After the Rain
Kort & Beth McCumber combine talent, energy, enthusiasm and taste to weave a tapestry of eclectic music that bears one common thread - melody! In a day and age when it seems that music, at times, no longer 'serves the song', Kort & Beth serve it up honorably. While their influences are evidently numerous and diverse, their finished product is focused. Powerful lead vocals, accented by tight sibling harmonies, keep the musically lyrical content in the forefront, supported by Beth's impeccable violin/fiddle playing and Kort's multi-instrument talents. Classically trained on piano and cello, Kort often leaves those instruments in the studio in favor of guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, harmonica and banjo - all of which he plays during their vigorous live performances. Deemed 'bright lights on the horizon of folk,' according to one critic, Kort & Beth clearly have what it takes to 'make it (folk) accessible to a new generation of listeners.' But don't tuck them too neatly into the folk category. Their music - both live and on their latest CD 'Until I Return', has the vibrancy of rock, the rootsy rawness of traditional Irish & bluegrass music, the musical virtuosity of years & years of classically honed skills, and the integrity of singer-songwriter tradition - all rolled into one unique package. Their background (as son & daughter of a classical pianist mom, who played for many years with the Jacksonville Symphony) might even lead one to believe that they were born to make music. But that's just the beginning of Kort & Beth, who both attended college on golf scholarships. That, too, they come by naturally as their dad, Jim, owns and operates McCumber Golf, brother Josh coaches at the University of Florida and Uncle Mark played for many years on the PGA Tour and now roams the fairways and greens on the Senior Tour. Their natural talents, however, are superseded by their passion and after two years of college golf, Kort decided to follow his zeal for music. In 2000, he headed for Nashville, followed shortly thereafter by Beth who chose to pursue a degree in music business, which she received from the highly accredited Belmont University in December 2003. During that time they played throughout the Music City including three years running at Nashville River Stages and three years at the Dickson Renaissance and Performing Arts Center opening for Vince Gill. Four CD's later (including a bluegrass disc with Bobber Johnson), they packed their bags and headed west to Boulder, Colorado, where they currently reside. While all of their recordings have merit, their latest release, produced by Jim Gilmour and mastered by Grammy Award winner David Glasser, is by far their best effort to date. Guest appearances by folk heavyweights Don Conoscenti and Ellis Paul highlight the purity of the melodies, which surface in new and interesting ways on each of the twelve strong songs. Kort's writing has grown through the years (through hard work and collaborative efforts with various artists) and Beth introduces her writing talents to the listening world as well with two compositions of her own. As good as the CD is, though, it must be complemented by a visit to one of their live shows. Beth's fast, clean playing and strong vocals (covering tunes from Allison Krauss, Tracy Grammar and others) alongside Kort's singing (he sings most of the lead and great harmonies when Beth steps to the front) and multi-instrument rhythmic backing, create a visual verve you gotta SEE & HEAR. Good songs, well-rendered - that's what lies at the heart of the music of Kort & Beth McCumber.