Review of Better Than Home by Beth Hart
Beth Hart has had a lot to deal with by anybody standards. Enduring the death of her sister to aids and her battling a number of personal demons including drink, drugs and bipolar disorder, Beth has a deep backdrop to contextualise her life and art. The 43 year old American singer-songwriter who rose to fame thanks to her 1999 hit LA Song is back with her seventh album – Better Than Home.
With the background to Beth‘s life, Better Than Home had the potential to be a start to finish heavy album that would challenge the listener. Beth however defies such preconceptions by making the opening track Might As Well Smile. This is a strange concoction as it does feel like blues music, but almost with humour built in. Backed by a gospel choir and brass section there are times when her graspy voice just jars with the backing. Never to the degree that you question the production, just to the degree that you question the wisdom of such a strong backing.
The album has a cathartic feeling to it. Rather than dwell on the problems in her life, Beth Hart chooses to share how she has dealt with them. Exposing the good parts of her life – accepting and loving her parents for who they really are, appreciating a good husband, facing her fears head on and ultimately finding ways to heal and convert that positive energy into music that moves people.
Better Than Home, in all honesty, has some great highs. Sadly, it is met with as many if not more lows. There are times when the whole composition feels a little pedestrian, like she has landed a seventh album, because she was contracted to do so.
Don’t just take our word for it, Beth Hart is embarking on a UK tour next month (May), details below
UK Tour Dates 2015
Thurs 30 April Cheltenham Jazz Festival
Fri 1 May Colston Hall, BRISTOL
Sun 3 May Philharmonic Hall, LIVERPOOL
Weds 6 May O2 ABC, GLSAGOW
Fri 8 May Barbican, LONDON
Sat 9 May O2 Academy, LEEDS
Mon 11 May Corn Exchange, CAMBRIDGE
Weds 13 May Rock City, NOTTINGHAM