Local homeowner Mary Beth Cross celebrates the release of her latest album, "Beyond Good and Evil," from 4-6 p.m. Sunday at Fourteen Seventy-Two Lowcountry Dining, 1472 S. Pearl St. in Denver.
Cross describes the album, which is inspired by "the spirit and grit of pioneer women," as "positive, uplifting and historical." It is influenced by early folk music of the 70s including Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, John Denver, Joan Baez and The Beatles.
The new release represents a progression from her previous album, "In My Right Mind," which showcased sounds from around the world, including African banjos, fiddles of Ireland and Scotland and "jazzy" French music, as she described it. Cello and banjo are the main elements of the new album, which features 2012 IDMA fiddle player of the year Stuart Duncan.
"Beyond Good and Evil" consists of original songs and covers. Covers include George and Ira Gershwin's "Our Love is Here to Stay," Douglas MacLean's "Caledonia," the African traditional song "I Don't Feel No Ways Tired" and Noel Brazil's "Babes in the Wood."
The opening song, "Babes in the Wood," plus "Kiss you Goodnight" and "Liza Jane" are fun, energetic country tunes, carried by Cross' sugar-sweet voice. The album offers a lot of variety, rounded out with mellow ballads like "Beyond Good and Evil" and "Feels Like Home." Cross also takes listeners on a journey to the Old West of mining towns, saloons, gun fights and brothels in songs including "Stories Never Told" and "Land of the Midnight Sun."
"'Beyond Good and Evil' highlights the fact that there is a love that watches over us, kind of carries us through all kinds of adversity," said Cross about the concept for the new album. "What's unique about my songwriting style is that I ... pull inspiration from (women of history)."
The singer-songwriter also takes her inspiration from the rural farmland and forests of Wisconsin where she grew up, and the Rocky Mountains, where she has a home.
The album was recorded in Nashville, Tenn. and features Stuart Duncan on fiddle, mandolin and banjo; Matthew Pierson on acoustic and electric bass; Mike Payne on acoustic, electric guitars and six-string banjo; Blair Masters on piano, organ, accordion and melodica; Ken Lewis on drums and percussion; Paul Nelson on cello; Michael Douchette on dobro; Gary Pigg on background vocals and Dave Bechtel as a special guest for Gershwin's cover.