Maybe it's her pregnancy. Maybe it was all those weeks spent in rehabilitation. No matter
what the reason, singer/songwriter Mary Lou Lord is full of expectations for herself and
Nearly six months after canceling a tour supporting her major-label debut to check into
an alcohol-rehabilitation program, the 32-year-old mother-to-be said she's feeling
happier and more self-confident than she has in ages and is ready to move into the next
phase of her career and her life.
"Since I got pregnant, I've been feeling very confident, much less self-conscious," Lord
said recently. "I used to get petrified onstage, and my shows were often kind-of giddy. I
just wasn't centered."
The Boston-based neo-folkie capped off her completion of the rehab program with
several dates on the Lilith Fair tour last month and is now home, anticipating the birth of
her first child in December, as well as developing plans for her second full-length album,
for which she plans to write all the material.
Lord, who is not married, scrapped the tour in support of her Work Group debut, Got
No Shadow, in March to deal with an alcohol problem she had acknowledged in the
past. "She had been sober and great for a year and realized she was slipping a bit and
checked herself into a program," Work Group spokeswoman Jodi Smith said at the time
of the cancellation.
"That's helped so much," Lord said of her time in rehab. "I never would have imagined
that drinking or doing drugs can actually hinder a performance, but it did for me. I'm a lot
more grounded now."
That sense of self-assurance has carried over into the songs she's writing for her second
Work Group album, said Lord, a former DJ who has also released several EPs for the Kill
Rock Stars label.
Lord added that she wants to create the songs for the next album entirely on her own,
rather than covering others' work or collaborating with her frequent partner, Nick
Saloman, as she did on such poignant Got No Shadow tracks as
(RealAudio excerpt), "Two Boats" and "His Lamest Flame."
"I want to write the record myself and just do it in a very natural way," she said. "Not push
it, but just let it happen."
Lord said she found out she was pregnant two weeks into her rehab stay -- a sign that
"someone was definitely looking over me."
With a baby on the way, she now sees her career as important, not solely for her own
creative well-being, but also for the life of her child.
"This is my life, and it's not just mine anymore," Lord said with a mixture of surety and
gratitude. "I can't afford to be all silly and nervous. I feel confident and I feel good. This is
my job and I have to look at it that way. With pleasure, of course."