Feels Like Home begins by welcoming you in from the rain the warmth of the hearth with the Paul Simon classic ”Kathy’s Song.” Before you know it, the rugs are rolled up and a dance floor is cleared. Mary Beth takes listeners to her grandparent’s dairy farm back in the 1940’s with ”Threshing Time,” a tune she co-wrote with her 85 year old father. Airing fears, worry and concern is still a part of family gatherings. The burdens are shared and then released with Gary White’s ”Long, Long Time.” Mary Beth takes the Linda Rondstadt cover and places it in a bluegrass arrangement, giving it new breath. She then leads you slowly into the wee hours of the evening (to the bedroom) with ”The Medley” and concludes with an original ditty welcoming the morning and the gift of a new day with ”Cottonwood Creek”.
“With the help of a stellar cast of musicians, Mary Beth Cross has crafted a warm and friendly listening experience that indeed feels like home. The disc opens with a cover of Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song”, an interesting choice and a rarely covered tune perhaps due to it’s singular melody and definitive version by Simon and Garfunkel. The instrumentation and the vocals take a casual and perhaps more reflective approach to the song and infuses it with a wistful quality. “Threshing Time” tells family stories and has the feel of a conversation between neighbors over a backyard fence. “Shady Grove” gives the assembled musicians and chance to stretch out a bit – Chris Pandolfi on banjo, Tyler Grant on guitar, and playing fiddle and mandolin, Jeremy Garrett, held together by Adrian Engfer on bass. There are more covers than originals on the recording so that makes me take note of the arrangements in particular. “Long, Long Time”, previously known as a slow, sad song gets a new treatment here with a chugging groove on the verses that morphs into a straight up bluegrass groove on the chorus. The mood shifts to a smokey jazz feel on “Summertime”, again featuring some tasteful playing. The tune is part of a minor key medley that pulls together Cross’s own tune “Pas De Deux” with Van Morrison’s “Moondance”. The album wraps up with “Cottonwood Creek” celebrating home and family. A pleasant musical journey indeed.”
“Americana / Folk / Bluegrass artist Mary Beth Cross from Denver replies from her new EP. The songs on his acoustic bluegrass, part of her growing up in Winsconsin. So she was inspired by stories of her family, forests ranches over there and of course her new home in Colorado. In this EP she is assisted by a banjo player and a fiddle and mandolin player. There are six songs, the Paul Simon cover "Kathy's Song" is the first. After that "Threshing Time 'about her grandparents, something followed by Linda Rondstadt's" Long, Long Time. " During a medley is classic 'Summertime' linked to Van Morrison's "Moondance" via a private track. With her own composition 'Cottonwood Creek "she concludes. The rural atmosphere oozes so from it. A feast for lovers of folk and bluegrass.”
“Cross's latest project celebrates the importance of home in the lives of average, everyday Americans. The eight-song EP climbed to number nine on Roots Music Report's Alternative Folk Albums Chart. It features originals, as well as classics written and/or performed by legendary artists such as Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Garry White, Van Morrison, George Gershwin, and Dubose Heyward. The EP is dedicated to her late nephew, Christopher Chmiel, who died unexpectedly in 2015.”
“Award-winning folk-Americana artist Mary Beth Cross is experiencing unprecedented success, with her latest EP and a featured Paul Simon cover song hitting the Top 40 on five separate record charts.
The Americana/bluegrass EP "Feels Like Home", which includes original songs and classics, continues to climb various charts compiled by Roots Music Report. The eight-song project, which was released in June, celebrates the importance of home in the lives of average, everyday Americans. Following are highlights of the artist's growing success.”
“Award-winning folk-Americana artist Mary Beth Cross has released an eight-song bluegrass EP that celebrates the importance of home in the lives of average, everyday Americans.
"Feels Like Home" includes original songs, as well as classics written and/or performed by legendary artists such as Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Garry White, Van Morrison, George Gershwin, and Dubose Heyward. The recording spotlights Cross's soaring, pure-tone soprano vocals. It was produced by veteran banjoist Chris Pandolfi, who joins nationally respected musicians Jeremy Garrett on fiddle, Tyler Grant on guitar, and Adrian Engfer on bass. The EP is dedicated to her late nephew, Christopher Chmiel, who died unexpectedly in 2015.”
“Award-winning folk-bluegrass-Americana artist Mary Beth Cross will celebrate the release of her new bluegrass-Americana EP, "Feels Like Home", with a concert and meet-and-greet from 3-5 p.m. May 15 (Sunday) at Baur's Restaurant, 1512 Curtis St. in Denver.
Cross's latest project celebrates the importance of home in the lives of average, everyday Americans. The eight-song EP features originals, as well as classics written and/or performed by legendary artists such as Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Garry White, Van Morrison, George Gershwin, and Dubose Heyward. “
“This is Mary Beth Cross’s fourth album, and it is surely her most mature and best. Hailing from Wisconsin, her art is steeped in Americana. This album of original compositions reflects the best of our pioneering spirit, the grit and determination of those who blazed a trail towards the West seeking, beauty, adventure, land, freedom and opportunity.”
“Singer-songwriter Mary Beth Cross weaves bluegrass, folk and Americana on this album, featuring original tunes, and African Spiritual, and some covers like The Gershwins’ “Love Is Here To Stay”. Inspired by the spirit and grit of the pioneers, Beyond Good and Evil is a tribute to the melting pot America has become and what we treasure.”
"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.”
Artist: Mary Beth Cross
Album: Beyond Good and Evil
Review by Matheson Kamin
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Denver-based singer-songwriter Mary Beth Cross is making a name for herself in the music industry. With a long list of influences to draw from that includes the like of Richard Thompson, the Indigo Girls, Bob Dylan, Alison Krauss, Emmy Lou Harris and many others, Cross has started creating her own musical bland that incorporates large amounts of folk, bluegrass, country and other genres. This form of Americana music appears on Mary Beth Cross’ albums, including her latest release, Beyond Good and Evil.
The 2013 release from Mary Beth Cross is an album that incorporates both traditional and cover songs as well as original material written by Cross. Beyond Good and Evil’s blend of original songs and cover tunes creates a CD as strong as anything put out by a major record label.
Beyond Good and Evil begins with Mary Beth Cross’ version of the song “Babes in the Woods”. The first thing that you notice is the clear, beautiful voice of Cross as she sings the song. Cross’ vocals and the instrumentation blend to create a song with elements of folk, country and even a little rock feeling to it. The track has the potential to translate well to a live setting. You can almost envision Mary Beth Cross on stage somewhere like Wolf Trap or The Ryman Auditorium as you listen to the track.
The listener not only gets to experience the voice of Cross on the second track of the release, they also get to experience her songwriting abilities, as well. The album’s title track of “Beyond Good and Evil” features a lot of emotion. Along with Cross’ emotional delivery, the song also features piano and strings to give the track an “orchestrated” feel.
While the vocals of Mary Beth Cross are one of the strongest elements to the Beyond Good and Evil release, nowhere is that more evident than on the African Spiritual “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired”. Sang a’capella, “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” finds Mary Beth Cross creating the track while staying true to the meaning of the lyrics of the composition. The a’capellanature of the track allows the vocals of Mary Beth Cross to shine.
The African Spiritual “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” is followed by the track “Liza Jane,” the story of a freed slave who spends her life looking for the daughter who was sold out from under her. Just like “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” before it, “Liza Jane” sounds as if it were a song that could have been written around the end of the American Civil War, although it was written by Mary Beth Cross. “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” and “Liza Jane” go well together because of the subject matter of each track but also feel worlds apart at the same time as “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” features voice only and “Liza Jane” features a country/bluegrass feel to the music.
On the track “Stories Never Told,” Mary Beth Cross shows her ability to tell a tale while writing a song. The storyline of “Stories Never Told” follows a man who makes a living in the mines until the day he is gunned down as he walked home. The feel of the music suggests that “Stories Never Told” could easily have fit in with songs from singer-songwriters back in the 1960s.
As with the first track of the album, Beyond Good and Evil from Mary Beth Cross comes to an end with yet song written by someone else. “Our Love is Here to Stay,” written by George and Ira Gershwin, was produced in such a way as to suggest a very aged quality to the track. The vocals from Mary Beth Cross, the six string banjo from Mike Payne and whistle from album producer Dave Bechtel were recorded to sound as if they were actually on an old 78 rpm gramophone record.
Beyond Good and Evil from Mary Beth Cross features ten tracks based in folk music. Cross and every musician who helped create the release came together to craft a release that spans, not only many different genres, but eras as well; Beyond Good and Evil from Mary Beth Cross is an album made to appeal to a wide audience of music lovers.
“Beyond Good and Evil is a collection of original and cover songs, performed by singer/songwriter Mary Beth Cross. Cross is currently based in the Rocky Mountains, which coupled with her upbringing in the rural farmlands of Wisconsin, is a big influence on her music. The album features Stuart Duncan, 2012 IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year, and was produced by Dave Bechtel and Cross herself.”
“Recorded in Nashville, “Beyond Good and Evil” gives voice to the pioneer spirit of the American frontier with original songs and cover tunes. Cross spent the past year penning songs reflecting the grit and determination of the adventurers who blazed a trail from the East to the West in search of what they treasured most: beauty, adventure, land, new opportunities for work, and freedom from oppression.”