Beth Bombara

April 5, 2018

With a folksinger’s head and a rocker's heart, Beth Bombara has built her career on an evolving sound that blurs the lines between genres. To those who make their living onstage, she's a musician's musician — a road warrior who writes her own exemplary material, plays multiple instruments, and fronts her own band, often a duo with her husband.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Well, I’m a musician and songwriter, so I write and record my songs, and then I perform them for people all across the country (and most recently in Europe). I really see myself as a songwriter rather than an artist of a specific genre. . . it’s always morphing a bit. Someone once told me I had a folk-singer’s head and a rocker’s heart.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Right now I’m mainly working on writing for a new album and continuing to tour.

How has living in St. Louis affected your music? I started out playing in rock bands in Michigan and listening to a lot of heavier music. I think it was partially the specific time in my life (early 20’s) as well as a change in my surroundings. When I moved from Michigan to the St. Louis area, I met a lot of folk/roots/bluegrass players who were into artists like John Hartford all the way to Gillian Welch. There’s this rich roots music history in St. Louis and the surrounding Ozarks that sort of seeps into your bones, all the way from folk and bluegrass, to rock and blues.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? That’s a hard question, and I’m sure it depends on the season! But, I’ve developed a fondness for the desert over the past few years of touring, especially the southwestern US. So right now, I’d say that the Saguaro National Forest in Tucson, Arizona is my favorite place to be. But, ask me again in a few years!

What is one of the bigger challenges you and/or other musicians are struggling with these days and how do you see it developing? We live in an age where the average person is bombarded by a billion different messages each day. It’s a huge challenge to cut through the noise and make a meaningful connection with people. I’m not sure what the answer to that is, but it helps to be confident in who you are as an artist, and not try to be everything to everyone. Realize that not everyone is going to dig what you’re doing and that’s okay. Just find the people who are into it. Simultaneously, the internet has made it harder and easier to do just that. We’re still on the cutting edge of it all, and it’s changing every day.

What do you want a listener to walk away with after hearing your music? One of the most powerful things music can do is connect us with our own humanity–our hopes, fears, doubts and struggles. I hope that in some way, people can feel that connection.

What was the last show you went to that stuck out to you? Ezra Furman & Anna Burch at the Duck Room, St. Louis.

If you hadn’t become a musician, what do you think you’d be doing? I have a real interest in plants and gardening, so I’d like to think I’d be a botanist or something like that.

What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you? I used to play soccer in college, and have torn both of my ACL’s as a result.

What do you do when you’re not working on music? Go on long bike rides (sometimes 30-40 miles), grow vegetables, watch documentaries, try to see other bands play, throw toy mice for my cat to catch.