BETH SHERBY is a singer/songwriter whose musical roots grew out of an unexpected combination of the blues, bluegrass, and Broadway. This confluence of styles has defined a sound that is uniquely Beth.
Playing guitar has, quite simply, been her entire life’s pursuit, but wasn’t always a single focus. She was captivated early on with performing in musicals and plays and went on to study music and theatre in college. Dreaming of her “name in lights” along the BROADway (accent on the twang!) was a daily activity for much of her life. Growing up under the big skies of Kansas, country and bluegrass music was the other side of Beth’s musical spectrum. The songs were emotionally charged, easy to learn and she could sing her heart out. Beth discovered the blues after moving to Chicago. It was Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle that started Beth’s love affair with the blues, and it’s a love affair that continues to this very day.
Moving to Chicago was a watershed for Beth. It was in the windy city where she began to explore seriously writing songs, and performing them in local venues throughout the city. Opportunities began slowly, but Beth found a community of local singer/songwriters that supported her music and created a welcoming space to grow. A couple of memorable bands evolved during this time. Beth was the lead voice of Dirty Little Motors, an acoustic trio that played coffee houses, bars, and living rooms; mixing it up with obscure covers from the likes of PJ Harvey to little known songwriters like Patty Larkin. Lillith Fair was all the rage in those days. Beth had the incredible fortune to join an all female traveling music group that was a homegrown take on the real thing. Each member kept her our own musical identity but the quartet gigged together and supported each other vocally, and percussively. The ladies eventually went out on the road and took the show all the way to St. Marks Place in NYC.
Never one to say no to an adventure, Beth moved to New Jersey (that’s a story for another day) and began playing in local coffee houses in North Jersey. These gigs provided just the right alchemy for a fortuitous meeting with a local musician looking for a new experience. This encounter bloomed into another acoustic trio - The Sherby’s. Short lived, but really fun, the end of The Sherby’s made room for the band that is still near and dear to Beth’s heart, JackKnifeBetty. JKB was an acoustic powerhouse made up of Beth on vocals, rhythm guitar and percussion, Dina Hall on vocals and percussion, and Nina Peterson on vocals, and lead guitar. For over five years this threesome played throughout Jersey and Pennsylvania, wailing the blues, re-imagining classic rock, and producing some of the sweetest harmonies. Finally, the members of JKB decided to part ways so that each player could go in search of her own creative path.
Today, Beth Sherby stays true to herself as a performer with dynamic singing, vibrant energy on stage, and a percussive guitar style that is all beats. She continues to work on the craft of songwriting and never stops learning or listening to her musical heros - “If there were no music / then I could not get through” Shawn Colvin.