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Multiple Award Winning Album

No Wilder Place
Don't Fence Me In Records, BMI
(Released January 27th, 2012)

"Any Name Will Do" wins Spur Award for Best Western Song

Congratulations are in order once again for Mary Kaye. The Western Writer's of America has selected her to receive a 2013 Spur Award for "Best Western Song". The song that won the award is "Any Name Will Do," lead track to her No Wilder Place album.

"Luckiest Cowgirl" #1 on Charts

The 2013 Winter Issue of The Western Way magazine just arrived and Mary Kaye's song, "The Luckiest Cowgirl", from her No Wilder Place album, is #1 on the Western Music Charts. Congrats Mary Kaye!

"No Wilder Place" wins 2012 WMA "Song of the Year" Award

The Western Music Association's 2012 awarded No Wilder Place's title track, "No Wilder Place," as Song of the Year.  The song is a co-write with cowboy poet Les Buffham.  Congratulations Mary Kaye and Les!

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True West Magazine Accolades

"...Mary Kaye has entered the echelon of great songwriters with her latest album, No Wilder Place.... We'd love to hear her Butch Cassidy ballad in a Western film!"

(True West, January 2013, p. 24)

"The awards keep piling up for Mary Kaye, and deservedly so. The former Western Music Association 'Female Vocalist of the Year' was up for three more WMA awards thanks to her new terrific 2012 album No Wilder Place. The title track definitely deserved its WMA nomination for "Song of the Year," but we implore you to listen to her take on the cowboy classic 'Streets of Laredo.'"

(True West, January 2013, p. 45)

No Wilder Place Debuts at #1 on Western Music Charts

No Wilder Place CD debuted on he Western Music Charts at #1. Follow the link to The Western Way magazine and see page 51.

Western Horseman
by Jennifer Denison

Some Western singers and musicians are all about preserving traditional cowboy songs. Others strive to write and sing songs about contemporary cowboy life. Utah singer-songwriter Mary Kaye Knaphus, whose stage name is simply Mary Kaye, does both well, and with an authenticity that appeals to not only purists, but also those seeking something fresh.

Her latest CD, titled No Wilder Place, contains 12 original songs either writen or co-written by Mary Kaye, and her own arrangment of the old English ballad and classic cowboy tune "Streets of Larado," aslo known as "Cowboy's Lament."

A mix of haunting ballads and upbeat swing, the CD is Mary Kaye's third release, and another collection of keenly researched and written story songs that express her love of the West and its colorful characters of past and present. The first track, "Any Name Will Do," is about Butch Cassidy. For the fourth track, "Jenny's Lament," the singer-songwriter took Michael Burton's classic cowboy song "Night Rider's Lament" and wrote an "answer" song from the perspective of the female character, Jenny, who lost her cowboy to the open range. The song "Once Upon a Horse," which is about Mary Kaye's oldest daughter and her horse, will touch horse lovers. The songs in-between are masterfully arranged into a CD to which you won't tire of listening.

Known for her wide vocal range, tight vibrato and haunting yet sweet voice, Mary Kaye delivers a spellbinding, emotional vocal performance in every song she sings. She also strums magic on her guitar, using a "frailing" technique she says is similar to "clawing the strings like a bango player."

Named the 2011 Academy of Western Artists Female Performer of the Year, the 2010 Western Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year and Crescendo Award winner, Mary Kaye breathes freshness into the Western genre.

          (July 2012, pg. 103)

American Cowboy
by Charley Engel
"Gifted with one of the most dynamic and original voices in Western music, Mary Kaye delivers the goods with powerful, honey-dipped Southern vocals that demonstrate why this up-and-comer has already garnered top awards from both the Academy of Western Artists and the Western Music Association."
             (June/July 2012)
The Western Way
by Rick Huff

And now the question of our Western Age: How can such a good girl have such a good bad girl voice? On this new release Mary Kaye (Knaphus) proves again she can stretch to handle anything from haunting ballads to feel-good swing and she can bring out a level of sass and fight in her voice that few other ladies in Western have yet demonstrated!

A couple of answer songs are included this time. One is “Jenny’s Lament,” a musical response to Michael Burton’s much-covered “Night Rider’s Lament.” We now have the character Jenny’s view of how crazy they’ve gone out there. Mary Kaye’s other answer song has you hopin’ babies “Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” So take that, “Mammas!”

You’ll find a nice variety of styles, tempos and ideas to enjoy. Frankly all the tracks could qualify as “picks,” but I’ll mention “Fringe,” “No Wilder Place” (a co-write with the ever co-writing Les Buffham), “Any Name Will Do” and "Road To Prescott." Fourteen tracks total.

          (The Western Way, Spring 2012, p. 39)

Outwest Concerts
by Bobby Jean Bell
The latest release [No Wilder Place] from award winning singer/songwriter! Mary Kaye has performed three times at OutWest....She has been a guest on our radio show "Around the Barn" a couple of times too. She is as delightful in person as she is in concert - we always look forward to visiting with Mary Kaye and her husband Brad when they journey from their Utah home to California. I looked forward to this CD, her third single release, and am not disappointed. She is inspired by history, by her family, by love and laughter, by the landscape, and by her faith. You will be too.
Cowboy Singer and Poet Mike Moutoux:

In referring to Mary Kaye’s song “The Road to Prescott,” on the No Wilder Place album, Cowboy Singer Mike Moutoux, from Silver City, NM wrote:
           “I love that song, heard you do it live and now on the new CD…really wonderful tune, stirring lyrics”
          (December 14, 2012)
The Album: No Wilder Place

In Fort Worth, Texas on Jan. 27th, 2012 Mary Kaye released her much anticipated new Western music CD, No Wilder Place. It contains 12 original songs along with the classic "Streets of Laredo" also known as "Cowboy's Lament." The originals include a haunting Butch Cassidy ballad, Jenny's point of view in "Night Riders Lament," two great western swing songs, a cowboy love song, baby's growing up to be cowboy's, and even a song about a milk cow. It has been well received and is rooted deeply in the western landscape Mary Kaye's life is immersed in. The songs include:

1. Intro. Any Name Will Do
2. Any Name Will Do
3. No Wilder Place
4. Luckiest Cowgirl
5. Jenny's Lament
6. Road to Prescott
7. Streets of Laredo
8. Strychnine
9. Calico Cowgirl
10. Fringe
11. Only Kind of Love Song
12. Once Upon a Horse
13. Grow up to be Cowboys
14. Lasca

Liner Notes:

I am a singer, songwriter, wife, and mother of ten. I love it all. One of my loves, concert touring, has allowed me to meet fascinating people and to get a panoramic view of the great American West. However, the best turn of the road is the one that leads me back home. These songs are meant to capture that journey and it is my heart-felt wish that they transport you to No Wilder Place.

"Any Name Will Do" is the most researched song I've written. My interest in Butch Cassidy was due to his birth place and exploits being close to our home. In it, I wanted folks to feel like they were on the run with Butch and the boys.

"No Wilder Place" is a co-write with the affable and unstoppable Les Buffham. It began when the wind blew off Kip Callahan's hat as Les was giving her a hug. She proclaimed, "Between the wind and you..." and the lyrics were born. I had the good fortune of adding the music...and a few lyrics.

"Luckiest Cowgirl" was inspired by my dear friend and fellow entertainer, Belinda Gail. She is my go-to gal when I feel the need. Her love, enthusiasm, and bright personality remind me of what being lucky is all about - having an attitude of gratitude.

"Jenny's Lament" is what is known as an answer song. It draws from Michael Burton‘s famous song, Night Riders Lament. But in this song I tell the story from the heart-broken point of view of the character, Jenny.

"Road to Prescott" reflects my love for a good story song. Terrific studio guitarist, Michael Dowdle, complimented me by having such a hard time replicating my playing style. It's a style called "frailing" and involves clawing the strings like a banjo player.

"Streets of Laredo" is also known as "Cowboy’s Lament" and is a traditional cow trail song derived from an old English ballad of the late 18th century. It was a song shared around the campfire and out on night-guard and I just love performing my arrangement of it.

"Strychnine" was recorded in Nashville and features top-shelf studio musicians. This song was inspired by a real story told to me by a neighbor when I told her of our plans to purchase a milk cow. Needless to say, the cow stall in our barn still sits empty.

"Calico Cowgirl" came to me while looking at an old black and white photograph of a woman in a calico dress, standing in a vast field of tall grass with a baby on her hip. Her eyes seemed to say, "Tell my story!" So I did.

"Fringe" reflects my passion for dancing. I love how generations of folks get together to dance their cares away at old dance halls all over the West in their boots, hats, buckles, and of course...fringe.

"The Only Kind of Love Song" was written as a tribute to my husband, Brad. We have traveled the road of life together for 25 years. This song represents the love found on that remarkable road.

"Once Upon a Horse" tells the true story of our oldest daughter, Alicia, and her Egyptian Arabian horse Maleese. I am impressed by how this song touches so many others who know and love girls who are born "horsey."

"Grow Up to be Cowboys" is a tongue-in-cheek response to Waylon and Willie’s plea. It came to me when I was sorting through my boys old clothes and found their small, scuffed, and well-worn cowboy boots. I am proud to be the mama of some first-class cowboys.

"Lasca" is based on the beloved poem penned by Frank Deprez. I heard poet, Steve Porter, recite it and just had to set such a pretty story to music. The haunting instrument in the background is a baritone fiddle.

No Wilder Place Songs Most Downloaded from iTunes:

1. Lasca
2. Grow Up to Be Cowboys
3. Fringe
4. Streets of Laredo
5. Road to Prescott
6. Jenny's Lament
7. Luckiest Cowgirl
8. No Wilder Place
9. Any Name Will Do


Mary Kaye's Blog: The Making of No Wilder Place...

"No Wilder Place" was released in January and continues to astonish me as friends and fans tell me about their favorite songs and how much they love the CD. As an artist I feel like sighing and saying "Phew!" Or in the immortal words of Sally Fields, "They like me! They really like me!" I know it's silly, but it's hard to describe the exquisite kind of angst experienced when you invest time, money and a large piece of your soul in a body of work you hope resonates with folks.

I was looking through my old notes today for "No Wilder Place" as I sat by the pool watching the girls swim. I smiled as I remembered pouring over my notes every night before bed for almost a whole year. There were my first scribblings for "Jenny's Lament", mix notes from my days at MAS studios and even a couple of songs I scrapped. The song "Fringe" was written the week before I went in to record which is something I swore I never would do again, but "Fringe" is now the #1 downloaded song from the CD. I found my alternate lyrics to "Once Upon a Horse" which were "...took her from her mountain home to Tennessee." I guess I wanted it to be more vague by saying " his kingdom by the sea."

My friend and ace photographer, Lori Faith Merritt (, just got her cover shot for "No Wilder Place" in the national publication Ranch & Reata. It's a stunning image that I can take little credit for. It was taken in Death Valley Utah on a day so cold that we only stopped shivering long enough to point and click. My dresses for the shoot were shipped from Montana Dreamwear ( ) and I was honored to wear such works of art. I've included the photo above.

I've already started writing for a new CD and have a fresh book of notes to pour over every night which I call a "hook book", but I am pleased as punch with the way "No Wilder Place" is out there going down the highway with people and becoming part of the fabric of their life in the West.