux © 2007 by Mary Crowell Devil or Angel, she flies on dark wings, Listens to ravens, and kisses her king, the Devil of Stories. She’s married him now, Starting her new life with flourish and bow. Don’t worry, ‘Just Stories. It’s not your turn. Don’t fear them. Just hear how Someone else burns. Cruelty her consort, and she is his Queen. Writing together, they’re felt but not seen. Dancing and music, and all of their Art, Come now together and then tear apart. Don’t worry, ‘Just Stories. Not like it seems. Don’t fear them. Just merely Part of your dreams. She’s a bit whimsical, loves a romance. She sponsors comebacks, and gives one more chance. His is the tension, the plotting, the strife. He Smiles as he writes like the edge of a knife. Don’t worry, ‘Just Stories. Not like it’s real. Don’t fear them. Just hear how Someone else feels. After we’ve faced what we hate and we fear, the Curtain falls slowly. The house lights appear. Now that it’s over, Luv, how do you feel? Isn’t it nice to know none of it’s real Don’t worry, ‘Just Stories. Not really true. Don’t fear what you know can’t Happen to you.
12.
Shifty Screavy © 2007 by Mary Crowell and Simon Crowell Shifty Screavy was a rat, And a shifty little rat was he. Fast as you could kick a can He would change into a man; Blink an eye and back a rodent be. Shifty Screavy liked to walk In the shadows with his friends at night. And he had a walking stick That could see through every trick, Knock in doors, and also win a fight. Shifty Screavy wandered far, Found the way to plumb the Dragon’s Well. He recovered treasures there Lost within the dragon’s lair. Came back home with lot’s of stuff to sell. CHORUS Shifty’s the king of the wererats. ‘Has a slight case of ly-can-thro-py. All of his brothers, oh they love a fight! Nip and Tuck, Concealer, and he. Nip and Tuck were ratty twins – The pranksters of the wererat crew. They excelled at swapping lies, Were the Masters of Diguise, And could cook a batch of zombie stew. (ew!) Concealer hid the Pack away, ‘Had a cape that let them disappear. With the tiniest of sniffs He could find all traps and glyphs That were hidden in the Dragon’s lair. CHORUS The Zombie Lord (he) smelled a rat, And a shifty little rat he smelled. He was full of firm belief That our sneaky little thief Could tell him where the Dragon dwelled. The Zombie Lord (he) laid in wait In the shadows by Ol’ Shifty’s lair. Well, it really hurt his pride That he had to wait outside. He couldn’t cross the warding there. CHORUS [Well, the Zombie Lord, he had some words to say. And he said] “Aaaaaarrrrgggghh! Errrrrrrrmmm. Rrrraaarrrrr! GGGRrrrrrrrrr! WreeeeeeAAAARRGH!” [Well, that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to you or me. And it didn’t make much sense to Screavy. Luckily the stick could translate.] “Shifty Screavy, Tell me where All your brothers go to get that gear. There’s no need to be a pain -- I just want to pick your brain.” Said the rat, “And also eat it, I fear.” “Shifty Screavy, tell me now. Stop your jokes; you’re having no more fun. Or you’ll never blow a breath For my wand will be your death. Said the Rat, “Oh, you mean this one?” CHORUS Shifty Screavy raised the wand And prepared to blast the King Undead. But before the blast be planned Could commence, it left his hand. And it floated there beside his head. Concealer murmured, “Use your brain” “Or better yet, Why don’t we use our swords?” As really anyone can see This old wand – it is the key. ‘Turns the living into Zombie Hordes. [Remember Shifty’s magic stick? It could see through any trick—even Concealer’s!] Shifty smiled ‘cause he could see All around him with the magic stick. Nip and Tuck were there beside (him) With Concealer as their guide. Said the rats, “We’ve got some butt to kick!” CHORUS The rats and zombies fought all night, And the zombies never seemed to tire. “I’m afraid we’re getting beat,” “Lads, I think it’s time to cheat.” And the wererats lit the wand on fire. The Zombie Lord he screamed aloud “ARRRRGH” was all he could respond. “No translation,” said the stick. “’Cause he’s angry at your trick,” “For his soul is there inside that wand.” All the zombies fell down dead -- Started turning into zombie sludge. Nip and Tuck began a stew, Or maybe zombie cordon bleu How it tasted you can be the judge. CHORUS X2
13.
'M' is for Magic Missile (A Wizard's 'A,B,C's') © 2009 by Mary Crowell INTRODUCTION Ask any little wizard! (They'll tell you for a fee.) You have to learn your magic - Know your spells from 'A' to 'Z.' There are spells that cause destruction, Spells that make them dance, Spells that make them blind or deaf Or better at romance. CHORUS 'M' is for Magic Missile You'll cast it 'til they put you in your grave. It hurts them just a bit, But you never roll to hit, And your victims do not ever get a save. 'A' is Antimagic Field and 'B' for Bigby's Hands 'C' will charm a person, so You'll be in high demand. 'D' for domination or it's Death just point a finger. 'E' is enervation Hope that level loss will linger, But - CHORUS 'F' for Feather Fall and Feeblemind, False Life, False Vision. Fireball makes me happy too - A difficult decision. 'G's” got Gate and Glitterdust. 'H' is Haste and Hold. Heroism makes my brawny Meatshields big and bold. BREAK: 'I' for Invisibility Cast on the rogue that you can't see! CHORUS 'J' for jump is jumping; 'K' for Keen Edge really keen; 'L' for Legend Lore. Let's see What secrets can we glean? 'M' is for my favorite spells Mage Armor, Magic Jar 'N's for Nondetection so they Won't know where you are. But don't forget The best one yet CHORUS Otto's irresistible dance Never even gives them a chance To Save Phantasmal Killer puts them in the grave. Wizard spells never start with 'Q.' But, Quicken is an awesome feat for you. [Spoken] 'Cause you can Quicken CHORUS 'R' will give you Rary's 'S' will give you Slow 'T' will give your Teleport Where Do you want to go? U spells all begin with 'un' Vampiric Touch is 'V' W's Wish and Wall of Fire And then we go to 'Z.' So tell me WHY are there no spells that start with 'Y?' Or 'X?' Still . . . CHORUS X2 [Spoken: Oh you--you cast shield? Ok. Shield. I'll cast greater dispel magic on your shield. No. dispel magic 'comma' greater, then I'll quicken …] A Magic Missile Yeah yeah yeah Magic Missile Uh huh. Magic Missile Yeah yeah yeah Magic Missile Uh huh. Magic Missile Yeah yeah yeah Magic Missile. Magic Missile.
14.
Post Apocalyptic Blues © 2011 by Mary Crowell I’m just a girl uncomplicated Got a flexible mind. My destiny and what is fated I prefer undefined. But ride with priests and they tell you it is The end of the world (Got the) Post-apocalyptic-I-ain’t-got-no-coffee-world-is-full-of-zombies blues A mocha latte leaves me sated If you don’t over-grind. I’m much more fun when caffeinated Killing ghouls to unwind But doleful priests like to tell you it is The end of the world (Got the) Post-apocalyptic-I-ain’t-got-no-coffee-world-is-full-of-zombies blues Bored girl adventurer Please, unfasten your assassin Just let me loose upon the land; I push a strand back. (winsomely.) Some call my tastes sophisticated, Chase my java with wine I’ll Explore a temple, desecrate it. Then do the same to a shrine. But silly priests want to tell you it is The end of the world (Got the) Post-apocalyptic-I-ain’t-got-no-coffee-world-is-full-of-zombies blues Bored girl adventurer Gloom and doomin’ in the tomb I’m gonna raid for idols gold. Last year I sold an artifact. (Not yours.) Those ancient runes I just translated? I think they bring and unbind Abhorrent demons long awaited. To send them back is unkind. But frightened priests want to tell you it is The end of the world (Got the) Post-apocalyptic-I-ain’t-got-no-coffee-world-is-full-of-zombies blues. Post-apocalyptic-Dammit-where’s my-coffee?-world-is-full-of-zombies blues. Post-apocalyptic-Shoulda-brought-me-coffee!-world-is-full-of-zombies blues.

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Mary Crowell's second solo album, Acolytes of the Machine & Other Gaming Stories, is an unabashed love letter to the hobby of playing Dungeons & Dragons created by a singer/songwriter and folk/jazz piano composer who plays a Bard in Real Life.

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released October 1, 2012

Produced and engineered by Jeff Bohnhoff at Mystic Fig Studios
Arrangements by Mary Crowell and Jeff Bohnhoff
Vocal arrangement on M is for Magic Missile by Jeff Bohnhoff, Michelle "Vixy" Dockrey and Maya Bohnhoff
Album art by Starr Weems
Album layout design by Misty Granade

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Mary Crowell Athens, Alabama

Mary Crowell is a singer/songwriter and piano teacher who loves mythology and playing Dungeons & Dragons.
Her Patreon is here: www.patreon.com/DrMaryCCrowell
She may be seen at science fiction and filk conventions performing and accompanying concerts on piano and occasionally clarinet.
Scattering Seeds on the Pomegranate Tour is her third solo album and is a mythic musical journey!
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