In related news, the artist has been invited to perform at the 2013 Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto. Cross will take the stage with other artists on Feb. 20 for the "Musicians United for Bristol Bay" concert". She also will perform at a special showcase for music industry professionals on Feb. 23.
Recorded in Nashville, “Beyond Good and Evil” gives voice to the pioneer spirit of the American frontier with original songs and cover tunes. Cross spent the past year penning songs reflecting the grit and determination of the adventurers who blazed a trail from the East to the West in search of what they treasured most: beauty, adventure, land, new opportunities for work, and freedom from oppression.
Acoustic instrumentation was carefully chosen to highlight the historical time period for each song. The music represents a few of the cultures that have contributed to what has become American music today, including the banjos of African immigrants; the pipes, whistles and percussion of Celtic music makers in the British Isles; and the horns, accordions and fiddles of French cafes.
“All of these are part of the collective tapestry of a country that continues to forge on and grow despite great adversity,” said Cross, whose goal was to create an "authentic sound" that changes the folk-Americana landscape. “The choices, sacrifice and yearning for a place that feels like home remain timeless."
The free event at Fourteen Seventy-Two Lowcountry Dining in Denver will include live music, hors d’oeuvres, a full bar, and prize giveaways.
Cross uses soaring, pure-tone soprano vocals to help bring her story-driven songs to life.
The foot-tapping tune "Kiss You Goodnight" was inspired by the Chilean copper miners who were trapped underground for 60 days with nothing but darkness and time on their hands. One of the miners emerged to find both his wife and mistress waiting for him.
"The upbeat rhythms in the song led the session musicians to imagine the miner digging a tunnel out the back to avoid his confrontation of being found out by both women," Cross noted.
A tour of Dolly's House Museum, a historic brothel house in Ketchikan, Alaska, prompted Cross to write the fiddle-accented "Stories Never Told". The artist sings a fun but heart-rending story of a dusty prospector who uses his gold for prostitutes and whiskey, only to die on a dirt trail with a bullet wound to the head. History books did not record his name.
The title cut for "Beyond Good and Evil" is an expression of the former nurse's desire to help make the world a better place through education, caring and helping others. The tender ballad ends with the words, "I'd rather light a candle than waste my life cursing the dark."
"The idea for the album came while I was reading Nietzsche's book, 'Beyond Good and Evil'," Cross added. "I was exploring the impetus to move West and the feelings surrounding the need for change. At one time or another, we all feel the need to break free from a cage of any kind. Sometimes that is imagined, other times real. Like the westward pioneer adventurers, we make the choice to stay, leave, act, or not act. We just hope we can be happy with our choice in the end."
"Beyond Good and Evil" was produced, recorded and mixed by Dave Bechtel at Playground Recording Studio in Nashville. The album features Cross on lead and background vocals; eight-time IBMA "Fiddler of the Year" Stuart Duncan on fiddle, mandolin and banjo; Matthew Pierson on acoustic and electric bass; Mike Payne on acoustic and six-string guitar; Blair Masters on piano, accordion, organ and melodica; Ken Lewis on drums and percussion; Paul Nelson on cello; Michael Douchette on dobro; Gary Pigg on background vocals; and Bechtel on whistle.
The CD is being promoted nationally to folk-Americana radio by Nashville-based Bill Wence Promotions. Whiting Publicity & Promotions is handling publicity.
"There has always been and always will be an urge to improve one's station in life, to move on when things are not working out or when someone does not feel valued," Cross continued. "People moved West for more land, the opportunity for work, farmland to feed their families, and a sense of community. Those are the same reasons people move West today."
"Beyond Good and Evil" is receiving rave reviews.
"What is so compelling about Mary Beth's music to me is that it both educates and moves me," Bechtel said. "Her love and understanding of the struggles of the people for whom this great country was founded creates compelling stories. For her to tell these stories that so few have ever heard gives a voice to those who were born in a time when not everyone was treated as equal. This reveals Mary Beth's compassionate heart."
"Through the sweet purity of her voice, Mary Beth has captured the underlying haunting story in 'Babes in the Woods'," said artist Dierdre Keohane, partner of the late Irish songwriter Noel Brazil. I know Noel would be proud of this version."
An accomplished vocalist and tunesmith, Cross moved to Denver in the 1980s to pursue a nursing career. Her music is influenced by the rural farmland and forests of her Wisconsin upbringing and the Rocky Mountains where she currently resides. The artist has emerged on the regional and national music scene with appearances on radio station KRFC-FM’s “Live @ Lunch” show at Colorado State University and musical performances at the Spiritual Project’s “10th Anniversary Gala” at the University of Denver, the Summit Foundation’s “Great Rubber Duck Races” in Breckenridge, Colo., and the “Rockygrass Academy Band Scramble” in Lyons, Colo.
Cross, who holds a nursing degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will speak and perform at the National Association of School Nurses annual conference in Orlando, Fla., in June 2013. Other upcoming musical performances include the "Musicians United for Bristol Bay" concert at the Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto on Feb. 20; the "Newcomer Showcase" concert at the Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto on Feb. 23; a concert for the Swallow Hill Music Association in Denver on March 14; a concert for the Black Rose Acoustic Society in Colorado Springs, Colo., on April 12; and a concert for the Living Water Spiritual Community in Arvada, Colo., on June 15.
"Beyond Good and Evil" is available for $15 at leading online music retailers, including Amazon and iTunes. To learn more about Mary Beth Cross or her new album, call (303) 842-1587, send an email message to MaryBeth@MaryBethCross.com, or visit http://www.MaryBethCross.com or http://www.reverbnation.com/marybethcross.