The Americana/bluegrass EP "Feels Like Home", which includes original songs and classics, continues to climb various charts compiled by Roots Music Report. The eight-song project, which was released in June, celebrates the importance of home in the lives of average, everyday Americans. Following are highlights of the artist's growing success.
* "Feels Like Home" (the EP) has reached number 9 on the RMR Top 50 Alternative Folk Album Chart.
* "Kathy's Song" has reached number 37 on the RMR Top 50 Folk Song Chart.
* The EP has climbed to number 11 on the RMR Top 50 Colorado Album Chart.
* The song has climbed to number 14 on the RMR Top 50 Colorado Song Chart.
The album and selected songs are receiving airplay on terrestrial and online radio stations around the world, including KVMR-FM in California, WIKX-FM in Florida, KXCI-FM in Arizona, WBAA-FM in Indiana, WPKN-FM in Connecticut, KRFC-FM in Colorado, WIUP-FM in Pennsylvania, WWSP-FM in Wisconsin, WFMT-FM in Illinois, and WAGS-AM in South Carolina. FolkDJ ranked "Feels Like Home" number 31 for airplay shortly after its release.
"It's wonderful to see my music touching people as far away as New Zealand," said Cross, whose last album, "Beyond Good and Evil", was named "2014 Folk-Country CD of the Year" by the National Traditional Country Music Association. "My latest project includes cover songs that are part of the tapestry of my upbringing in Wisconsin, as well as originals that reflect my current home in Colorado. Good memories or sad memories are evoked by some of my favorite songs."
"Feels Like Home" debuted at number one on the APD Americana/AAA Albums chart. To download the EP, visit https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/feels-like-home-ep/id1097215219
"Feels Like Home" includes original songs, as well as classics written and/or performed by legendary artists such as Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Garry White, Van Morrison, George Gershwin, and Dubose Heyward. The recording spotlights Cross's soaring, pure-tone soprano vocals. It was produced by veteran banjoist Chris Pandolfi, who joins nationally respected musicians Jeremy Garrett on fiddle, Tyler Grant on guitar, and Adrian Engfer on bass. The EP is dedicated to her late nephew, Christopher Chmiel, who died unexpectedly in 2015.
"We went with less is more, taking an approach that feels live, acoustic, down-to-earth, and not too far from home," the artist added.
Cross recently celebrated "Feels Like Home" with a concert at Baur's listening room in downtown Denver. She will perform a second concert at Denver's Swallow Hill Music Association in October after attending the IBMA Conference and Bluegrass Ramble in Raleigh, N.C. Among the covers on the EP are "Kathy's Song", a classic written and recorded by folk-pop legend Paul Simon, and "Long Long Time", a hit song for Linda Ronstadt.
"My favorite original on the project has to be 'Threshing Time'," Cross added. "It's a true story about my grandparents that was narrated to me through my father's memory. When he was a little boy, he always looked forward to working together with relatives and neighbors at threshing time. After a long, hot summer day in Wisconsin, they would return from the fields to enjoy a spread of homemade chicken, corn, salads and desserts. To quench their thirst, there was cold lemonade and homemade beer and wine."
The artist said she was especially pleased with "Kathy's Song", a cover that features "soft, tender and lovely" guitar by Grant and banjo by Pandolfi. Other songs on the project are her original "Cottonwood Creek"; the Doc Watson classic "Shady Grove"; and "The Medley", an eight-minute performance featuring Heyward and Gershwin's "Summertime", Van Morrison's "Moondance", and Cross's "Pas De Deux".
Cross praised the contributions from her fellow musicians, who helped her transition from the Americana-folk sound she has long been known for to a down-to-earth bluegrass presentation that evokes memories of home in Wisconsin, Colorado, Tennessee and other parts of America.
"Capturing a truly live feel in the studio takes experience and commitment, but it always brings the music to life," said Pandolfi, a banjoist/producer known for the Trout Steak Revival project, "Brighter Everyday". "Mary Beth went for it on this project, and she did an amazing job with both her original material, as well as meaningful takes on a few classic songs."
Guitarist Tyler Grant added, "Mary Beth Cross is not just a fine musician and songwriter. She is also a wonderful person with an honest and authentic spirit that shines through her music. It was a great pleasure to work with her and Chris on this album."
Cross received national exposure in 2013 with release of her fourth CD, "Beyond Good and Evil". That project, which was produced by Dave Bechtel, landed a top-five ranking on Airplay Direct. Critics around the world praised the album, with Country Music News International calling it worthy of "Americana CD of the Year".
“I’ve discovered that people are yearning to find acceptance and solace in a dizzying world of pressure-filled expectations,” Cross said. “People long for an authentic, non-formula approach.
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 now resides. She carefully chooses acoustic instrumentation to bring her story-driven songs to life. Her music represents a few of the cultures that have contributed to what has become American music today.