For a singer, songwriter or musician to be able to represent a song to the best of their ability they must be able to deliver the track with a certain degree of honesty.
After all, if the artist doesn’t believe the words that they are singing then how will the listener. The aforementioned being one of the characteristics that set Beth Hart apart from the rest.
Of course, Beth Hart’s troubles and her battles with her demons are well documented. And these real-life experiences often feed into her song lyrics. However, with Hart’s latest offering she has delivered a collection of some of her most baring, open and honest compositions to date.
Opening track Bad Woman Blues is maybe a bit different for Beth Hart, but one thing we’ve learnt from the powerhouse vocalist is that she can turn her hand to anything and do it well. This up-tempo, piano romp has so much groove that it immediately leaves the listener wanting more.
The title track itself is a textbook Hart piano ballad. Lyrically poignant, deep and personal. A song that showcases her brilliance and versatility as a singer, songwriter and pianist.
The combination of both double bass and Hart’s majestic piano play introduces a jazz orientated sound on the third track of the record. And thought-provoking lines such as `I wish I knew how to pray without words in the way’ really make the listener pause to think.
With its many layers, gorgeous gospel undertones, dreamy synth elements and passionate delivery Let It Grow is one of the stand out tracks on the record. And a reinforcing line from the song is ‘I’m stronger than I think I am’ could well be Hart’s mantra.
Beth showcases her vocal acrobatics during the funky, upbeat jazzy number Try A Little Harder. This not to be confused with a track of a similar title by Janis Joplin.
Sister Dear feels like a continuation of the topics featured in the Hart classic Sister Heroine. The deeply sentimental song projects the longing to speak to a loved one, and the beautiful piano accompaniment perfectly conveys the emotive context.
On the other hand, the upbeat Latin rhythms and flamenco guitar featured during Spanish Lullabies illustrates the vast musical landscape covered on the record. Whereas there is a distinctly cinematic quality throughout Rub Me For Luck, in places it feels as though it could feature on a movie soundtrack.
Once again Sugarshack is not your conventional Beth Hart number. However, this dynamic composition features synth undertones and an electro rhythm which in turn creates somewhat of a huge sonic soundscape.
The final track of the record Woman Down is a brooding blues number, with a wonderful piano riff and interspersed with atmospheric guitar play and the perfect climax to the album.
With this record, the genre-defying US-based chanteuse perfectly encompasses the shades of light and darkness of the human species whilst also showcasing the artist’s vast musical palette and unrivalled talent. War In My Mind is the product of Beth’s ‘Hart and Soul’.
Photo: Greg Waterman