Where in the World Is Beth Bombara?

prof bombara_75Playing somewhere by Cincinnati, on the border of Kentucky on the river, with any one of the Deal sisters would be amazing.




prof bombara_copy

I’ve found that sometimes that playing games with people is one of the quickest ways to get some insight into their perspective, their motivations, and how they manifest. It’s an interesting barometer for temperament, and in many cases gives people a chance to shine, but in a different light than we’re accustomed to seeing them in. Game shows and quiz show type bits are ubiquitous on national television, and I think it’s high time people in our area got their chance to have that kind of fun in the press. Whether I’m the person able to make that happen or not is up for debate, but that’s not going to keep me from trying. Luckily for me, I happen to have a great subject to carry me through this first attempt…

So here’s the game: We’re going to route a tour, not an actual tour, but a factual tour. The only person who knows the route is yours truly. I’m going to provide hints for Beth to figure out the routing, while she gives us some insight into her journey leading into her new eponymous album and where it’s taken, and taking, her and her band.

Every trip has to have a point of departure, so the journey begins in the state where one-half of this duo hails from originally: https://youtu.be/jijg3lZQacc.

This one isn’t really fair of me, because both members of the band have relocated from where they started, and also recorded under different names when they were in their original locations. Kendall Meade recorded under the name Mascott before doing the Anders and Kendall album, and is from Michigan, if my sources can be trusted after all these years.

Well, I couldn’t answer the Michigan question. Lame! Sometimes the most obvious things slip through the cracks. Ah, well… I spent the first 21 years of my life living in the western Michigan area. When I was 21, I moved to Oklahoma for a year before settling in St. Louis. “Living” in Oklahoma is a loose term, because I was traveling for much of that time.

Michigan will always hold a special place in my heart. I love being close to large bodies of water. One time, I traveled across Lake Michigan on a ferry. Three-and-a-half-hour trip; it was incredible and I’m lucky I didn’t get seasick. I was worried for a minute there.

Your first stop is somewhere near where either half of this group is from: https://youtu.be/7GdZHg5mFcE. What state might we be in?


That’s the one! Are there any threads tying you to that place?

For growing up in Michigan, it seems strange that I never spent much time there. Or maybe that’s not strange. When I was in a punk band, we did play somewhere in Toledo. The only thing I remember was that the guitarist of another band that night started taking his clothes off on stage until he was only wearing his socks and whitey-tighties.

What music comes to mind when you think of Ohio and does any of it inspire you?

I’m not sure why, but I think of raunchy rock ’n’ roll. It’s probably very much related to the incident I just described. Maybe it’s been permanently branded into my brain. I’m looking forward to going back to Ohio soon, so I can replace this experience.

What would be the dream tour scenario for you to play there?

I think playing somewhere by Cincinnati, on the border of Kentucky on the river (I love water), with any one of the Deal sisters would be amazing.

Your next stop takes you to the current home base for this fellow: https://youtu.be/PLS4YoSym6w. What city have you arrived in?


Precisely! Do you have any connections there?

These days have brought me to Nashville on a semi-regular basis. I feel like I always hear about someone I know moving there. Coincidentally, I have a handful of friends there that I like to make a point to visit every so often.

What’s it like to play there, and what would be your pinnacle achievement playing there?

It’s a surprisingly fun place to play once I got past the intimidation. Everyone there is top notch, but they also seem to be really nice people. I’ll never forget how surprised JJ was after he played a solo on the lap steel and everyone clapped really loud for him. You could tell he definitely wasn’t used to that. There’s a certain amount of respect for music there that you don’t see everywhere. If I ever played at the Ryman, I’d think I’d died and gone to heaven.

Your next stop is going to put you in the home state of this band, though they have relocated since: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0nAvtOrHUE. What state are you in?


Yes, the diamond state, home of Tyson Chicken and Walmart. What was your impression of Arkansas or about some of your experiences there?

The first time I ever set foot in Arkansas, I was traveling in Samantha Crain’s band. We played at a cozy spot called the Whitewater Tavern, and that place has earned a special place in my heart. It was kind of a wild time, and the band was trying to get me to sell multiples of the same CD to patrons who were really enjoying their drinks. It worked. Later on, we passed through Texarkana, and I saw a horse tied to someone’s front porch. You know, like where you usually lock a bike up or something. I’d never seen anything like it.

In what may not come as a surprise, you’ll be swinging through the home state of these gentlemen: https://youtu.be/i2T6NuJVweU. Where have you found yourself now?


What comes to mind when you think of Oklahoma?

I’d never been to Oklahoma until 2007, when I moved just outside of OKC to play music with Samantha Crain. I lived there for about a year when we weren’t touring, and worked in a warehouse tagging clothing for a couple months.

Does Oklahoma evoke a particular vibe musically for you?

The first time I saw red dirt in person it really struck me. I thought it was very beautiful. The landscape and the small towns make me think of the Old West, and “Western” vibes in general: horses, livestock, working the land, and getting your hands dirty. But there’s also an underlying aching to it all. The history of the land and the people who were forced from it. Small towns in which poverty is the way of life.

Where would you like to play if you visited Oklahoma on tour? What song would you dedicate to the people there?

Playing in Woody Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah would be an experience. I would dedicate the song “Greet the Day”

The singer of this song is not from this place, but could be based on her lyrics and stylistic choices, and they still probably love this song and embrace it like she was: https://youtu.be/LFasFq4GJYM. Where ya at?


Nope! There is a sports team in California that relocated from this city in the ’80s. Actually, all their sports teams have a sort of theme to them, and this song invokes one.

OK. Think I got this now: Kansas City. I was really impressed with the outdoor market there when I went last year. I don’t have very strong ties there, except that I feel like I should go there more often since, in the grand scheme of all my travels, it is only a hop, skip, and a jump. We have a college friend who lives there, who has recently been doing some stand-up comedy. It’s been my goal to go hear him sometime. He’s one of the funniest people I know.

But since you brought it up, what’s your take on the Golden State? Do you have any ties there?

This is a place I’ve never been, but hope I can go soon. I hear that it’s beautiful, but that you might get sick of the sun. I find that very hard to believe.

Where are you going to be Saturday, June 27?

Off Broadway in St. Louis.

Who’s joining you for this show and where are they from?

My band? JJ Hamon, Karl Eggers, Corey Woodruff. They all live in St. Louis, but Karl is soon moving to Springfield, Mo. The other bands playing are a new St. Louis band, The River Kittens, and Loot Rock Gang (also from STL).

Do you have any memories from Off Broadway that stand out?

Too many memories to pick from! I’ve spent so many nights there seeing great bands, and also performing on stage. It really feels like a second home. Seems like it wasn’t uncommon to find ourselves hanging out after the bar closed and ordering late-night delivery. Sharing the stage with Centro-matic at Twangfest was an experience I’ll never forget.

What song from the new album do you feel is tailor-made to be played there?

“Thunder and Rain.” There’s a dance floor there, and I really want to see people use it. It would make my night | Willie Edward Smith

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