BETH MCKEE has lived through the South from Mississippi to New Orleans, through Florida and Texas, and has known both the joys and hard times that are necessary to create great music. She now brings her full-hearted voice to her upcoming release “Next To Nowhere,” an all-original collection of songs carved from the struggles of real life.
“It was tough to decide whether to call the record ’Next to Nowhere’ or ‘On the Verge.’ The lyrics to both songs are personal- about returning to a dream after being too afraid to pursue it for a long time and about having the gumption to try again even though the odds are long.” Returning to that dream wasn’t an easy path: band break-ups, hardship gigs, and personal struggles all delayed and distracted Beth’s emergence onto a broader scene.
But some fires refuse to be extinguished. Her husband and drummer Juan was a part of that journey. “It took me awhile to dig out of my emotional rut and start thinking about getting ‘out there again. Juan had been pleading with me to record, so when I finally said “let’s do it” he was ready to go– that’s when we recorded ‘I’m That Way.’ It had more impact than we anticipated– enough to suck us back into the dream of playing for audiences that came to hear us play.”
Her 2010 release “I’m That Way” breathed her fire into the works of Chess Record’s Louisiana legend Bobby Charles, and set the stage for her upcoming release “Next To Nowhere,” which showcases her sound in all its power with all-new original tracks. “Recording Bobby’s songs was a great study in songwriting and I learned a lot from it. When Tony (Producer Tony Battaglia) volunteered to work with us on our next project I sent him a few original tunes and a few ideas for covers. His response was “why pay somebody else for songs? Write all your own!’ So I did with help from Juan & some other talented friends. Tommy Malone (of The subdudes) co-wrote a song with Juan & I, Tony co-wrote on another and a few other folks too. On the songs I wrote alone, Juan was always available as a sounding board and that was a tremendous help.”
Beth McKee has lived through and triumphed over the trials of life, and sings of it all to her audience in a shared but newly-discovered language. Accented by the sounds of Louisiana and the blues, R&B and the swamp, her voice reaches audiences from all backgrounds and times, yet always in the same places in the soul.
“I am sincere and my music is heartfelt. Front porch, back porch, down home all over the world. I can sing but I don’t over sing. I can play but I’m not fancy.”
Now with the release “Next To Nowhere,” the wisdom of her producer’s advice to follow her own path shines, with songs that reflect every step of the journey, and performs a true act of alchemy: applying the fire of artistry to the base materials of pain, hard work, and regrets to create eleven tracks of new gold. “Next To Nowhere” speaks a universal message of triumph over difficult times. That’s a message that — no matter who we are or where we come from – we need to hear.