November 2008 I ran into the American singer-songwriter Marybeth D’Amico at the Roepaen stage in the Netherlands. She was sharing a bill with Jeffrey Foucault en Nels Andrews (go figure! and Kaki King had cancelled!) and was accompanied by Rob van Duuren on pedal steel and my friend Alex Akela on violin and bass. (wanna see? check this video)
A couple of her songs really gave me goosebumps (Ohio, Where I Lay My Baby Down, Every Week) and we got to talk after the show. We stayed in touch via MySpace (remember..?) and in 2010 she stayed at our house during her BeNeLux tour, and we played together at a house concert.
Marybeth made a move to being a professional musician relatively late in her life and has been an inspiration ever since the day I met her in Ottersum in 2008. She tought me not to shy away from deeper, darker or controversial subjects in my own songs and to tap into universal emotions. In this video I have a go at one of Marybeth’s songs that immediately got to me when I heard it the forst time: “Star-Crossed” from her second album “The Light Inside”.
MaryBeth made an EP and two full length albums. Her voice and melodies, as well as the production (hat tip to Bradley Kopp!) are easily palatable, thereby sometimes masking the depth of her intense and serious lyrics. I strongly recommend you to check them out. She won’t be making any more, as she passed away October 4th 2015, struck by cancer.
In a way, Star-Crossed applies to Marybeth and me too, as we had plans for touring together, but fate got in the way.
Marybeth, here’s to you.