St. Louis, Missouri artist Beth Bombara creates holistic music that resonates with an earnest glow that shines through the dour storm clouds of today’s complicated times. With her new album Map and No Direction slated for release in early March, it is our pleasure to premiere the “Made, For Now” that both nestles up in comforts of complacency while awaiting the next big inevitable upheavel that life always offers up in the next sequential phase. Winning hearts up & down the festival circuits, Bombara makes music that mirrors the various highs & lows of creativity, destruction, successes & failures that are acknowledged as honest observations of our shared human orders of daily, moment to moment existences.
“Made, For Now” is an acknowledgement of all the wondrous gifts, treasures & counted blessings of the temporal & ever fleeting material world. The chorus alludes to the title’s “Made, For Now” state of the union that is quickly countered with the inevitable, “at least until we tear it down” that tackles the constant shifts of balance, inbalance, content & discontentment that compliment one another like the yin’s correlation to the yang. Beth arranges the chords & rhythms along a peppy plane that confronts all of life’s changes & shifts with an open-minded honesty that embraces uncertainty alongside the safe feelings of security. The good, the bad & the ehhh are understood & entertained in the same light that casts a melody of hope for all approaching & incoming struggles. “Made, For Now” is a rustic modern hymn for all those who feel apprehensive about the future where Bombara emphasizes the importance of reclaiming your life so no one else can live it for you. Read our interview with Beth immediately after the following debut.
Describe the process of reckoning & coping with low feeling sentiments that helped inspire Map and No Direction.
This record came from a pretty dark place. I’m generally a glass half-full kind of person, and I’ve never experienced anything so crippling. Looking back, there was a gradual decline (over a few months) before I was able to really grasp what was happening. I just woke up one day, and all the joy was gone. Things I’m always excited about, I didn’t want to do anymore… playing music, reading, working on writing songs. Some days I could barely get out of bed. It really scared the shit out of me. I think a lot of it was self-doubt, mixed with the stress of being on the road months at a time. I was really embarrassed and didn’t know how to talk about it. It took help and support from my friends and especially my partner Kit (Hamon). I forced myself to try to write again, even though I didn’t feel like it; there was this strange cognitive and emotional dissonance that I slowly started chipping away at. The forced writing is what led to the song Map & No Direction. It was my way of processing what I was going through and how lost I was feeling. I think that was my tipping point.
For you how did you notice a change in your own songwriting approach?
It seems like songs have always come to me in fits and starts, but these days I’m a lot more intentional with my songwriting. Before, I would just wait for inspiration to strike. Now I’m kind of chasing after it. I’m trying to write whether or not I feel particularly inspired…it’s been interesting to get into different creative modes that way. Also, I’ve started collaborating more with Kit. He’s a great writer, and we approach things very differently, which (I think) helps bring out something new from each of us.
How have the recent events of civil unrest & racial divides in St. Louis further impacted your process?
It’s not just St. Louis. We live in a weird & heartbreaking time for our country, watching people call out and respond to a lifetime’s dose of racism. I’m still trying to understand the day-to-day of it, but I know that people deserve to be heard. I struggle with feeling powerless. But I’m getting more involved in my community, and trying to learn how to discuss difficult issues in a non-divisive manner. I also hope that somehow, writing about what I see going on in the city and encouraging others to be positive forces of change…I hope that’s a meaningful contribution of some sort.
What are the current situations like now in St. Louis?
I guess there’s still a lot of tension in the air, but citizens seem energized to fight even harder for equality and to hold our local government and its agencies accountable for their actions. There continues to be some really shady stuff going on, and transparency is hard to find, which I know is not just St. Louis…deflecting and finger pointing seem to be in style. A bit of an aside, I see a huge social and economic divide between St. Louis City and St. Louis County, which continues to divide & hurt the region. The issues are complex and sadly there are no quick fixes, but I have hope that things will improve. We’ll see fresh energy and new leadership in the coming year, including a new mayor. For the record, St. Louis is a great city and it’s been wonderful to see the growth it’s encouraged for small business owners, restaurants, tech startups, as well as artists and musicians. People seem proud of what’s going on here, and willing to support each other in their efforts. There’s a lot of history and spirit in this town, and I think that carries through even today.
Other local, or not so local artists that you are really into right now?
Local artists- American Wrestlers, Bruiser Queen, Middle Class Fashion, Jack Grelle, Bugchaser, Dino Fight!
2017 battle plan?
Play as many cities as possible. We’ll be working with At The Helm Records in the UK to put out the album in Europe, and I’m looking forward to playing shows over there. Keep working, keep writing. I’d like to do some more collaborative work with other musicians as well.
I think most artists want to bring their music to larger audiences. Mostly, I’m grateful for the fans that have grown with me to this point, and continue to make this all possible. I hope we can keep doing this for a long while.
Beth Bombara’s Map and No Direction will be available in March. Listen to more from Beth via Soundcloud.