Mary Lou Lord

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Mary Lou Lord
Mary Lou Lord performing in 2006
Mary Lou Lord performing in 2006
Background information
Born (1965-03-01) March 1, 1965 (age 56)
Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.
GenresFolk, folk rock, pop
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, busker
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1990–present
LabelsKill Rock Stars, Work Records, Rubric Records, Loose Music
Associated actsElliott Smith, Helium, The Bevis Frond

Mary Lou Lord (born March 1, 1965) is an indie folk musician, busker and recording artist.

Life and career[edit]

Mary Lou Lord first gained attention playing acoustic guitar and singing in and around Boston's subway stations (particularly on the Red Line, as noted by the name she chose for her music and lyric publishing company, On the Red Line Music, administered by BMI.)

Lord became friends with Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain in the fall of 1991, before the group's rise to mainstream fame; there has been much speculation about their relationship. In 2010 Lord published an explanation from her point of view.[1]

She met Elliott Smith through Slim Moon, the owner of Kill Rock Stars and her boyfriend at the time.[2] Lord toured three separate times with Smith during the 1990s. Smith also wrote and helped Lord record a song called "I Figured You Out" in 1997.

Lord signed with the Sony subsidiary Work in 1997 and released the album Got No Shadow in 1998.[3] On December 31, 1998, Lord and Kevin Patey, from the band Raging Teens, had a daughter whom they named Annabelle Lord-Patey.[4]

Her recording of Daniel Johnston's "Speeding Motorcycle" (which originally featured on her self-titled 8-song Kill Rock Stars release) was featured in commercials for Target stores, after which her label reissued the song as the lead-off track of a CD single which also included two demo recordings from the sessions for Got No Shadow.

In 2001, Lord released Live City Sounds. This was a self-released disc of Lord playing live in the Boston subway. The disc was later re-released after she signed to Rubric Records.

She announced in 2005 that she suffered from a rare vocal cord affliction known as spasmodic dysphonia. She thereafter became more involved in A&R work and started a new management company with Kevin Patey, Jittery Jack Management.

In 2011, Lord used Kickstarter to record a new album titled Backstreet Angels which was self-released in 2015. In 2012 she began performing regularly once again.

In 2019, Lord began a podcast "How The Hell Did That Happen?". The podcast attracted attention from mainstream media, as Lord provided details of her romance and friendships with Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith during the 1990s.[5][6]



  • Real – Deep Music (1992)
  • TSWL (To Sir With Love) – EW Productions/Demo tape (1993)


EPs and singles[edit]

Compilation and soundtrack contributions[edit]


  1. ^ About me and Kurt (what you don't know) "Archived copy". Oedipus. February 17, 2010. Archived from the original on October 14, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Nugent, Benjamin (2004). Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780306813931. Retrieved December 27, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Kemper, Nick. "Mary Lou Lord". Billboard. Retrieved December 27, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Mary Lou Lord Becomes a Mother". Viacom. January 1, 1999. Retrieved December 27, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Donaghue, Erin (April 5, 2019). ""Born lonely": Kurt Cobain's ex gives intimate account of icon on brink of stardom". CBS News. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  6. ^

External links[edit]