Marybeth D’Amico: The Light Inside
With her new album, The Light Inside, Marybeth D’Amico has given us a feel for how she sounds with the band plugged in, while staying true to her songwriter roots.
The Light Inside would hardly be considered a rock album, but the songs with a rock edge, such as Inside Out, Der Grenzer and Don’t Look Back, show Ms. D’Amico at her best. This was a little surprising, as I tend to picture Ms. D’Amico with an acoustic guitar and think of her as a folk singer, or at least on that end of the Americana spectrum. I’m not alone here – most comparisons you read will run in that direction. On Inside Out, though, Ms. D’Amico’s vocals are much closer to Barbara Keith (The Stone Coyotes) than to Mary Chapin Carpenter, and the result is one of the strongest songs on the record.
In fairness, the majority of the songs on the album are more what you might expect based on her prior work. Even the folkier songs pack quite a punch, though. Beneath The Rubble, This House and Walk Away tell sad tales of destruction and breakup. While Walk Away lacks the physical destruction chronicled in the other two songs, it’s easily the most brutal of the three. Ms. D’Amico is certainly not afraid of darker themes.
I’m showing my mando leanings here, but my personal favorite on this CD is Reborn. Once again casting herself a bit against type, Ms. D’Amico delivers a song that sounds traditional, acoustic, and (dare I say) gospel. At least until you listen to the lyrics. I should give a tip of the hat here to Bradley Kopp, who produced the album, for its overall musical quality. The record traverses genre but sounds as good with Reborn’s acoustic guitar and mandolin as it does with the instruments plugged in. Speaking of instruments, Ms. D’Amico is backed by a solid band (Paul Percy on drums, Glenn Fukunaga on bass, David Webb on keyboards, Mark Hallman on mandolin, etc., and Kopp on guitar).
One of the reasons why Ms. D’Amico is often compared to more established singer-songwriters is because she writes a good song. This was evident with her last record, Heaven, Hell, Sin & Redemption, and comes shining through again with The Light Inside. The CD has been released by LongMan Records in the UK; it will be released in the US later this month.