Beth Nielsen Chapmanâ€™s brand-new studio album, â€œHearts Of Glassâ€ is a powerful collection of songs that dig deep into the place within us where vulnerability meets strength. Produced by Sam Ashworth, â€œHearts Of Glassâ€ is sparse and beautifully recorded. The songs, mostly written by Beth alone, include several new compositions, from the haunting â€œEpitaph For Loveâ€ to the instant classic â€œYouâ€™re Still My Valentineâ€, to the infectious â€œEnough For Meâ€, written with Sam. The opening track, â€œCome To Mineâ€, the only other co-written song, was composed with the legendary Graham Gouldman and Kevin Montgomery at Chris Diffordâ€™s Songwriting retreat in Somerset England.
â€œMy intention was to do an album of songs 100% written by me, and bring together those kinds of songs that have a certain focus and vibe, but â€œCome To Mineâ€ just jumped out and insisted on leading the pack! Itâ€™s timely what with all thatâ€™s swirling around in the world right nowâ€. The same is true for the closing track â€œDancer To The Drumâ€ which provides the perfect bookend" said Beth.
â€œHearts Of Glassâ€ also features several gems plucked from Bethâ€™s previous releases that have been re-recorded, now moved from piano to guitar with minimal touches of production. â€œLife Holds Onâ€, sounding like it could have been written yesterday, is just one stunning example of how the â€œless is moreâ€ approach reveals the power of these songs, stripped down to Bethâ€™s voice and the pulsing of her electric guitar. The songs are front and centre, as is the case for "Rage On Rageâ€, â€œDancer To The Drum" and "Child Againâ€, each having been reborn. â€œOld Church Hymns & Nursery Rhymesâ€, recorded here for the first time by Beth, is a song she wrote for Waylon Jennings, released on his â€œEagleâ€ album and uses amazing imagery to capture the passing of time.
In addition, the first-time release of Bethâ€™s version of the timeless classic â€œIf My World Didnâ€™t Have Youâ€ features Rodney Crowell on backing vocals. This song first appeared on Willie Nelsonâ€™s â€œHorse Called Musicâ€ album along with her song â€œNothing I Can Do About It Nowâ€ which went to #1 for Willie in 1990.
Bethâ€™s working with producer Sam Ashworth came about from a conversation with legendary broadcaster Bob Harris OBE, in which she mentioned she loved the recordings of duo â€œThe Civil Warsâ€ and was looking to record her new album with that kind of clarity and space. Bob suggested she meet up with the producer/artist Charlie Peacock. When Beth and Charlieâ€™s schedules didnâ€™t sync, Beth met with his son Sam, a young, talented producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and from their first meeting, Beth felt very confident that this was going to work.
â€œI made a decision early on in the process that this time I was going to fully allow myself to be produced and work on taming my inner â€œcontrol freakâ€. From the selection of the songs to choosing of the musicians and the addition of overdubs, Beth deferred to Sam. â€œCreatively this was very new territory for me. It was such an interesting dynamic to hand over so many of the decisions and trust the process. I found by not jumping in too quickly and directing, that I ended up not only with something I loved, but I learned a lot about myself and the places you can go when you let someone else drive."
The places that â€œHearts Of Glassâ€ goes will take you right into the centre of the truth, and the full beautiful dance of contradictions that inhabit love and life.