Artist Interview: Beth Bombara
Photo credit: Nate Burrell
The story of Beth Bombara is that of a lifelong musician. From the outset of my interview with her she put it succinctly, “I don’t remember a time I wasn’t in a band.” It’s that simple. As I tried to nail down exactly what she meant by that, she came to the conclusion she’s been in a band since middle school. She cannot be separated from music.
What I really loved about how Beth interacts with music is, in her words, she enjoys, “picking up a guitar and making sense out of a melody.” Well that should hit just about every creative person like a ton of bricks. If that doesn’t explain the creative process, I don’t know what does. Now when you combine this way of understanding the world with a personality trait described as being very “empathetic,” Bombara tends to channel other people’s emotions into her own songs. She feels more strongly than most people and that attachment to others through song permeates nearly every track of her recent self titled album.
The album reflects several of Bombara’s musical influences, including many we might expect to hear from a self proclaimed Americana, roots, folk, and rock musician. She cites The Clash, 90s punk rock, Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Those are some pretty incredible artists that come together in Bombara’s writing. Her experiential and expressive style shows off both a time-honored love for these music greats as well as a desire to push the envelope of her own creativity.
For me these qualities in Bombara’s art synthesize beautifully in the track “Heavy Heart.” It’s full of heartache and sadness that combines the true story of her own grandfather’s death with stories from her friends. All of these true stories of mourning and grief generate a powerful, moving piece that exposes her empathetic heart. The song was born out of so many people around her experiencing loss; that empathy and desire to share in others’ sadness triggered this well-written, exceptional song.
This is all good for understanding Bombara the artist, but I also wanted to get to know a little more about her as a person. While she’s been on tour (one that has he on the road until September, so stop out at a show and say hi!), she’s been listening to a few great podcasts such as This American Life and another for us music nerds called Song Exploder. She also mentioned some records she’s been spinning more for her own enjoyment than for professional development. She said, “I’ve been listening to some old records at home lately, including Van Morrison (Moondance), Neil Young (Harvest), and The Kinks (Muswell Hillbillies). Also been enjoying some newer music from Courtney Barnett and Sleater Kinney.”
Feel free to check out Beth Bombara’s website, tour, and recent album. She’s a talented singer songwriter and we hope you’ll give her music a spin.