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MARYBETH D'AMICO The Light Inside (2011)

Marybeth D'Amico

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

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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