PREMIERE | Beth Bombara Enchants On ‘I Only Cry When I’m Alone/Upside Down’
St. Louis electric roots-rock artist Beth Bombara premieres the music video for two tracks — “I Only Cry When I’m Alone” and “Upside Down” — on Medium. Both tracks are from her new album, Evergreen, dropping today, featuring the talents of Samuel Gregg (guitar), Mike Schurk (drums), and Kit Hamon (bass).
Like a chain, the songs on Evergreen forge a sonic nexus, each song linked to the next across leitmotifs, ambiance, and echoing timbres, intuitively shaping a synergetic passageway composed of sound. So much so, Bombara elected to shoot one uninterrupted video encompassing two songs.
Evergreen’s genesis occurred after months of touring, when Bombara was taking a breather at an isolated cabin in the Rocky Mountains. As she roamed through the rugged landscape, ideas for songs materialized.
Bombara explains the sensation, “I wasn’t writing a new record — at least, I didn’t think I was at the time. But I’m starting to realize, that’s just what I do. I write songs. You know how trees exhale oxygen? They don’t think too hard about oxygen…it’s just a byproduct of their existence. Well, songs are a byproduct of my existence. I’ve already exhaled these songs, but maybe they’re a needed breath for someone else. And the idea that even one other person needs them is what fulfills me.”
Later, the ideas coalesced into actual songs amid a variety of circumstances: a friend’s basement, in the middle of soundchecks, and while touring in support of Bombara’s 2017 album, Map and No Direction. The result is Evergreen, an album of pure musical elegance and beauty.
“I Only Cry When I’m Alone” opens on weeping riffs flowing into a gorgeously contagious So-Cal rock-lite melody infused with delicious country flavors, as well as tints of pop. Vaguely reminiscent of early Taylor Swift sans the potent pop filaments, the music gleams with drawling hues and glistening coruscations.
Bombara’s sublime voice is the highlight of the song, full of effortless rich round tones and buttery surface colors. Elusively tantalizing timbres worm their way into listeners’ ears, producing responses of wonderment and magnetic attraction.
“Upside Down” rides a powerful rhythmic pulse driven by the muscle of the bass, as well as tight finessed drumming. The transition from “I Only Cry When I’m Alone” to “Upside Down” is seamless, demonstrating the unbroken sonic pressure alluded to earlier. Dual layers of guitars, one shimmering, the other bright and skiffing, imbue the tune with tasty creamy movement, as Bombara’s bewitching voice glides forth on cashmere textures.
The video, directed by Sean Kirkland, delivers two completely different visual milieus. In “I Only Cry When I’m Alone,” Bombara wears a sequence of posh ensembles, including a stylish wide-brimmed white hat, whereas in “Upside Down” she appears as a custodian, caparisoned in jeans and a yellow shirt, as she vacuums.
“I Only Cry When I’m Alone” and “Upside Down” are marvelous sonic confections, traveling on infectious rhythms and glinting guitars. Still, the icing on the cake is Beth Bombara’s oh so seductive voice.