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Some Beautifully Crafted Songs
on 20 January 2014
Beth Nielsen Chapman has built an enviable reputation as one of America's most gifted songwriters writing material that has been covered by artists as diverse as Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, Neil Diamond and Roberta Flack.
Now, on her latest album, she uncovers twelve of her beautifully crafted songs that she has never recorded before but which have been significant hits for other performers. The collection features an impressive array of recording luminaries who have lent their talents to make this album a celebration of true Americana and was recorded in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Nashville.
The album opens with Beth's deft keyboard intro to the lovely, lilting "Simple Things" which was a hit for Jim Brickman with Kim Carnes providing backing vocals. "Sweet Love Shine" was co-written with the late, lamented, Waylon Jennings and his wife, Jessi Colter, contributes backing vocals while the track is underpinned by the distinctive sound of guitar legend Duane Eddy.
On "Almost Home", a hit record for Mary Chapin Carpenter, Beth is joined by Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg on a compelling, piano led reading of the song. "Here We Are" was a #1 hit for Alabama that she wrote with Vince Gill who duets with her on this re-working which has some striking electric guitar in the mix. Lorrie Morgan hit the charts with "Five Minutes" and she joins Beth on this very catchy number.
"Pray" is a gorgeous song with an almost hymnal quality and Beth's ethereal voice, cello, harp and pipes convey a haunting quality that is complemented by the voices of Amy Grant, Ruth Trimble and Eilidh Patterson. "Maybe That's All It Takes" is an exquisite ballad that was a hit for Don Williams and here she is joined by premier Nashville sessionman, Darrell Scott.
Probably the best known song on the album is "This Kiss" which was a big hit for Faith Hill. Beth's recording of this song is good by any standard and although it doesn't have the immediate impact of Hill's version, with its dramatic guitar intro, it does have a more understated appeal of its own. The exciting, blues sound of "Meet Me Halfway" was a hit for Bonnie Raitt and features some sterling work by Bonnie's guitarist, George Marinelli and also serves to illustrate Beth's versatility as a performer.
From bluegrass and country to the pop, folk, blues and celtic influences that the album calls upon, this is evidence not just of Beth's abilities as a songwriter but her strengths as a performer, too. In uncovering these songs she has given them a fresh dimension and has surely made them her own, once again