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CD: MARY BETH CROSS Beyond Good And Evil


Beyond Good And Evil


Babes In The Wood – Beyond Good And Evil –
Kiss You Goodnight – I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired – Liza Jane – Stories
Never Told – Caledonia – Land Of The Midnight Sun – Feels Like Home –
Our Love Is Here To Stay
“Babes In the Wood” that’s another story, for sure, but not
a Mary Beth Cross original.  All the rest of the songs are. Mary Beth
is a folk singer, well yes, but she’s also a soft country singer, well
yes she’s also her own distinctive self.  My instant attraction to the
songs, and their beautiful mix, is the addition of Stuart Duncan, an
incredibly gifted bluegrass fiddler.  Mary, originally from Wisconsin,
now living in the Rocky Mountains, has created a traveling adventure of
soul, sorrow, happiness, and certainly discovery and opportunity, as she
dedicates this project to the pioneers that blazed the trail, from
Wisconsin to Colorado, as she has done, and the beautiful adventure and
the chance to have land, that becomes the pioneers own, which is what
they treasured most.  Mary, much like another Wisconsin folk singer that
draws heavily from the woodlands and farm lifestyle for
inspiration, Sue West, uses the words of rural America to describe and
depict a wholly different lifestyle and environment that many of us
neither know very much about, and certainly have not experienced.  The
musical expressions expressed here are worthy of note, especially
since they have been made by such excelled musicians in Nashville,
as Stuart Duncan of course on fiddle, but he adds mandolin and banjo on
some cuts.  Matthew Pierson on bass, Mile Payne on guitar and 6-string
banjo, Blair Masters on piano, organ, accordion, and melodica, Ken Lewis
on drums, Paul Nelson on cello, and Michael Douchette on Dobro.  In
combination it’s easy to see how this particular session turned into a
‘soulful’ gathering, and some excellent original songs I would sometimes
label Americana, but more often pure rural-soul music.  Like Mary Beth,
we both have liked and appreciated the music of Kate Wolf, one of
California’s most productive folk singers. I realize that Mary Beth is
not reaching for an older audience, but if she ever does, enunciation is
very important to them.  Even the Broadway show tune “Our Love Is Here
To Stay” is interesting with a 6-string banjo (though it ‘squeaks’ a
bit) but the whistling is great.  In total, this CD is worthy of being
submitted to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their take on
‘Americana CD of the Year.’  We’ll have to wait to see what happens.  In
the meantime, I hope Mary Beth Cross will continue her journey, perhaps
not in a covered wagon, but certainly in spirit.  Thar’s ‘gold’ in them
thar hills Mary Beth.  marybeth@marybethcross.com  
Record review by Bob Everhart, President National Traditional Music Assn., www.ntcma.net for Country Music News International 

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