Brecon Indie Reviews Mary Wood @BreconIReviews
Brecon Indie Reviewer Team
Founder: Mary Wood @BreconIReviews
Mary Wood joined Twitter as an individual in 2014 with both music and writing listed as passions. She often wrote comments on YouTube, dispensing her feedback to bands and solos.
Within a couple of months, indie bands and solo artists began contacting her to write reviews, noting her straightforward and extra-ordinary writing style. Brecon Indie Reviews has also done Indie Film reviews and promo.
She was a Madrigal Vocalist for two years and has an extensive writing background in Journalism- newspaper, press releases in her job, published articles and a lifetime of writing stories and poems, while earning a Social Work Undergrad Degree.
She is still working on her first book.
Throughout her life and during her career she was the go-to for hilarious rhymes she could do in minutes, for employee events, parties, anything.
One of the things she has enjoyed most is teaching free-writing, which she still does on a small scale. Mary promotes cutting thought boundaries and writing parameters loose in order to obtain a writer’s truth.
Brecon Indie Reviews @BreconIReviews was founded and Mary became inundated with multi-genre review requests. She wrote reviews at no charge until 2020, when she began requiring bands to donate to dog rescue charities.
In 2021 around $2,500 was donated to bestfriends.org – the top ranked pets/dogs rescue 501c3.
In 2022 the chosen charity-nodogsleftbehind.com with increased donation requirements. She has recently added ifaw who is helping dog shelters in the Ukraine and dog evacuation to safer country shelters.
Raising money to rescue dogs from horrible conditions and abuse is more important to her than the actual reviews, it is everything.
Mary was for decades actively involved, “Lighting up,” entities responsible for multiple areas of human and animal suffering and inequality in public schools; exposing, confronting, data gathering, system invading and working with effective agencies. Unfortunately, it is all, “Still a shit show.” She adopts kill-shelter dogs, a way of life carried from her youth.
The “Brecon Indies”
She respects Indie musicians who do charity work/donate using their music and many of whom she calls “Brecon Indies” do this through concerts, donating percentages of record sales and her favorite- hands on time with those in need.
Mary is still very attached to the late 1960s-1970s, when she grew up in what she calls, “The best of music and ways of life.” She immersed herself in most genres- RnB, blue eyed soul and old school funk her favorites adding a love for rock, especially classic and Southern. She also loves the blues and her favorite instrument is the saxophone. She nods up 90s R&B alongside the best of the 70s.
Having older kids around her as a kid exposed her to early musicians in all sorts of Rock and popular music. Early remembered are Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Steppenwolf, Bread and many others.
Reviews and demand
As a Reviewer it simply happened that rock reviews were the highest in demand and has been her primary review and promo genre, in every form of the genre. Mary prefers to hear real instruments and thinks collaborating helps achieve this.
She still Reviews other genres and especially loves any soul. Mary especially loves helping new bands and musicians. She only accepts YouTube or bandcamp submissions to her Twitter direct messages and songs must qualify.
Founding the team
In 2020 Mary founded the Brecon Indie Reviewer Team that consists of up to 16 musicians at a time who write reviews alongside hers.
The Team has been a tremendous success, with up to 4 reviewers at a time providing different perspectives on the music of fellow indie musicians.
Writing is encouraged to be fan friendly, natural and without cliches.
In 2021, Mary added slideshows and interviews, the latter she edits into a narrative form to stray from the doldrums of questions and answers and improve the promotion of the Indie musicians being reviewed.
The slideshows contain graphics with pictures and excerpts from reviews and interviews and the indie’s song/s play during.
This has become quite well liked and she continues to improve her tech skills.
Music as a huge part
Music has been a huge part of Mary’s life since a toddler, when she and her younger brother discovered The Monkees. Her family were music lovers and quite talented. Her Mother taught them folk songs and listened to Scottish bagpipes while her Dad was classical Beethoven and marching bands and knew a great deal about music and had the ear. At the University of Virginia he took a music appreciation course and the department wanted him to join them. It is from her Dad that Mary earned the nickname, “Music ears.” He later spent tons of time sharing John Denver albums and pointing out vocal strengths.
Her Stepfather had an incredible voice and the station wagon that was always stuffed with kids, dogs, an occasional cat and songs he taught.
This age spread of kids also listened to Albums of his, like Glenn Miller and Andy Williams.
The first two albums Mary bought were by James Taylor and Dione Warwick.
New Years Eve was a celebration and recording of the top 100, she shared with her best friend, drinking the world’s sweetest punch and listening to her brother’s shoot antique rifles that hadn’t been cleaned in a century.
In High School, music was a party rule and seemed ever present when not in school. The Wood sibling 68 camouflaged Bronco was infamous and when the top was off, old school funk alerted everyone they were coming.
A record collection
She had a collection of 500 45 records and innumerable albums by the time she headed to University in 1980 with her record player she’d had since age 12. Music continued to be a primary part of life personally and professionally.
She maintains the best concert ever was the Ohio Players in 1975 at UHall in her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. She was stage-front with her brother and friends and has the tambourine that was handed to her brother by one of the Players!
During her career in mental health, followed by corrections institutions she made music an active aspect of programs, a coping tool and just to have fun.
Each year at Christmas, she and other staff decorated the unit with the patients while listening to old school funk.
There was also a music appreciation group for patients when “Air Guitar” was wide-open and real and had nothing to do with computers, just passion for music and expression.
The best singers are in prisons
She maintains the best soul singers are in US Prisons, where, even as an Assistant Warden, she helped inmates prepare music for small events. Forever in her mind shall be occasional clusters of inmates who would sing in harmony to her when she started as a Counselor.
Her beloved Brecon Stables, from whence the name came for this review program, was always a hub for making up songs about the horses and other animals, singing freely and behaving badly, starting in 1968.
For Brecon Stables
Everything she does in review and promo and the donations to rescue dogs is in honor of Brecon Stables, where old school imagination and mischief ruled aside hard-ass work and riding amongst beloved and whacky dogs and horses. “It was a way of life that never leaves who you are.”
The level of affection between the kids and animals was unparalleled and so sincere, up to 50 years later every animal gone is a flashback away and owns a large part of her soul.
She’s always been proud of the Stables being the opposite of the normal, snobby-ass equestrian world!
In her 40s
Growing up there, into her 40s, she describes Brecon Stables as the place that most felt like home and still does. She has wonderful memories within each of the 114 acres. Nothing there was normal! It was eccentric and a haven of the bizarre, amongst beloved fluffy horses and ponies, rescued dogs and cats and the Brecon Kids who loved them.
In hindsight, it was all truly indie!
Mary goes into 2022 as a reviewer who disapproves of and doesn’t accept music streaming. She feels it is destroying the social nexus of music, ruining sound quality and is part of a downward spiral for music and musicians.
She puts the energy she has into helping Indie musicians and dog rescue organizations by requiring Indies to donate to her chosen charity of the year in exchange for services for the work she does and the team concept, not the team reviews.
Mary and Jørg’s World
Mary was privileged to Review for Jørgs World Radio in 20/21, on his blog with a much smaller Brecon Indie Reviewer Team.
She hopes to re-establish this. There is a section on his blog for Brecon Indie Reviews that has some new reviews and great older ones.
For now, she refers Indies each week to Jorg Klein, radio host extraordinaire for play and makes promotional slideshows. Jorg Klein, known as Jørg from Germany is someone she is both fond of and greatly respects for unparalleled knowledge in music, as a sensational musician and, “One of the coolest dudes ever!”
New and fresh ideas
Mary moves forward with ideas boiling, including her effort to get Indies to connect directly with fans more via creative methods.
She shall, with her review team, continue to go forth, driving off road and challenging the status quo while providing standout reviews and promotion of Indie music. Brecon Indie Reviews never has nor shall claim upscale, high tech promo; instead, great fan friendly reviews and DIY promo with heart.
The home of the Brecon Indie Reviews
Brecon Indie Reviews and Brecon Indie Reviewer Team have generously been allowed a site on The Delerium Trees website, thanks to Drew Jarvie, lead reviewer, copy editor who handles all site entries.