Mary Lynn's musical evolution has played like March weather in reverse: In like a lamb, out like a lion.

Mary Lynn's musical evolution has played like March weather in reverse: In like a lamb, out like a lion.

When the singer and songwriter first performed solo, around 2011, she was typically mortified. Her voice often reflected this fear, wavering to match her knocking knees. "I sounded like a little lamb when I was singing because I was shaking so badly," said the musician, born Mary Lynn Gloeckle, who previously logged six years playing keyboards in 2009 Band to Watch This Is My Suitcase. "But I made myself do it because I really wanted to do it. I've always liked being onstage … and being in charge of this emotional rollercoaster - this energy of the show."

It's an energy that's spiked in recent times, with Mary Lynn's once-meek lamb giving way to a roaring jungle cat, aided by a five-piece backing band that adds sonic heft to her emotionally weighty piano confessionals. Despite the group's growing headcount, the musician's songs have remained intensely personal, filled with mentions of her shattered heart, her toughened skin and the legs that'll one day walk her away from whatever problems might be plaguing her at a given moment.

"I write about what I'm feeling and how I feel and what I'm going through," said Mary Lynn, who describes herself as someone born to make music (she started playing piano as a child and has vivid memories of being strapped into a car seat as a toddler and kicking her legs along to the beat as music played on the car radio). "Not to be cheesy, but it is a journal entry for me. Whether I'm happy or sad or frustrated, I have to express it. When I finish writing a song I want to feel the relief like, 'I've worked through this.'"

After This Is My Suitcase dissolved in late 2013, Mary Lynn immersed herself more fully in solo recording (the musician's first solo album, Familiar Things & Places, surfaced at the beginning of Suitcase's last year as a band) with little intention of launching another group.

"When I was first writing my songs, I was writing them alone, and I couldn't really imagine a bigger picture," she said. "Then at the end of [recording], I had all these full-band songs. After that I was like, 'Well I need a drummer now. I need a bass player. I need a guitar player.' Because I missed all those things about the album."

In turn, Mary Lynn constructed her sophomore album - which she completed in the summer of 2015 and is currently shopping to record labels with an eye on a 2016 release - with these additional elements in mind.

"There are a couple songs on the album ... where I imagined how it would be with the band when I wrote them," she said. "The first album felt more like an experiment ... in the way I was figuring out what I wanted to sound like as we were making it. With this one I was like, 'Now I know the sound I want, and I know the kinds of feelings I want to get across.'"