Chief Community Builder Katie Anne Mitchell sat down with Standing ‘O’ artist Mary Beth Cross for a casual conversation.
To listen to this interview (and two of Mary Beth’s songs from her recent EP “Feels Like Home“) click this link: https://www.standingoproject.com/interview/mary-beth-cross/
Katie: I’m sitting here with Mary Beth Cross who is one of our Standing ‘O’ artists and she just released an EP called “Feels Like Home” that is under consideration for four Grammys, which is incredibly impressive. Mary Beth, welcome to our program.
Mary Beth: Katie, it’s great to be here. So glad you invited me.
Katie: I’m so glad to have you on this. I listened to your EP this morning and it’s just incredible and I really want to dive into that more, but I want to start with your journey as a musician. So you started playing when you were twelve, is that correct?
Mary Beth: Yeah, I mean I’ve been singing I think since I first saw Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz and I just always had an affinity for singing and music and my mom had me in dance. So I was always around music, classical and the folk music of the ’70’s was in our homes because I had four older brothers and sisters so we had such a variety of tastes as you can imagine. Everything from The Carpenters, Seals and Crofts, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel.
Katie: So all the greats.
Mary Beth: Yeah, and then just like this crazy 8-track tape (I’m totally dating myself), but this 8-track that came with the stereo when my mom and dad finally got a new stereo and it was so funny because that’s where “Long, long time” came from. There was this country classics collection and then there was this Burt Bacharach mix and John Denver “Back Home Again” and so whenever we needed to clean the house, my mom would just slip in John Denver and I’d just get lost in the music and bam! The house was clean and everybody won. I had a good time doing it.
Katie: So she bribed you into doing the chores with John Denver.
Mary Beth: Yeah! And Anne Murray “Snowbird” and Linda Ronstadt “Long, long time”, so when I think back to the hot summer days where you can’t go to the pool until the house is clean…literally, that music, the minute I here a song, I’m right back in Green Bay.
Katie: That’s so funny. Well, now I can kind of see where some of your influences for the covers you chose for your CD come from. That’s really interesting. Was the rest of your family musical? Did any of them explore the musical side of themselves? Did they perform or was it just you?
Mary Beth: Everybody else took piano. I do have a brother who currently sings with the St. Norbert choir at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. It’s with the music program and such. It’s with a community choir and church and things like that. I would say athletics has always been something which we enjoyed as sisters. We’ve run half-marathons together and things like that. For one of my sisters, she’s currently really involved in crewing and actually just competed in the Head of the Charles Regatta out in Boston. So I would say, yes, always, but other things, you kind of move in and out of it depending on the season.
Katie: Other things set your family apart. Actually I lived in Boston for quite a while so I am familiar with the Head of the Charles. But that’s really exciting too because you were saying your sister was older than a lot of her crewmates as well and that was pretty inspirational.
Mary Beth: Yeah. Not to mention she’s legally blind and how she works full time, rides her bike down the to Mississippi River, jumps in a boat. It started off as just fun and of course, just like everything, getting back to how has the music evolved, you just do what you love and then all of the sudden you take it a little further and you take it a little further and then, before you know it, you’re sitting here looking at a Grammy consideration.
Katie: Well it seems like you just come from a very determined family and you’re an incredibly determined person yourself. I want to go back a little bit to when you decided to pursue music as a career.
Mary Beth: Well I too got a little sidetracked with biking and skiing and hiking and marathons and things like that during my twenties. I think it was in my late twenties, I was probably 28, and I took a leave of absence (I was a nurse) and I was feeling a little stuck, so I took a month off and I threw my bike in a box and I said, “I’m going to go listen to the music of Ireland and I’m going to bike around England and Ireland.” A couple guys from ski patrol that I worked with did this. I was a volunteer host at Copper Mountain Ski Patrol. So I did it and my mom was like “Oh my gosh. This is just insane”. This was before cell phones and GPS. It really was kind of stupid, but it was very freeing and very fun and I met my husband. He was in Liverpool at the time and I listened to music. So I was taking guitar lessons so I started back in guitar maybe in ’93, ’92 and I said, “I want to learn these Shawn Colvin songs”, it was my first time to Telluride. Mary Chapin Carpenter was big. Mary Black in Ireland, “A Woman’s Heart.” All of those wonderful artists, Maura O’Connell. I grew up with a great love of the accordion and guitar. So I went with the intention that I was going to bike from town to town and sit and listen to the music every night. So that’s exactly what I did. I’d bike twenty to fifty miles, jump in the shower, rinse out my clothes, hang them out the window to dry, go find a pub (where’s the session music?), get a pint of Guinness or a half-pint of Guinness and maybe a burger or a pub-fare type of meal and just sit in front of those session players and absorb the music. All the bouzouki and the guitar playing, all those alternate tunings and the Drop D and just those alternate chords that you play with that. I was just fascinated. I did that pretty much for a month.
Katie: Did you just do it without any intention of knowing what you’d get out of it? You just wanted to do it? Is that right?
Mary Beth: Yeah, this teacher basically said, “You should go to Ireland” and that was the extent of it.
Katie: You’re like “Ok!”
Mary Beth: I was like “Ok!” So then I talked to these friends from ski patrol who had two brothers, the Kelly brothers had done this, and they told me where they went and I found out where the good music was and found Doolin and Gallway. It doesn’t take long. In Ireland, it’s so fun because once you get into this country….the cities are the same everywhere, they’re busy, I’m not going to say Dublin isn’t busy and dangerous riding a bike. It’s like London. But when I got to the west coast, these two guys were sitting in this cafe, it’s like 10 in the morning and I’m like, “Don’t you guys have to get to work?” No, no, and they’re pouring over this map that I had debating over which route I should take to get up to Westport and up to Clifden and Connemara because Loreena Mckennitt told me at Telluride that I should go to Connemara if I’m going to Ireland. So I did. Literally it was like breadcrumbs.
Katie: Wow. Had you even played out at this point or you just happened to meet all these fantastic people while you were taking these guitar lessons?
Mary Beth: Well it really was that first trip to Telluride was really magical. It was really a good year to go and it was eye-opening. It was the first time I really thought, “This feels right to me.” Then, of course, there was another delay of game with getting married, continuing in my profession, having kids, taking a break from nursing. Then the kids were about 2 1/2 and 5 and I went to a Jackson Browne and Nanci Griffith concert at the Chatfield Botanical Gardens and there was Jackson Browne with ten guitars and his keyboard. The only time I had seen him was at Alpine Valley with a full band and I’m like, “Yeah, whatever.” When I saw him this time with just his instruments, with all those songs just distilled down to the one instrument and his songwriting? I mean he was singing all those songs from “For Everyman” and “There were Children at the Cannons” blah blah blah, it was all right around the time of Afghanistan and our invasion and all of this that we’ve been dealing with every since. I though, “This is art. This is timeless. This is powerful.” Then Nanci took the stage and it was like “Oh my gosh.” She’s so passionate and she and Mary Chapin and Shawn Colvin and Mary Black and Emmylou and all those guys—how do you get any better than that for songwriting and passionate influences? So it was great. She woke me basically and I thought, “Well I should get back to this.” So then I went to Swallow Hill. I also had heard Allison Krauss at Telluride and I thought, “Wow, she’s going to be something.” My sister and I still joke that we knew her before she was really big. Of course she was already big because she was playing Telluride, but in our world, it was like “We knew her before.” So I started learning her catalogue. I went into Swallow Hill to a guitar teacher, Ernie Martinez, and I said, “Ernie, I want to learn these songs. I think she sings like an angel and I just love this music.” And that’s what kind of got me into the folk and grass. The folky grass as I call it.
Katie: And then when did you start recording your own material?
Mary Beth: About a year later. I thought, “Well, I’ll just start.” We were on spring break with the kids in La Jolla coming down from Scripps Aquarium and learning about all the sea urchins and all the different sea creatures and earthquakes and tsunamis and things like that. We were listening to a program on NPR and this guy was talking about how his mom died and how he regretted not knowing her heart. I thought, “I got to tell them how it is. I love you guys, but it’s really hard.” That’s where “Mother of Sons” came from. It’s the best of times and it can be the hardest of times because you’re so tired and you’re stretched and you don’t really have a lot of time to take care of yourself and at the same time it’s a blast and you wouldn’t trade it for the world and it’s all these bittersweet emotions. Just like right now. Now Skylar’s a senior and we’re looking at colleges. We just got done applying to six colleges and every time I turn around I’m tearing up. I was looking at the Jan Brett book “The Mitten” that we used to read all the time. It’s this fabulous book.
Katie: No, I know The Mitten. Your heart just stops.
Mary Beth: Oh my God. There’s just certain books we poured over and over because they just loved it. I just thought, “I’ve got to get this.” I got five of them for nieces and nephews kids and cousin’s kids that are having babies because they’re just classics and you have to have this time with them to read and have those memories. We were laughing about the names of the characters just heading out on a college trip on fall break. That never goes away and so the time spent is good. But there’s also this need to express yourself so I was kind of doing it all at the same time.
Katie: Your music is so personal, by the way. Whether you’re doing a cover or your own tune, it just hits you right to the heart. Can we talk a little bit about your most recent EP “Feels Like Home?” It seems like a good time to talk about it…talking about sending your kid off to college and all of that lovely emotional stuff. What was the inspiration? How did you come up with “Feels Like Home”?
Mary Beth: Home isn’t all hunky-dory. There’s good times and bad times and conflict. We were just talking about differences in political opinion and that’s normal. Conflict and what we want to get to is part of it, and this is resolution. This is how we resolve and get back to love. We had a death in the family. My nephew died and he was twenty. Almost twenty-one. We were trying to make sense and get our heads around that. He took his own life and it was really a head-turner for all of us. My little sister is still grappling with how to get her head around it but we’re all finding our own ways of moving on and, for me, I always go right to the guitar. So “Kathy’s Song” was for Chris that I was singing to him. You’re still with us. There are degrees of separation, right? Whether you’re East Coast, Colorado, or California to the East Coast, or Heaven to Earth, or you’re at work and I’m at home or vice versa. I’m on the road, the rest of the family is at home. You can always take them with you.
Katie: Absolutely. That was such a beautiful song. Perfect song choice, can I just say, in “Kathy’s Song”.
Mary Beth: Well and we did have, that fall, a ton of rain and I thought, “Well this is a sign. I’m just supposed to go into the cocoon and feel it.” So, for me, I just love that song and I love the way Eva Cassidy did it. I used similar to her arrangement and verse choices. So that was where that one came from. Then a conversation with my dad about growing up on his family’s dairy farm in Wisconsin back in the ’40’s, he was about ten, and he had this great snapshot memory of when all the neighbors and the family would get together. They had a lot of Dutch dairy farmers settled in De Pere, Wisconsin. There were also a lot of Irish people and Belgium people. Wisconsin is this really big melting pot–Swiss, German. Just a real neat conglomeration of different immigrants that came in and settled because it felt like home. So he was telling me the story about falling asleep on the couch and literally the grown-ups were rolling the rugs up in the living room. After working all day, the ladies serving the Big Witness, the barn-raising scene from Witness, the movie. They all worked together, they brought in the grain, and then they partied. I think it was the joy of being together. I think back then they really knew the discipline of getting things done alone and with just your immediate family and then church was a big deal and community gatherings were big because it’s not like you had the option of technology to reach out beyond that.
Katie: I love that you have the sense of harkening back to that feeling of community in this “Feels Like Home” EP. This feels like something that we really need. Especially right now in our country and our current political environment. For anyone who’s listening at a later date, we’re talking on Election Day so we don’t know the results or anything yet. We just both came from the polls this morning. Or I did, she voted yesterday.
Mary Beth: Yeah and I think relationships are strained right now. Part of it is the tone is lost in text messaging and emails so it can be taken wrong. And you don’t have the warmth. I think it is good to get together with people. With faces and actually hear a voice.
Katie: Absolutely. I feel like when I was listening to this EP, I just had that sense of feeling like there might be conflict and there might be controversy within your family, but I had a feeling of family, which is something that is lost a lot today. And it felt good to reconnect with that so I think that this EP probably connects with a lot of people because a lot of people are feeling that distance right now. So thank you for that.
Mary Beth: Well, you’re welcome, and as Hillary said, we’re better together. Its kind of cliché and it’s becoming this catchall phrase but it’s true. It’s really hard to try to go it alone. It’s humbling and it’s good. There’s a time in life where it’s really good to do things by yourself. That’s what I’ve been trying to do with my boys. “Ok, now you brush your teeth. Now you fill out your college application. Now you fill out your SAT application. Now you drive yourself to the test. It’s about you and your future and you need to be thinking about those things.” So that’s good at this age. Then there’s my dad who is grappling with a peripheral neuropathy that’s really taking his independence from him on the other end of the spectrum at 86. So for him to share what his memory was at ten, this bleach-blonde towhead kid looking at all these older people. It’s really good for my kids to look at grandpa that way and to say, “He wasn’t always old.”
Katie: Yeah. He had his independence. He his youth and vibrancy and now needs you guys which, I’m sure, is difficult watching as a child to be needed by your parent as well. What an interesting transition.
Mary Beth: Yeah and just the whole circle-of-life. Not to quote The Lion King, but it’s really true. We have to accept certain things and it’s ok to ask for help.
Katie: What were some of your collaborations that were really influential for you in your musical journey?
Mary Beth: Well, each one, each producer I’ve worked with, each musician, each side guy, each harmony singer, whatever, each person I’ve done shows with, they’ve all helped me grow, they’ve all been good. Different people have different timing and different cadence to their commitment to what they can do with music depending on work and family and what have you. So there are times where I’ve had to say, “I need to let you go so you can move faster.” Other times I’ve had to say, “I need to do this on my own pace and I see that you don’t have the time to dedicate right now and that’s ok.” It’s the people that push you. It’s the people that are better than you that help you grown pretty darn fast. With the recording piece, I have to say, I just really love it. I love creating music. People can tell me, “Well that stunk.” And I’m like, “Ok.” I don’t care. I want to get better. I want to try it again. Let’s do it again then. Let’s get it right.
Katie: You have to have that humility. And it’s interesting that you mention making sure to work with people that are better than you and that’s actually something that’s been echoed in the interviews that we’ve done with Art of the Song and Standing ‘O’ is the importance of finding people that know more than you do and listening to them sometimes.
Mary Beth: Well, when I approached Chris Pandolfi for this, I said, “Hey, I heard what you did. I’ve been playing your song “Brighter Every day”. It’s not your song, it’s a Trout Steak song, but you produced that CD and it sounds like they’re sitting in my living room and I play it every day for my son on the way to school during eighth grade after the loss of my nephew and I said, “That’s just the thought to hang onto, Joe.” It’s going to get better. There’s going to be days where you feel it and days where you don’t feel good and days where it’s hard, but it’s going to get better. I told Travis and those guys at Trout Steak about that and they loved it. I just said, “I like the sound of that project, what kind of time do you even have and what would you charge?” So I knew he was going to do a good job based on what he’s done with The Dusters and with Trout Steak. So there was no question about that. Then when he said he’s now living out of Denver and that we could record it in Denver and that he could pull in Tyler Grant, I was all over that. Tyler has a really nice touch on the guitar and so it was Chris who picked the instrumentalists and they’ve worked together before so he knew what Tyler would do and what Adrian would do. The whole recording thing is it’s own thing. So I think it’s wonderful when a band can go in and they’re all able to do it well, but when you are paying people by the hour and you want to get it right forever, it’s kind of one of those forever things, you want to have it around for a long time, you don’t want to have to go back in in two years and redo something. So when you’re doing that you can do what I did on the first two CDs, which is play, sing, self-produce, pull in some people, I did that. Now, I’m at a point where I know what I would do in my mind with this, let’s see what this person would. Let’s see what Nashville will do. Let’s see what Chris Pandolfi will do. So then you find out, “Oh, he used my same arrangement. Cool!” Or “Oh! He changed it there” or “This is cool how he made it go into a bluegrass sound at that point in the song.” So each step of the way you learn something new hopefully and you grow.
Katie: Talk to me a little bit about your collaboration with Meadow Mountain.
Mary Beth: These guys were, most of them, four of them, at The Lamont School of Music and Ian Parker is the fiddle player for Meadow Mountain and his father and his mother are people that I knew from when I was a nurse at Lutheran Medical Center in the ’90’s and I was working as a volunteer ski host at Copper Mountain while Ian’s dad was a foreman on ski patrol. I was working in coronary care, taking care of his father-in-law and he walked into the unit and I thought, “Oh no, what did I do? I screwed something up on sweep last night.” He’s like, “No I’m here to see my father-in-law.” I said, “Oh. That’s my patient.” So then I met his wife, Paula, Ian’s mother, grandma. So his grandpa really liked me so Sam, 19 years later, we’re on Facebook and he said, “Oh my gosh, my son is down in your neighborhood at Lamont School of Music, why don’t you connect with the 40-10 String Band (which is what the name of their band was at the time)?” So I kind of checked them out and they were checking me out on Facebook and kind of watching so finally I found myself with a slot in the Rocky Grass Band Concert and I said, “Would you guys like to see if this is something you’d like to try to do together? It’s not going to be strictly bluegrass, but we could just do what we do and see how that fits in with what everybody else is doing and just learn from it.” So we got together and we all knew the same songs and the same kind of music because of their parents all being right around my age. It’s funny how the music, just like with me, seeped in and it’s felt like home to them too. So it was really a good fit and we’re all kind of willing to try new things and we’re all sitting on the edge of our seat saying, “Let’s try this. Let’s try that.” Even just getting ready for the Swallow Hill show, which we just did in October, it’s been a fun adventure.
Katie: Talk to me a little bit about the difference in your creative process when you’re working on your own versus when you’re working, for example, with Meadow Mountain.
Mary Beth: So they do a lot of progressive instrumental pieces and then they also write songs so, when we’re putting together, for example, a show, I’ll bring what I’ve done or a new song. I’m writing a song about Breckenridge for example. Little hint of things to come. Little song about a woman back in the mining days. She’s got five kids and she figures out she’s late and she’s trying to figure out what to do. So that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Katie: I’m so excited.
Mary Beth: Yeah, it’s called Breckenridge because she’s afraid. She’s afraid to take it to the knitting group and the quilting group and the church ladies because she’s having second thoughts and doubts and she’s not quite sure if she can do it. Six kids is a lot and, back then, you died in childbirth. It wasn’t this fabulous state-of-the-art hospital that’s in Frisco now.
Katie: I have to know–where did the inspiration for this song come from? You are such a great storyteller by the way. Your imagery in your lyrics is just outstanding to me. I’m really curious how you came up with this concept of this woman for this story?
Mary Beth: As a nurse, we see all kinds of situations and my latest work has been with school nursing and with families. With that comes the whole gamut of people who are helicopter moms to kids who are pretty much depending on the school to feed them. At the district level, we have to really juggle how do we provide basic needs for some families who really need it—Title 1 schools—and how do we help some of these other parents relax and do some things for themselves. It’s always a juggle and it’s always a fine balance trying to find that for each family. In this family, this is taking us back to a day of, “Hey, I thought this was a good idea. He said, “I’m heading west, do you want to come?” “Sure, let’s get married!” Some of these people were getting married within twelve hours of knowing each other and, before you know it, they’re on a wagon train west. This is back through frontier Gold Rush days. That concept to us is just crazy, especially now. People are more just living together and foregoing the whole marriage thing. Or just taking their time getting married. It’s kind of like, what? How could you do that? But it was all about need. I need a husband. We want to have a family. This is how we carry on. This is what was done. When people came out west, they really didn’t know what they were getting into and that’s the whole history of Breckenridge. It was a Gold Rush town so we have a family, Jeff’s father homesteaded up there. So we have a family place where we all gather and that is where his siblings and all of our families get together. It’s inspired from going to all the different dredge boat museums and the different mining museums. There’s all kind of different historic sites that you can take a hike to. Sallie Barber mine.
Katie: I’m noticing a trend with you. It seems like you’re one of those people who has to go and experience. Like you did with the tour and the Irish music and you went to Breckenridge and you were soaking in the history of that. It seems like just sitting around these environments and soaking it in for a while is a big part of your creative process.
Mary Beth: I would say that’s a really good way to summarize it. That’s the reader’s digest bullet point. I don’t just pull up a book or open up the Internet and say, “Ok, I’m going to write about this. I’m going to research it.” I do my homework to get the details, but like “Land of the Midnight Sun”, that was inspired by a plane ride over Denali with my parents and my two boys and my husband. Literally, I think my heart stopped. It was so beautiful. I felt lonely and happy and blissful all at the same time.
Katie: And that came across in your song by the way. It’s a song of mixed emotions. It’s beautiful.
Mary Beth: Thanks. Literally the “Stories Never Told”, my father, my husband and my two boys and I were in a brothel museum. Dolly’s House in Ketchikan and I thought “I’ve got to write a song about this.” It was a viable profession and it was legal until well into the sixties. How can you go to Alaska and not write about that? The one in Skagway is called “The Red Onion” of all things. It’s gritty, but it was part of it, and it was part of Breckenridge too. They had a convent, and finishing school, and saloons with whorehouses in them. All on the same street.
Katie: Well, talk about dichotomy. That’s really interesting. I think that’s a really good point to note for people who are maybe starting their songwriting journey out there, to note the importance of going out and experiencing the world and soaking in this history before even putting pen to paper it sounds like.
Mary Beth: Yeah, people can do it. You can sit and create a rhyme and you can use your imagination. I’ve certainly done that. I did that with my dad. I didn’t experience that, but he did. Obviously we had an adequate enough conversation about it to where I got what he was feeling. He was able to convey that to me. I’m working on a song about deer hunting, which is really big in Wisconsin. So I’m working on that. I don’t hunt. And I can’t see Russia from my house.
Katie: Talk about politics.
Mary Beth: But I can write a song about it. Sometimes it’s true and from my life and sometimes it is secondhand.
Katie: But even if it’s not from your life, it seems like, again, that point of observing and a fair amount of empathy, I would gather, would play an important part in your songwriting.
Mary Beth: Well my dad nailed it. I was talking to him last week and he said, “Mary Beth. Your grandpa had a gift.” He could make you believe that you were going to see a deer behind every tree. Of course, he was Irish. He had this magical ability to make you hang on every word. He could just really paint a picture. My dad said, “The next day, I went into the woods without him, and it was just the woods.”
Katie: Oh God, I feel like that’s just the most heartbreaking thing.
Mary Beth: It just lost its luster. You had trips like that. I think sometimes the first time you go somewhere it’s so great. Then maybe the second or the third time it’s like, “That was so magical the first time I came here, why am I not feeling it the same way?” I think he just had that ability to make his stories and whatever he was talking about come to life.
Katie: It seems like you also inherited that as well though.
Mary Beth: Well, thanks. That’s a huge compliment.
Katie: I really believe that too, I think it’s just magical what you do. We’re actually running out of time here, but before we do, I just have two more questions for you. One being, I’m curious, you were talking about before, when you were talking about Breckenridge, being a nurse and seeing the mothers try to balance their family and the way that they conducted that. I want to know how you were able to balance being a nurse and being a mother and being a songwriter, how do you do it?
Mary Beth: Inspiration. The song would come through and interrupt my life. Sometimes my husband would be like, “Where are you? Like you’re here, but you’re not really here.” It’s because, I had a talk with Jens Kruger about this, I said, “Sometimes I’m walking around with this CD in my head for months before I can get a chance to actually get everything arranged and make a record. Or before the songs are written. Even when I did “In My Right Mind”, my husband was a little worried because I hadn’t finished one song. I had the idea and it was close, but it was down to the wire. He’s like “Are you going to handle this?” I was like, “I don’t know!” I just really trust the muse and there’s enough stuff to keep everything spinning with the kids activities and with work and all of that, but I think when you’re writing about folk music it’s about life. So the more involved you are in life, if you’re paying attention, there’s a song in every moment of every day potentially.
Katie: That’s beautiful. It seems like you’ve been really faithful to that muse too to keep going back to her when she calls. Not everyone pays attention to that so that’s really commendable as well.
Mary Beth: Thanks.
Katie: I just want to end on one more question. If you had any advice for people starting out their journey out there, what would you say to them?
Mary Beth: I would say, “Do what you love.” If you love writing the blues and if you love slide guitar and if you want to do that, do that. If you love Bonnie Raitt….you know what I mean? Don’t try to be something that you’re not. For me, if I heard somebody, I just knew inside my entire body. Listen to your body. It tells you a lot. I remember when I first saw all those people that I mentioned before, Allison Krauss, Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mary Black (I was really hung up on Mary Black for a while), Loreena Mckennitt, the different elements that they brought musically, vocally. Now, the palate of influences has just expanded and just keeps expanding with the International Bluegrass association, Americana, the more you travel. Dabbling more in the standards and doing a little more of the French Cafe, French Swing stuff, it’s all great and it’s all fun and you know it’s all folk music because it’s from different regions and different areas.
Katie: It’s from the folks.
Mary Beth: Don’t limit yourself because you’re not from a certain place. I was not born and raised in Appalachia but we had fiddles, guitars, accordion, and mandolins in Wisconsin and they were taken all the way out to Alaska. Don’t let people say, “If you don’t live in Kentucky, you can’t play bluegrass.” That’s just silly.
Katie: That is really great. Mary Beth, thank you so much for sitting and talking with me today. I really appreciate it. For everyone listening out there, you really have to listen to her EP “Feels Like Home”. It’s up for consideration for four Grammys for a very good reason so definitely go and listen to that. Mary Beth, it was just a pleasure talking with you and hearing a little bit about your story today.
Mary Beth: Thank you so much, Katie. It was really fun talking to you too.