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What singles her out from her contemporaries is that as well as singing pop and 'reconstituted 60s soul' she also sings `da blues'. However, she's no Susan Tedeschi and I find that her take on Blind Willie Johnson's "Nobody's fault but mine" is a bit dull. Similarly, her producer has taken British blues singer Jim Crawford's "When the rains came" - which Jim recorded with just his guitar and voice - added a full band with Hammond organ, slide guitar and gospel backing singers to turn a masterpiece of understatement into overblown mediocrity. She's not exactly ruined a great song (that would be perfect for a cover by Joe Cocker) but she's missed all the subtleties of the song and its original performance. I also find the modern blues "One cloud" to be pretty average.
I think that when she leaves the blues behind she's a lot better, "Sweet hours" and "Oh my life" both work perfectly as modern pop/soul, as do the gospel-influenced "Almost persuaded" and the reggae version of Dylan's "I shall be released". The real revelation for me was her duet with Duke Special on Willie Nelson's "Angel flying too close to the ground" where her voice is thoughtful and vulnerable, and which for me was one of her best vocal performances.
It's commendable that Beth and her producers have tried to include different types of music into the mix of her debut CD but I feel that for much of the blues-based material her voice can't really carry the songs and their arrangements.
That out of the way what I did like the most about Beth was not some stunning originality but the honesty with which songs were approached. I don't think that there was a point where the artist was doing anything less than trying to put her own point on songs, like "When The Rains Came". While I didn't personally care for it because I found it put too much before the power of voice; the most important thing to me in this genre of music, I thought that it was a well made effort. Her more country influenced songs were pleasant but nothing spectacular, and ultimately I think I may have been happier downloading the songs that I really enjoyed and forgoing the entire album.
I like Beth Rowley's voice, and I like what she is trying to do with well loved and known songs. However, while I appreciated her efforts I wasn't a fan of much of this album because it didn't appeal to my personal taste in music as a whole. In addition I felt in certain instances she (and her studio) was herself unsure of where to go forward and that indecision was clear in how songs were presented. This doesn't mean I don't want to hear more of her in the future, I think it would be a shame if this is the only album she produces and appears solely in tracks on the An Education OST. She has a lot of potential, and it was an ambitious first effort to try to span similar but very different styles of music.Read more ›
The set opens with a traditional song (Nobody's fault but mine). Beth's bluesy voice is perfectly matched to this bluesy song that sets a high standard for the rest of the album, which maintains that high standard throughout.
The next two tracks (Sweet hours, So sublime) are among the original songs, with the latter being the second single from the album, released just a week before the album itself. The release of the first single (Oh my life, which is track 7 here) preceded the album by a full three months but failed to chart.
The fourth track (I shall be released) might be the most familiar song that Beth covered for this album, it being one of Bob Dylan's classic songs. Beth opted to give it an upbeat reggae treatment that may be slightly at odds with the lyrics but nevertheless works well.
The next three tracks feature two more brilliant original songs (Only one cloud, Oh my life) sandwiching a cover of When the rains came, written and originally recorded by British blues singer Jim Crawford. I confess that I've never heard of him before but if all his songs are this good, one wonders why he isn't better known.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
VERY ENJOYABLE PURCHASE---WELL CARED FOR PRODUCT & PROMPT SHIPMENTPublished 19 months ago by Albert M. Oneil
I can't believe she doesn't have more CDs. It's always hard to describe someone's music, but I would say she sounds a bit like Nicolette Larson, Dianna Krall, and Bonnie Raitt. Read morePublished 20 months ago by J. Wood Jr.
I hunted up this album because of a song I hear on Netflix, Beautiful Tomorrow. I think Beth's voice is hauntingly beautiful. This is one of my favorite CD right now. Read morePublished on September 7, 2013 by whannie
I bought this CD after hearing just a part of a song on TV and took a chance. I love her voice and every song on the recording is wonderful.Published on October 10, 2012 by Kathryn J. Billings
I can't wait for more music from Beth Rowley. She has a beautiful voice and the music is a cross between Bonnie Raitt and Adelle but with her very own and unique sound. Read morePublished on September 22, 2012 by Pam
Put me down in the far positive category. Beth has a great take on some cover songs (there isn't a stinker in the bunch), but my favorites are her new songs on this album (I don't... Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by Greg P
Such beautiful music this lady makes. I heartily recommend it to anyone who likes music to move them in ways unimaginable. New music does that to me. Read morePublished on November 11, 2011 by Ileana M. Guzman Negron
This is a little gem of an album. Beth Rowley has an interesting, clear voice. I can actually understand the lyrics! Read morePublished on November 5, 2011 by Anineemoose
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