Another superb album from the wonderfully talented Beth Nielsen Chapman. As with "Sand & Water" and "Deeper Still" the poignancy and feeling that can only truly come through personal experience is there for all those brave enough to let down their guards to feel. Encouragingly Beth Nielsen Chapman is currently one of several superb singer-songwriters who are capable of consistent high-class output. Compass. 2005.
When it comes to pure and simple songwriting, few can rival Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Look
is another powerful addition to her cannon. So far, her work has been covered successfully by Faith Hill, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt and myriad others and her artist peers will surely find much to feed upon here. In a sense, it's a concept album, the concept being "love" in all its forms. Having recently recovered from breast cancer, Chapman is clearly ready to embrace humanity in all its flawed beauty. Thus we have tales of enduring love, love passed by, romantic love, destructive love, redemptive love and love for the dearly departed, all of them delivered with impressive warmth and charm. Importantly, they're all also performed deadly straight--thankfully, there are no vocal pyrotechnics to divert one's attention from the songs. And what songs they are, Chapman creating a smooth blend of country, pop, jazz and soft soul that's varied in style, tone and mood yet consistent in its excellence. Arguably, she's at her best when indulging her love for show tunes, as she does with the title track and the quiet, exotic "The Reason". --Dominic Wills