FARMINGTON — When Mary James was 5 years old, she wrote her first song, "Mean Mary of Alabama."

That prompted people to call her Mean Mary, so the musician adopted it as her stage name.

This week, she will perform in Bloomfield as part of a music festival organized by Nick Herman and his wife, Dee. The couple own Desert Rose RV Park in Bloomfield.

The Four Corners Music Festival kicks off today and will continue through Saturday. Sid Hausman, an entertainer from Tesuque, will join James on Friday and Saturday at the Wooden Nickel in Bloomfield.

The Hermans, who live in Houston, bought Desert Rose RV Park in June 2013, and, shortly after, began arranging a music festival for Bloomfield.

Elyse Taylor and her sister, Rebecca Taylor, work on Wednesday at Event Receptions in Bloomfield on the marquee for Mean Mary’s concert. Mary James,
Elyse Taylor and her sister, Rebecca Taylor, work on Wednesday at Event Receptions in Bloomfield on the marquee for Mean Mary's concert. Mary James, also known by her stage name Mean Mary, will perform today, Friday and Saturday during the Four Corners Music Festival in Bloomfield. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

"I just believe in getting involved in the community," Nick Herman said.

His inspiration for the festival was the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. During the festival, people camp in tents and RVs, and he thought Desert Rose RV Park could provide that type of lodging.

"I thought, 'What have they got that we don't have in Bloomfield?'" he said.

Online, Nick Herman discovered Mean Mary, a folk musician from Finger, Tenn., who has performed about 4,500 shows worldwide.

Nick Herman planned on having the first day of the festival at his RV park, but wind and bad weather made it impossible. That's when Melissa Brewer, the owner of Event Receptions in Bloomfield, offered her building.

In addition to the concerts, James is also visiting Blanco Elementary School and Central Primary School in Bloomfield to teach students 1800s style dances and play 1860s Virginia railroad music.

James said she has always been drawn to music. Her mother noticed that interest when James was 4 and her older brother, who was serving in the U.S. Navy, sent the family a mixed tape. Her mother, Jean James, said her daughter, quickly memorized all the songs.

Later, the mother picked out a warped guitar and a songbook at a pawn shop to teach her daughter to play.

"I had to study the book to learn to teach her," Jean James said.

Jean James still encourages her daughter and co-writes many of her songs. One of the songs the mother-daughter duo co-wrote, "Iron Horse," has been nominated for an Independent Music Award.

Mary and Jean James' talent for writing also expands outside music. In 2011, they published their first book, "Wherefore Art Thou, Jane?" which be sold at the concerts. The book is a mystery set in Choctawhatchee River area of Florida.

After publishing the book, Mary James wrote a song to go with it and produced a music video.

She and her mother are releasing their second book, "Sea Red, Sea Blue," on April 25. After she finishes playing in Bloomfield, Mary James will return to Florida to film the music video for the accompanying song.

Mary James said the songs she writes tend to be stories, so the transition to novels wasn't difficult.

"They're kind of the same basic principle," she said.


What: Four Corners Music Festival


· Thursday: Mean Mary, 6:30 p.m. at Event Receptions, 1441 E. Blanco Blvd. in Bloomfield. Children's event starts at 5:30 p.m.

· Friday and Saturday: Mean Mary and Sid Hausman, 8 p.m. at Wooden Nickel, 900 W. Broadway Ave. in Bloomfield

Cost: Each concert is $5. Admission includes soda and pizza.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.