Totally Biased Fan Review: Hearts of Glass – Beth Nielsen Chapman

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With a voice reminiscent of Carly Simon and a similar songwriting style, mixed with the style and vision of Diane Warren, Beth is one of the most underrated singer/songwriters in Americana music. Both Beth and Diane have written many songs for major stars of country music.  If you look at most of the albums of  1990’s female country music singers in America, you will find many of their hits were written by these two.
Beth’s music is strong lyrically, she is more of a poet and a sensitive preacher than most. I think that she has only really classed herself recently as Americana. She crosses genres and mixes it up, though she comes on strongest with power ballads with hearts breaking or songs with subtle and not so subtle messages.
Beth’s music is easy to hum to or sway to or both. Her voice soars to great heights and melts like chocolate on a hot day. Her songs include subjects like spousal abuse and a song about a woman in her twilight years. She is not afraid to tackle big subjects. There are some beautiful love songs as well. If My World Didn’t Have You, is very Carly Simon like. It is an awesome track and probably my favourite on the album. The fact that Rodney Crowell does backing vocals doesn’t hurt either!
This is Beth’s 13th solo album, her 14th album if you count her collaboration with our own Olivia Newton John and Amy Sky. And 15th if you include her 1999 Greatest Hits collection which I play all the time. Considering that she has been in the biz for almost 40 years, she has been not a woman of quantity but quality. She has also spent a lot of time writing for others, like This Kiss for Faith Hill and songs for the wide range of artists like Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Waylon Jennings and Bette Midler.
Some of her songs are extremely sad, having lost a husband, eventually finding another love and his illnesses and having a child who never really knew his dad. Her life has not been easy in many respects, but like many great songwriters, she wrote about those times and the songs are just magic.
She is admired by many singers and songwriters and she is often critically acclaimed. She has won grammys and she is the thinking person’s songwriter. You can never just listen to a Beth song and think of it as just a catchy ditty. Every song means something. Every song gets to you, if it doesn’t, you may need to check your pulse.
Sam Ashworth produces the album with love. He also plays a lot of the instruments.
Beth will always remain one of my favourites. This is another splendid offering from a class act.

Tracklist

1 Come To Mine
2 Old Church Hymns & Nursery Rhymes
3 Epitaph For Love
4 Enough For Me
5 Rage On Rage
6 You’re Still My Valentine
7 All For The Love
8 Child Again
9 If My World Didn’t Have You
10 Life Holds On
11 Dancer To The Drum
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