Mary Palermo, a Country & Western singer-songwriter from Bridge City, has written some songs that have topped several charts for multiple weeks.

Jennifer Clarke  – For The Record

She has always enjoyed a good story.

Mary Palermo, local singer and songwriter, said she used to “make up stories,” and she especially enjoyed “funny stories,” that she would tell to her children. There was a real evolutionary process to her development as a songwriter, and her success is due, in part, to the people she has met and collaborated with along the way.

She also is grateful to God because she really felt she “had no idea what [she] was doing.” According to Palermo, she would pray and would be lead in a direction.

In the time that Palermo has been songwriting, her songs have topped several charts for multiple weeks, including crossover charts.  Palermo has seen her songs climb the charts on Soundclick, and “I am so removed. I see myself ranked number one, and you are on the chart number one even on a cross-over, and you think, I am not doing so bad for an old grandmother’” she says. 

There are many avenues for local artists, and Palermo hopes to broaden the presence of the music industry.  “This area is so full of music history,” she notes, “song writing, musicians, singers, Southeast Texas is a big part of the industry

She suggests looking into Reverb Nation, a Facebook page for artists. You can join as a fan or artist. It is nothing but music. Music can move up at charts.

Her transition from poet to songwriter was not as easy as people might think. Palermo is also known as the Enchanted Poet, and her book of poems may be purchased from Amazon www.amazon.com/dp/1495169804/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_wy42vb06T4SFG. Her poetry page on Facebook which also contains poetry is https://www.facebook.com/maryplrm/?fref=ts. When her husband fell ill, she prayed a lot, and she felt moved to write. She was sometimes writing “two poems a day,” she says, and she had never experienced anything like that. Palermo’s initial calling as a poet pulls her to want to fill the paper with emotion. She likes to bring forth laughter and tears.

She began feeling moved to make music, and was experienced on the piano. As she took a look at her poems, she began cutting and placing pieces, “and later I figured they were hooks, I would look at them, and take different pieces, and it was like putting a puzzle together,” she notes.  She had to learn to write music, and had the good fortune to attend a song writing class with M. Jason Green, songwriter for Clay Walker, in Beaumont. She gained from that experience as well.

The first song she ever wrote was “Black Side of the Moon,” a humorous song. It wasn’t long before Nashville noticed. Palermo was doing “in session” type formats through Skype with Producer Ken Rash, and several studio artists. It allowed her to maintain ownership and control over her songs. Due to the heavy influence of the cross-over movement, Palermo has had to stand strong to maintain a pure country sound in her music, and she “is often teaching in-studio musicians what country is,” she says.

“My biggest musical influences are Johnny Cash, George Strait, who is always gracious to songwriters, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton who I have always found humorous, Reba McIntire, there’s too many to list,” notes Palermo. But it was Cajun music waking her up on Sunday mornings that urged her to write music.

Perhaps her most influential confidant comes in the form of a friend. “When I first started songwriting, I met a songwriter in the UK. I was actually surprised Country & Western was as popular anywhere else,” she notes, “Wayne Jacobs, award winning UK Country-Western artist, who writes many songs about Texas, became a sounding board for me,” explains Palermo. She wrote a poem about Texas to help him understand the character of the state, and eventually turned it into a song.  Jacobs has been influential in his dedication and commitment to songwriting, but he also raises money for many causes including the homeless in Nashville, a tribute to 9/11, and he is currently working on Paws of War, a tribute to combat dogs. “I am working with him on his next song which tells the story of a British man traveling to Texas,” and making it his home, she says.

Palermo is thankful her husband recovered, and he has been supporting her in her pursuits ever since. It was his encouragement that lead to the production of “When You’re Near Me,” a song that paints a picture of Texas and the Gulf Coast. “Caradeen River” tells the story of a couple who meet in a place to remember their first meeting. And “Cherokee Brother” written in fun for two of her colleagues has also become quite popular. Palermo’s music can be found on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mary.palermo.587.

It took time, work, and practice, but over time, her writing improved. “Through prayer, I just kept being lead to the next step. I just kept running into the next person in independent artist sector,” she notes. And she is grateful for all of those who have helped her in her success.