Mary Beth Carty

Step Dance / Guitar Accompaniment

Mary Beth Carty is a one-woman-band from Antigonish County, Nova Scotia, who performs homemade sing-alongs and instrumental dance music in the roots genre.

Growing up steeped in the diverse culture of the small university town of Antigonish County, Nova Scotia, Mary Beth studied classical piano until the age of 16. She then studied bass with Danny Sutherland, taught herself guitar, and formed folk-rock bands with friends. A scholarship took her to Kings College in Halifax where she dove into the vibrant local music scene, forming harmonizing trio The Johnson Sisters with Becky Siamon and Annie Clifford. She discovered the accordion, and started teaching herself celtic, klezmer, and blues tunes on the box.

Upon completion of university, Carty moved to Québec City where she worked at schools, played mandolin with a folk-rock outfit, and began performing solo shows. Mary Beth learned to accompany fiddlers at Nelligan’s Pub, on piano and guitar. She was immediately recruited to teach traditional piano and dance at Jeunes Musiciens du Monde Music School. Duo Bette & Wallet was formed with Gabriel Ouellette, a talented multi-instrumentalist, and the duo recorded two albums and performed at major Canadian folk festivals in Vancouver, Calgary, Dawson City, Regina, Joliette, Lunenburg, and Winnipeg.

In 2008 Mary Beth recieved a research and creation grant from Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec. She delved into the research of Eastern Canadian square-dance calling, archival songs, and songwriting. In the same year she was invited to the International Film Festival of Aubagne for the tango-insprired soundtrack she produced for the documentary P is for Papaya. After moving back to Nova Scotia in 2010, Mary Beth began putting together a 2-set performance of the songs of Robbie Burns.

In 2012 Mary Beth began performing on crusie liners as the lead-singer and accompanist for Cape Breton fiddler Gillian Boucher and in 2014 she began working with Holland-America as a guest entertainer. Their memorable performance at the Broad Cove Concert with Ashley MacIsaac and Howie MacDonald and dancer Sheena Boucher earned them a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd! The duo joined the Celtic Caravan Tour of Austria in March of 2016.

Mary Beth released her first solo album, Les biens-nommés, in 2017. It was nominated for an East Coast Music Award and several Nova Scotia Music Awards. She won Prix Granby at Francofête en Acadie which earned her a showcase at Festival International de la Chanson de Granby in 2019. Mary Beth is currently working on her second solo album which is due to be released in fall 2020 so stay tuned!
Fall Class Series