Beth Bombara – Self-Titled – Americana songwriter with a unique blend of styles and lyrics

Beth Bombara‘s sound is one that is going to find many friends on this website. For one, she’s authentic. For another, her songwriting is unique and enjoyable. It all comes together for a very mature, crisp country sound.

The opener “Found Your Way” is about the difficulties of a relationship rife with struggle. It uses great classic folk imagery from nature and human endurance. “Hold me closer, hold me far away… tell me why you’re wandering and how you found your way.” The twangy electric guitar works really nicely with the swagger of the track. “Lay your cards and I’ll lay mine…” It might just be a leavin’ song, too… Either way it’s a great tone setter for the album.

“Give Me Something” sounds like the 1970s. Listeners will immediately think of the Stevie Nicks flair from Fleetwood Mac and other pop rock acts from that era. “I need your love to hold on to,” one of the key lyrics in the track, could have come right off of Rumors. In fact, there’s a lot about the flavor and substance of Bombara’s work that shows significant influence from classic pop rock music.

“Promised Land” is the promoted single for the album. What’s interesting about that decision is that it’s the most “rock” on the album. The distorted guitar provides a great juxtaposition to the clarity in Bombara’s voice. The vocal blending on the second verse really make the song “pop” more than the others on the album. “They sold us hope for a future to hold… I opened my hands still searching for the promised land.” The song, in great folk fashion, is about a relationship enduring its difficulties. Nicely done.

The Americana track “In the Water” has horns! That’s right. Defying genres and conventions, there are some nice horns on this track setting a completely different mood. It provides another unique platform for Bombara’s solid vocals. Another track shifting the style of the album is “Your Own Two Hands,” which has a unique island-flavored dancing beat. It’s exotic and totally unexpected. I can’t be sure, but it seems to hold the connotation of being in proverbial “dance” with materialism. Her line “a cup that overflows with wanting…” is haunting, reminding listeners of a gospel imperative infused with a conviction. It’s cleverly and well done.

“In My Head” takes listeners back to that 70s rock flair again. Fittingly, it sounds a bit like a journal entry. “I’ve been holding on too long…” address concerns of self identity. She writes, “I try to fake it but I don’t know how.” We feel the same way, Beth. Trust us. All of us. Then, seemingly in response to herself, Bombara writes, “It Slips Away,” a banjo-driven Americana jam that’s sure to find lots of support around here. “Have I missed my chance again?” is her question. Well, not necessarily. But at the core of the track is a longing, questioning, and desiring for acceptance. It’s okay, really!

The final track with lyrics is “Heavy Heart,” a stripped-down acoustic solo piece. “We never know when our train is coming to take us home.” Preach, girl. It’s about living a life based on the convictions of a heavy heart, “reminding you who you are.” The song is as much a sermon and testimony as it is a typical song. That’s why it’s easily the best song on the album. It’s full of heart ache and sadness, but that’s what makes it so powerful. I’d love to hear an album full of songs like this one from Beth Bombara.

All told, this is a great album. There’s a lovely balance of variety and consistency, ultimately taking listeners on a mood-altering journey through love, joy, pain, and sadness. It’s the kind of album that a troubadour should be proud to have put together. The crowning achievement on “Heavy Heart” is a track that many fans will adore for both its simplicity and its depth. Fans of authentic Americana music need to give this full album a spin. It’s got all of the elements of a complex songwriter, adventuring through life with her keen ears and eyes open to the best of human stories.

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