Beth Bombara has been releasing albums since 2007, but she’s been active even longer than that. She formed a punk band called “Green Means Go” in high school and was a member of Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers. Her latest, Evergreen is her seventh release. Produced by John Calvin Abney (John Moreland’s sidekick for years) featuring Bombara’s husband Kit Hamon on bass and co-production, the record is addictive – I’ve been playing it for months.
Starting with “I Only Cry When I’m Alone”, Bombara sounds a bit like a country-noir Aimee Mann in her phrasing, along side the chiming guitars of herself and Samuel Gregg. Her sound is muscular when it needs to be (such as the stomper “Upside Down”), but able to break it down on moments such as “Tenderhearted” or the expansive “Does It Echo?” with its sweeping guitar lines and Abney’s soulful organ playing. The title cut has a feel akin to what it would sound like if Blondie’s Debbie Harry recorded in Nashville, while “Criminal Tongue” has attitude to spare.
The record ends with the low-key yet biting “All Good Things”, just vocal and piano, riveting with a simple, understated urgency – All good things must end/Time will tell my friend/Cause if this is great again/Then where did we begin? – a much-needed call to arms in this day and age. This is one of my favorite releases this year, and makes me want to discover her back catalog. Highly recommended.