BANG BANG BOOM BOOM After listening to Beth Hart’s newest CD “Bang Bang Boom Boom”, I'm positive you'll have the same reaction as me. Scratch your head and ask, “Why is this woman not a household name?”

Now 40, Hart is a seasoned musician/singer/songwriter, who, at age four, realized that music was her destiny. Her version of modern blues-rock is hardcore and gritty, expressive but pleasant, whilst flirty and sassy, all in the right spaces. She has a wide vocal range and is able to growl like Janis Joplin then pull back and pour out her heart and soul the way Billy Holiday could. She's in complete control of her talent with every note.

Beth started to play piano very young as a result of a TV commercial. Influenced by jazz, rock, blues, gospel and grunge, she flags Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald as being her female idols.

Looking back, the singer’s music career took shape early on. She appeared several times on Star Search in 1987 (earning a national win). Atlantic Record offered the first recording contract. “Am I The One” (Immortal, 1996) and “LA Song (Out Of This Town)” (Screamin’ For My Supper, 1999) were international hits. And Beth has long enjoyed a favorable fan following in the UK and Europe, touring often throughout that region. In 2013, the first U.S. headline tour in more than a decade, with long-time band members – Tom Lilly on bass, Jon Nicholas and P.J. Barth on guitars, and drummer Todd Wolff.

bethhartjeffkatzThe Music“Bang Bang Boom Boom” is the singer’s ninth solo release. It’s rocking and bluesy from beginning to end. The elements of vaudeville, big band, gospel and reggae gives it extra flair and sets it apart. Legendary rock producer Kevin “Caveman” Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Journey, Iron Maiden, Joe Bonamassa) allowed Beth to explore whatever style she desired. “It’s like listening to old time radio,” Shirley says of the different styles on the album.

Hart’s storytelling is brutally honest and rich in detail, drawing upon painful memories and struggles with drug addiction and mental illness. In a recent interview with Magnet Magazine, Beth patently talked about having bipolar disorder and her last psychotic break of five years ago. The outcome: She found love (and the right concoction of medications to manage this disease). Her music career is in full swing and she’s better than ever!

Being that I think every song is a standout track, I will comment on a few.

The opening number, Baddest Blues is just that! It's a slow to mid-tempo ballad that'll tug at the heart strings, if you know this kind of pain. “The man is like a drug. Humiliating and I can’t get enough,” she reveals from behind a piano. “Love in all it’s splendor. Has surrendered it’s every blow. Bad is the blues that I know.”

Hart’s playful side come into view on title track “Bang Bang Boom Boom" with its witty lyrics and vaudeville sex appeal and then on the big band sound of “Swing My Thing Back Around".

There's something special about “Through The Window of My Mind.” It's triumphant, almost anthemic, and uplifting. Hart’s vibrato sails through the air.

“Spirit of God” is big and bold, the kind of R & B gospel that brings a crowd of nonbelievers to their feet.

And as I was listening to “There in Your Heart” (a terrific track), the guitar solo grabbed my attention and made me question whether it was Joe Bonamassa's playing or not. (It's that good against Hart's powerful voice.) Thanks to my husband's timely gift, I read the album credits and see Joe listed as the guest lead guitarist on the track.) I really enjoy it when these two collaborate. They've got a unique musical chemistry.

  

“The Ugliest House On The Block” is a rock/reggae, Meet Virginia, light-hearted pop hit in the making. It’s one of my favorites.

Closing out the record (11 originals), I was delighted to see the addition of “I'd Rather Go Blind”, as a bonus track. This is one of Etta James most well known songs and one of my favorites by Beth and Joe Bonamassa (Don't Explain, 2011). However, this performanc is from the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors, where Jeff Beck and Beth were asked to participate and pay tribute to blues legend Buddy Guy.

(On a personal note: I watched the Kennedy Center Honors program when it aired on CBS December 28 and when the crowd stood in unison and applauded, I knew at that moment, just by their reaction, Beth had won them over!)

The CD packaging includes flattering photos and lyrics, and lenghty list of thank yous. There’s plenty to read on this interesting woman, so be sure to visit her official website at http://www.bethhart.com. Then check out live performances at Beth's official Youtube channel.

Yours in music,

DebFromMaine Hebert


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