Marybeth D’Amico is known for literate songs that tell dark little stories. Her 2008 debut, Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption, was peopled with accused murderers,
prostitutes and rebellious teenagers. Perhaps due to her journalistic background, the singer-songwriter seems naturally drawn to themes that have an edge to them. “But I still like people to be able to sing along,” insists Marybeth, who recently returned to the States after a long hiatus in Europe.
The release of her second album, The Light Inside, finds the New Jersey native taking a more personal look at the forces of darkness. The album deftly combines these personal reflections with her signature character-driven tunes, in an effort that one critic said “approaches the level of established artists such as Lori McKenna, Patty Griffin, Eliza Gilkyson and Kimmie Rhodes.”
Neither do the songs on The Light Inside easily settle into one genre. “Stubborn Land” could be straight from the Linda Ronstadt country-rock era, “Star-Crossed” the folk ballad Gillian Welch never wrote and “Der Grenzer”—featuring producer Bradley Kopp’s gritty electric guitar — demonstrates a CSNY-style groove. Austin-based Kopp (Iain Matthews, Eliza Gilkyson, Jimmie Dale Gilmore) has brought together world-class musicians for D’Amico’s
sophomore effort. Featured are Paul Pearcy (The Dixie Chicks, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Willie Nelson) on drums, Glenn Fukunaga (Bob Dylan, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo) on bass, David Webb (Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy La Fave, Eric Taylor) on keyboards, Mark Hallman (Carole King, Iain Matthews, Dan Fogelberg) on mandolin, mandola and bouzouki, with Kopp himself accompanying the band on acoustic and electric guitars.
Marybeth’s debut drew critical praise on both sides of the Atlantic, launching at #10 on the Euro Americana Charts and chosen as a top DIY pick in Performing Songwriter magazine. BBC 2 DJ Bob Harris called her songs “extraordinary” and Marybeth played a live session on Bob’s show in 2010.
She has toured extensively in the U.K., Holland and Germany, sharing stages with Antje Duvekot, Meg Hutchison,Natalia Zuckerman, Jeffrey Foucault, Amanda Shires & Rod Picott, Rachel Harrington and Drew Nelson. The Light Inside is being released by UK Label LongMan Records and more touring is ahead in Europe and the US.
Marybeth D'Amico, acoustic guitar and vocals
Rotating duet members depending on location
"The Light Inside" released in Europe by LongMan Records in June 2011. A September 25 2011 launch is planned for the USA, with an extensive mailout to US press and radio DJs.
Debut album, "Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption" released independently in Europe in July 2008. Album charts two straight months on the Euro Americana Charts in August-September 2008.
HHSR picked up for distribution by Continental Records (formerly Rounder Europe) and re-released in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands in 2009.
Extensive radio play in the UK, Holland, Belgium and Germany, including play on BBC 2's Bob Harris Show, where Marybeth plays a live session in May 2010. Selective airplay on folk stations in the US and Canada.
Album also featured on Germany's Hessischer Rundfunk in 2010.
"Oblivion" voted one of top 20 Songs on Acoustic Pie Radio in August 2008
Six song E.P. "Waiting to Fly" released November 2006 with radio play in Holland, Belgium and Germany.
"Dark but flawless sounding, exquisitely performed, slightly rocky folk songs."
"dark but flawless sounding, exquisitely performed, slightly rocky folk songs."
"Delivers as fine an experience as many of her better-known peers"
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They just keep on coming. Marybeth D’Amico is yet another of those singer/songwriters who might neve...They just keep on coming. Marybeth D’Amico is yet another of those singer/songwriters who might never become a household name but who can deliver as fine an experience as many of her better-known peers. Her first album Heaven, Hell, Sin and Redemption, as its title might suggest was an exploration if the seamier and darker side of life. On this second album she tackles weighty subjects such as the Berlin Wall (she lives in Germany) and the aftermath of natural disasters such as earthquakes and storms. When she gets down to relationships she looks on the dismal side, her characters appears to be fixed, unable to change their destinies which on the whole don’t bode well. Recorded in Texas with producer Bradley Kopp (Eliza Gilkyson, Jimmie Dale Gilmore) and featuring a fine band behind her several of the songs surge strongly with soulful organ and crunchy guitars very much in Kathleen Edwards’ style. Chief of these is Don’t Look Back which is a terrific song with a radio friendly sound. Inside Out is more reminiscent of that other Williams, Lucinda, bluesy with some fine slide guitar work from producer Kopp, D’Amico sings of someone trying to salvage some honour following a break up, putting on a brave front but inside failing miserable, retiring to her room to cry. Powerful stuff. The jaunty acoustic picking of Reborn lifts the mood of the album although it appears to be about a woman saved from suicide by the birth of her child. No matter, this brief shard of light is swallowed by the following Der Grenzer, the song about the Wall. Taken at a funereal pace with martial drumming this is a modern folk song that chills. D’Amico remains in folky mode with Star Crossed, another song that sounds as if it was forged many years ago.
Overall then is a very strong album and it’s almost guaranteed that the likes of Bob Harris will be playing it soon.
"D'Amico is ready for a breakthrough"
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Marybeth D'Amico made quite an impression in 2009 with ten songs on Hell, Heaven, Sin & Redemption. ...Marybeth D'Amico made quite an impression in 2009 with ten songs on Hell, Heaven, Sin & Redemption. For this second album the American - still living in Germany - travelled back to Texas to work again with producer Bradley Kopp as well as Paul Pearcy (drums), Glen Fukunaga (bass) David Webb (keys) and Mark Halman (mandolin, mandola & bouzouki). In these twelve new songs they accompany D'Amico in country, (country)rock and folky ballads. The songs are more electric compared to the first album, but again there's the distinctive contrast between the despair in D'Amico's lyrics and the emotional conviction she uses to bring her message accross, with her typical nasal southern drawl. Kopp's brilliant production supports love pain, the doubts of a border guard about stopping illegal immigrants or the simple but touching expression of love to her child. D'Amico is ready for a breakthrough.
"An undiscovered country/folk gem"
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I was so impressed by Marybeth D'Amico's debut album Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption (2009) that I na...I was so impressed by Marybeth D'Amico's debut album Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption (2009) that I named it as one of my albums of the year. No mean feat on a classic rock site for an album rooted in the country crossover genre.
If we're to believe the hype, the American singer songwriter's 'difficult' second album - The Light Inside - signals a move away from the country/folk of her debut to a more rock orientated sound. According to producer Bradley Kopp, even edging toward the sort of accompaniment found on some of Zeppelin's acoustic material.
That may be wishful thinking, but there's no denying the album features another excellent supporting cast in the form of Paul Pearcy (The Dixie Chicks, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Willie Nelson) on drums, Glenn Fukunaga (Bob Dylan, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo) on bass, David Webb (Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy La Fave, Eric Taylor) on keyboards, and Mark Hallman (Carole King, Iain Matthews, Dan Fogelberg) on mandolin, mandola and bouzouki with Kopp contributing acoustic and electric guitars.
The strength of Marybeth's debut was her Suzanne Vega storyteller style delivery and a really strong set of songs. And while The Light Inside does indeed stray into the softer rock habitat of the likes of The Eagles, CS&N, and Sheryl Crow, it's the moodier, slower and more stripped back numbers like Beneath The Rubble, Der Grenzer, and Star-Crossed that hone in on the singer and the song that continue to impress the most. In a not dissimilar way to much of fellow singer songwriter Tina Dico's work.
That said, if you're looking for a worldwide radio friendly piece of pop/ rock look no further than the magnificent Don't Look Back. Shawn Colvin would die for a song like that.
Another very fine record from an artist who deserves much wider recognition.
Review by Pete Whalley
"Her stories deserve to be heard."
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We met Marybeth online when we discovered that we had a mutual admiration for certain female singe...
We met Marybeth online when we discovered that we had a mutual admiration for certain female singer-songwriters: Patty Griffin, Lori McKenna, and Kathleen Edwards, and more. As we found out later Marybeth, an American living in Germany, is a singer-songwriter herself and has taken her love for the music and lyrical styles of her musical idols and charged headfirst into writing her own songs.
Her debut album, “Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption,” is a wonderful collection of character-driven songs – a restless single mother, a minister involved in a sex scandal, and a true story of a Death Row prisoner in Ohio.
Despite some of the tough subjects explored, this is no downer of an album. The music – mostly guitar, bass, keyboards backed with pedal steel and fiddle flourishes – is catchy and emotion-filled. Like Griffin and Edwards, Marybeth fleshes out her characters, allowing the listener to sympathize, if not empathize, with their fate.
“Every Week,” about a guy who visits a prostitute, is honest and nonjudgmental; the dire song “Ohio,” about a Death Row inmate, is based on a letter an Englishman imprisoned for arson and murder in America sent to the BBC: “There was a fire and a young girl died in Ohio/ I said I wasn’t there, but they don’t care in Ohio/ I’ve been sitting here for 20 years in Ohio.”
Marybeth didn’t start writing and performing her own songs until 2002, after losing her full-time job as a journalist. In fact, maybe it’s the journalist’s eye that catches the essence of her subjects’ struggles so clearly.
Marybeth has proven that her stories deserve to be heard.
If I am a headliner, I sing two sets of 10 songs, lasting about two hours with a break. About 1/8 of the songs are covers. More recently I play in a duet or solo rather than in a band.
Here is a recent two-set list. All songs are mine except otherwise noted, covers indicated with a *.
Don’t Look Back
A Love Story
Beneath the Rubble
Where I Lay My Baby Down
*Help Me Make It Through the Night
This is My World
The Darkest Day
Nothing Without You
*I’m on Fire
Down within the Darkness
There are no upcoming dates at this time.