The Light Inside
Bob Harris OBE (congrats!) called Marybeth D’Amico’s songs extraordinary after the release of her 2008 debut album, so no pressure on this follow up, then! As any good country album should be, this one is full of death and dying, broken dreams and heartache. D’Amico may be attempting to move away from her country roots, but as yet her songwriting, though darker, still holds true to them.
The opening track “The Darkest Day” sets the tone for the album with a tale of depression and the difficulty of seeing a way out of its depths. This is followed by “Beneath the Rubble”, a song about losing one’s mind. “Stubborn Land” finally starts to provide some hope with a tale of determination to find a better life – will you walk along this stony road with me? As the album progresses, the listener begins to see patches of light inside the darkness.
The highlight of the album is “Der Grenzer”, which tells the story of a German guard patrolling the border between the former East and West. With orders to shoot anyone who attempts to cross, he has reservations as to whether he is on the right side both literally and figuratively. It is estimated that around a thousand people were killed trying to make the crossing, some of those were themselves border guards.
Sensibly, D’Amico has gathered together a very experienced band with a wide range of musical experience, for what is almost always the difficult second album. This decision has paid great dividends as they are knowledgeable enough to provide just the right amount of backing without ever overpowering the words, a skill not mastered by all.
She’s not the finished article yet, but D’Amico should be a bright light for years to come.