Americana / Folk, Thurgau
– Switzerland’s Americana Songstress ❦
Beth Wimmer grew up in the countryside near Boston USA, her childhood spent running through woods, wading...Read Biography
Switzerland’s Americana Songstress ❦
Beth Wimmer grew up in the countryside near Boston USA, her childhood spent running through woods, wading in creeks, fishing, and caring for dogs and cats, ducks and rabbits. Her older brother and sisters sparked her love for rock and roll even before she was ten, filling their house with sounds of The Who, Jethro Tull, Crosby Stills & Nash, David Bowie, Neil Young, Janis Joplin and Cat Stevens. “As a teenager, it was Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Pretenders and Led Zeppelin who sang the soundtracks for my life,” says Wimmer. As a child, her folk-singing grandfather was her hero, and her poet/artist mother, Maureen, taught Beth the ways of creative inspiration. At 18 years old, after winning the annual Croston Poetry-Reading Contest in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Beth left east coast USA for the west coast: Southern California, where her father lived. There she studied songwriting and practiced performing, while continuing her education in photography.
Wimmer says, “I’d been singing onstage and in studio on other musicians’ stuff since I was around 14, but I had a strong desire to sing my own observations. I had a flood of ideas, images, words, and my voice to find, and express… a friend gave me a beat up acoustic guitar. I spent fifty-bucks fixing it up so it would finally stay in tune, and suddenly songs came flooding forward, all these words and melodies playing around the four chords i knew at the time.”
This was around the time the World Trade Center came crashing down—a poignant turning point for many, including Wimmer, who vowed to share her artistry with more urgency.
In Los Angeles, Beth took her newly written songs and recorded two studio albums with a newly acquainted friend, producer/drummer David Raven and his bandmates, roots-rockers Billy Watts and Taras Prodaniuk, the men with their own swamp-rock power trio, Mojo Monkeys. The four have been a tight musical fit ever since. “Live Within Live Without”, Wimmer’s debut album, was released in 2003, followed by an EP in 2005, recorded again with Mojo Monkeys, packing the rocking single, “Self Righteous Son of a Bitch”. MM and Beth Wimmer became band-mates on stage as well, delivering Americana double-bills to the music clubs on the LA scene. In 2008 came Wimmer’s next album, “Miracle Girl”, again recorded with Raven as co-producer in his Honky Abbey Studio, and with Mojo Monkeys branding her songs with the soulful pulse of a close-knit rhythm section, featuring the expressive and stand-out electric guitar work of Billy Watts. The title track, “Miracle Girl”, is in current rotation to this day on swiss radio.
During her Los Angeles music-scene days, Beth’s song “Self Righteous Son of a Bitch” finished a semi-finalist in the Dallas Songwriters Association Songwriting Contest, and as a finalist in the UNISONG International Songwriting Contest. Wimmer’s 2006 song “Weather” finished a finalist in the We Are Listening Lyric Writer Awards.
In 2008, a month-long, solo concert-engagement in St. Moritz led Beth to a radical life-change: moving from Santa Monica, California—50 meters above sea level—to 1,870 meters high, in the mountains of St. Moritz, Switzerland. Wimmer slowly found a way into the music scene in Switzerland, writing emails to reputable music clubs in her broken, Cali-german, and over the years, booking herself into a regular live-performance circuit, especially in east Switzerland.
A resident of Switzerland, Wimmer now lives in the north eastern part of the country on the gentle, sprawling ground of county Thurgau, among countless apple orchards close to the great Lake Constance, which also borders Austria and Germany.
In 2011, while still living in St. Moritz near the Italian border, Beth teamed up with Como Italy native, multi-instrumentalist Damiano Della Torre, for her third full-length album, “Ghosts & Men”, and recorded with him in his Radiosky Studio, Como. Della Torre provided new texture to Wimmer’s acoustic-penned songs of love, loss, and discovery with his spirited, precise accordion-playing and fine piano. His experience performing with masters such as Tom Jones and Terence Trent D’Arby informed his producer’s contribution, and the studied multi-instrumentalist even played the swiss Handpan and undeniably greasy slide guitar on the tracks of “Ghosts & Men”. The album and “Miracle Girl”(2008) began garnering much attention from DJs and reviewers on the Euro-Americana scene.
"...if Chris Isaac and Annie Lennox moved down to the southern part of the states and had themselves a baby girl - that girl would sound like Beth." - Pär Winberg, Melodic.net, Sweden.
Meanwhile, Wimmer was touring, mainly solo, in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, and occasionally France and Spain. Occasional trips to see family in the USA meant a few special tour dates there as well. In 2013 and the following years, Beth Wimmer could also be heard in duo with (and in the band of) country-singer from southern Germany, Suzie Candell. The two Americana singer-songwriter “auslanders” had both found themselves—and each other—living in the mountainous east, the St. Galler Rheintal, of Switzerland. The two friends still perform together today.
2016 found Beth Wimmer wearing the hat of booking agent for other musicians as well: her long time friends and band-mates, the Mojo Monkeys, would come to Switzerland for their first of several tours. Mojo Monkeys’ swamp rock and carefree, danceable live shows were a hit in Switzerland. Raven, Watts and Prodaniuk - and Wimmer - were playing double-bills again, nine years later, but in Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. Beth opened as support act for Mojo Monkeys in swiss clubs such as the Atlantis Basel, Mahogany Hall Bern, ESSE Musicbar in Winterthur, the Werkstatt Chur, and in Altes Kino, Rankweil, Austria. The tours were booked, promoted and managed by Wimmer. Mojo Monkeys performed in Switzerland with Beth as their agent and often opening act for the next three years.
And when her favorite musicians were in Switzerland, again they all went into the studio—Little Big Beat Studios in Liechtenstein—and recorded Wimmer’s newest collection of songs. This time with Mojo Monkeys’ Billy Watts, electric guitarist, as Beth’s co-producer.
The ten-song “Bookmark” was released in late 2017. Wimmer’s first new album since “Ghosts & Men” in 2011, “Bookmark” presents nine of Beth’s own compositions and an anthemic cover of “Starman”, with which she honors the late David Bowie. The album, musically more mature and tighter than ever with her Mojo Monkeys providing the grooves, is filled with themes of goals, birds, dreams, simplicity, and the glow of love. “Bookmark” reached 18th Position in the Euro Americana Charts in 2018, was warmly received worldwide, and still dawns radio-play in Europe.
“Inspired by real events in her own life and her unlimited fantasy, on her fourth album ‘Bookmark’, the American (now Swiss) singer-songwriter Beth Wimmer has once again delivered nine own penned beauties and one terrific cover version of David Bowie’s classic song ‘Starman’.“ - rootstime, Belgium.
While touring to support her “Bookmark” release, Wimmer landed a Montreux Jazz Festival slot with her band at 8PM on Americana Night, in July 2018. A solo appearance in the prestigious Summerblues Basel followed the next summer.
During the most recent swiss tour with Mojo Monkeys, in 2019, again Beth recorded with the mojo men in Little Big Beat Studios, and her fifth album, “Chemical Reaction”, was created. Released in 2020, but with a stunted promotion-run due to the Pandemic, plus some personal challenges for Wimmer, Beth says of Chemical Reaction, “This is an important and very personal collection of songs for me, about deep and physical connections, love and chemistry, everlasting interpersonal relationships, the inhumanity of humans... and the question of what will happen to me after i die.”
Again Billy Watts, guitarist from Mojo Monkeys, co-produced Wimmer’s “Chemical Reaction”, and this time with a Grammy-nomination for his blues guitar-work in his pocket. Watts leads the band through a variety of grooves and styles on this album, though all are welcomed under the umbrella of Americana-roots music. Watts says, of Chemical Reaction, “Beth has once again written wonderful songs, with themes that touch the hearts of us all.”
The album’s second track, “Better Than You Think”, finished in Glasgow’s Radio Six International’s Top Twenty Songs of 2020.
On looking forward into 2021, Wimmer says, “I’m inspired by how supportive my friends, fans and family have been during this time—to one another and to me. I’m so grateful for people’s stories, their interactions with me, and the images and words which spark my songs. I’m so thankful for music and the permanent connection it makes among souls—that does keep me going. I think we’re all ready to get out and live again… I am greatly looking forward to a safe world for being with friends again, family, and audiences… and performing live! Gotta stay optimistic. Soon we can reunite, and laugh and rejoice, and play on, and on and on!”
Beth Wimmer’s songs have been chosen for onboard entertainment on Lufthansa airplanes, have been placed in films, and are aired on dozens of radio stations in Europe. ‘Switzerland’s Americana Songstress’ continues to run her own new record label, bookmark music, from her countryside tree-house in east Switzerland with three cats in the yard, and she plans for human togetherness and music in everyone’s near future.