Dirty Dozen: Beth Bombara

Beth Bombara has built her career on an evolving sound that blurs the lines between genres. To those who make their living onstage, she’s a musician’s musician — a road warrior who writes her own exemplary material, plays multiple instruments, and fronts her own band, often a duo with her husband.

Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years? I’ve called St. Louis my home for the past 10 years. You may have heard about Ferguson, which is just 24 km from my house. Growing up in the Midwestern US, moving from Michigan (where I grew up) to Missouri exposed me to many different types of music from Detroit Rock to Ozark folk & the American roots music in between. Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and even St. Louis blues music were things I absorbed from moving throughout the Midwest. Ever since I was old enough to drive, I’ve been loading up the car and hitting the road with other bands. I’ve played with at least 8 bands over the years, but in the past few years put more focus on writing and performing my own songs.

How would you describe your music? Someone once told me I had a folk singer’s head and a rocker’s heart.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences? Going back to where I’m from, physical place has something to do with musical influence for me. After moving to St. Louis, I started to absorb some of it’s rich musical history including Folk and Blues music. I’m not a blues artist, but it’s certainly left an impression on what I do. Artists I’ve drawn inspiration from vary widely from people like Gillian Welch and Neil Young, to Neko Case. My first band was a punk band though, and those rock influences have stuck around. I’ll always love playing electric guitar.

What are you currently promoting? My new album, “Map & No Direction”

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you? I think it comes and goes with each new album, but my current ‘proud’ moment is with the song “When I Woke”.

What are you currently listening to? This very moment, Ann Peebles on the record player.

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without? I can’t pick a favourite! But one I really like is Harvest, by Neil Young

What are your hopes for your future career? To be able to keep creating- keep writing and putting out records, and play for new audiences. To never settle into a comfortable place, because comfort can be an artists worst enemy. I don’t want to be known for putting on a flashy show and the outfits I wear, I’d rather be know for my songs and guitar playing.

If money were no object what would be your dream project? I’d love to be able to do a tour with a symphony.

What’s the best thing about being a musician? Being your own boss.

And the worst? Being your own boss

Finally, have you anything you’d like to say to the readers of Americana UK? I’m constantly reminded that music is a beautiful language, one that knows no borders. It’s power to inspire, soothe, and unite is something wonderful, and I think the world needs that more than ever right now.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show – The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session – playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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