Singer, songwriter and composer Mary Beth Maziarz was excited to learn she was going to open for Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines during the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concert at Deer Valley on July 30.

"I've been doing this for a while and there are always new and fresh acts popping up all the time," Maziarz said during an interview with The Park Record. "I didn't know if I could stand up to the hot stuff coming out, so that made me feel really good."

In order to even be considered for the opportunity, Maziarz had to appeal to Maines' management.

"The Park City Performing Arts Foundation had to get direct approval from Natalie's people," Maziarz said. "All of my recordings and press materials are available online and we made them accessible so they could listen to the samples.

"I was really excited to hear I got the go-ahead," she said. "It's so flattering."

Maziarz already had an idea of what songs she was going to perform.

"I am working on a new record and it's going to be an extended play release called 'Naked,'" she said. "All the songs are really raw and stripped down and just me and piano, so I'm planning to play a lot of that stuff."

The idea to record the songs in such an intimate way came through the suggestion of Maziarz's fans.

"A lot my recent records have been fully produced and feature a lot of cool effects and extra instruments and back up singers and all kinds of percussion," she said.


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"But I've had audience members come up to tell me that they love it with just me playing piano and singing. They told me that it would be nice if I could do that again.

"So, I'm listening to them and, in the process, have remembered that you don't always need to have all those bells and whistles to make a record," Maziarz said. "There is an integrity and a purity in the songs themselves that comes across in a special way when they're played a little more stripped down. So, that will be the essence of my performance next Tuesday, and since I won't have a full band to hide behind, I will be super vulnerable."

"Naked" is the follow-up to Maziarz's 2005 full-length album, "Wish."

"My last album strangely coincided with the birth of my daughter," the musician said. "She's six now and my newborn is now nine-months-old, which is interesting."

The songs Maziarz selected for the EP had been written in the past six years.

"I have played them in public, but I haven't recorded any of them, so, it's exciting for me to put them down in solid form," she said. "Sometimes when you don't have them recorded, the songs kind of keep evolving and changing as you play them.

"Once I record them, they kind of solidify, and that's been a fun process for me," Maziarz said. "The songs are about a lot of life experiences in the past six years and I wanted to bring them to the table."

Within those past six years, Maziarz had the opportunity to write her first book, "Kick Ass Creativity," a guide for anyone interested in the creative arts.

"(While) writing that book, I was reminded of how succinct songwriting needs to be," she said. "You have to tell the full arc of a story or idea in 200 to 300 words, but in a book you have all this room.

"You still want to be meaningful and full of content, but you can cover more in a book," Maziarz said. "When I went back to songwriting it was a relief, in some ways, because I could choose one point or one story and address it in a song. That was a wonderful feeling because I could pinpoint an idea and, hopefully, say something important."

While Maziarz's lyrics are usually inspired by life experiences, she doesn't always know where the melodies come from.

"I'm a believer that there is a higher, creative place where things trickle down to us here on Earth and we get to share and bring them to life," she said. "Sometimes I'll be driving or doing the dishes or cooking and will find myself humming. Other times a phrase and a little line will got together and keep nagging at me and niggling at my brain until I feel like I have to go work on it for a few minutes.

"I think it's my responsibility to steward those ideas into something meaningful if they keep poking through my subconscious," she said.

Maziarz plans to perform other songs than those that will appear on "Wish," and she is looking for some suggestions.

Fans can submit requests through her website at www.marybethmusic.com .

Park City's own singer and songwriter Mary Beth Maziarz will open the St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concert featuring Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines at the Snow Park Amphitheater at Deer Valley on Tuesday, July 30, at 7 p.m. Tickets prices start at $40. For information and tickets, call (435) 655-3114 or visit www.ecclescenter.org.