Beth Hart has always been like a shooting star...take a nano-second
to blink, and it's already moved on. But for that wonderful
moment, you saw "fireworks" like you've never experienced
Anybody who's ever seen Beth perform live or who's ever cranked
up one of her albums knows she's for real. This woman sings from
the depths of her soul, and her voice tells you stories and
paints pictures that you just know have to be real...that come
from real life and real experiences. And, yeah, while sometimes
those experiences had her blazing across the sky, other times
she just crashed and burned.
"At times, I've been really down in my life", Beth admits. "But
you know, once you deal with it and make sense out of it, it can
give you tremendous power."
Beth started her career as far down as it gets...performing in
the streets of L.A., sitting cross-legged with an acoustic
guitar and singing her heart out.
And her first major gigs weren't in some concert hall or in some
studio...she did the Chitlin' Circuit. And, let me tell you, you
don't blow people away in those venues if you can't deliver.
It's in this world that Beth's fuse got lit, and a few lucky
people got to experience the heat.
Fortunately for Beth, one of those people was David Wolff, who
was instrumental in breaking Cyndi Lauper into superstardom. He
heard it, he felt it...and he got it.
Beth beams, "Wolff, Man...this dude has been way more than just
a Manager to me for 18 years. He's one of my best friends...he's
And from that moment on, Beth went into lightspeed...unafraid to
stretch out musically and try new genres. The only problem is
that the world has had trouble keeping up with her...they
started really getting into it and when they blinked, she had
already moved on.
But, again, fortunately for Beth, along the way, there were
people who were instantly attracted to her sparks and who really
understood great music.
She got signed to Atlantic Records, and three of music's top
Producers, David Foster (produced such artists as Whitney
Houston, Maria Carey, Celine Dion, Tony Braxton, Madonna and
Michael Jackson), Hugh Padgham (Paul McCartney, The Police,
Genesis and Sting) and Mike Clink (Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue
and Jefferson Starship) were eager to work with her on first
This record sold very well in the Eastern U.S. and in faraway
places like Africa, featuring the rockin' title track and the
incredible soul anthem, "Am I The One?" The world had been
officially introduced to the raw power that is Beth Hart...but
they blinked, and she had already moved on.
Her second album, "Screamin' For My Supper", a collaboration
with her long-time bass player and ultimately, renowned
producer, Tal Herzberg (R.I.P., dear Tal) included more pop
influences and yielded her Top 5 Adult Contemporary Hit, "L.A.
Song (Out Of This Town)." Now she was at the top of the charts
both in the U.S. and overseas, and the world started to take
notice...but they blinked, and she had already moved on.
And, like so many "comets' before her, Beth was also starting to
burn out. But, again, fortunately, people who loved her took
notice. Her road manager (and eventually her husband), Scott
Guetzkow, has always been right there for her. His strength
helped lift her up and get her back on course.
"I am so lucky," Beth admits, "that I have Scott in my life.
He's my rock and my reality check when things start getting out
Now, Beth was once again looking to the future. In 2003, she
released her life-affirming 3rd album, "Leave The Light On," and
the world felt the heat again. Billboard Magazine said, "One of
the year's most affecting albums. The stuff of icons." But Beth
still had places to go, so, when the world blinked, she had
already moved on.
And by 2004, her skyrocket sent her overseas to Holland and
Denmark. This was an experience like no other...because she had
really redefined the incredible energy that's Beth playing live.
Her 2005 release, "Live at Paradiso" captured one of her most
electrifying performances in history, before a sold-out crowd at
this Amsterdam landmark venue. From that moment on, she
performed to sold-out audiences at concerts, festivals and
It was then that something really remarkable happened...Beth
Hart, the raw, soulful singer from the streets of L.A., suddenly
started to re-emerge. And Beth could feel it happening.
When I started making this record with Joe (Bonamassa), I got a
feeling I haven't had in a long time. For Joe, it's all about
the melody, and, as a singer, I feel so grateful to be working
with someone who is so musically evolved.
"I was starting to wonder if I still had what it took to go all
the way. The Europeans, who have always really understood
American-born music forms, were right there for me. They've
given me so much support and so much confidence...I really,
really love them."
And Europe has rewarded her with hits for "L.A. Song (Out Of
This Town)," "Leave The Light On," "Good As It Gets," "Take It
Easy On Me," "I'll Take Care Of You," (with Joe Bonamassa),
"Your Heart Is As Black As Night," (with Joe Bonamassa) and
And, from that moment on, a lot more really savvy musical
geniuses have been drawn to the incredible fire that is Beth
...working with Jeff (Beck) was like being with an
enthusiastic and loving teenager. He gets totally inspired by
other people's talents, and we really fed off of each other's
Slash (former lead guitar of the rock superband, Guns N' Roses)
heard Beth and absolutely got it. She recorded a song with him
called "Mother Maria" which is on the iTunes version of his solo
Beth recalls working with Slash. "He's one of the mellowest
musicians I've ever worked with...totally giving, a real team
One of the greatest Rock/Blues/Fusion guitarists of all times,
Jeff Beck, felt it right away and asked her to perform with him.
She was the first lead singer to do a U.S. tour with Beck since
Rod Stewart. Now, that's saying something!
"Honest to God," Beth says, "working with Jeff was like being
with an enthusiastic and loving teenager. He gets totally
inspired by other people's talents, and we really fed off of
each other's energy!"
During this time (2007-2010), Beth released two more albums, "37
Days", which produced the big hit in Europe, "As Good As It
Gets" and her most personal work to date "My California", which
has spawned the single, "Sister", now in heavy rotation on the
U.K.'s BBC Radio.
And maybe her greatest collaboration has happened in the last
year. She met Blues/Rock superstar guitarist, Joe Bonamassa, and
they crafted a truly visionary album, "Don't Explain," produced
by Kevin Shirley (producer for Led Zeppelin, Journey, Rush and
And Beth really appreciates that something special has happened
"When I started making this record with Joe, I got a feeling I
haven't had in a long time. For Joe, it's all about the melody,
and, as a singer, I feel so grateful to be working with someone
who is so musically evolved. And Kevin Shirley is a genius. He
gets you right to a place that makes you feel totally
comfortable. He really knows how to work with artists." Beth and
Joe plan to do another album together in 2013.
Once again, thanks to "Don't Explain" and live gigs with Joe,
the world has stood up and taken notice of Beth Hart. It has
been nominated at the 23rd Blues Music Awards for "Contemporary
Blues Album Of The Year." The Blues Rock Review has included the
album in their "Top 20 Albums of 2011."
And maybe the London Times has said it best recently in their
review of her concert at Dingwalls (and she is already sold out
in Paris). "Don't Explain has lifted her to a new level of rock
n' roll celebrity, and she was here to make the most of it."
And now the best news of all is that Beth isn't going away.
I feel like I've arrived at a place where I'm really
comfortable and ready to go all the way. I'm going to put my
whole heart and soul into blowing European audiences away.
So what's happened to Beth Hart...has she gone full circle, from
the streets of L.A. to the Pop charts and now back her original
raw soul? Maybe. Maybe her collaboration with Joe inspired her
to reclaim her roots.
Has the world suddenly realized how amazing she is? When you
look back at her career and all those who "got it from Day 1"
(David Foster, Hugh Padgham, Mike Clink, Tal Herzberg, Billboard
Magazine, the European Charts, Slash, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa,
Kevin Shirley, the Blues Music Awards, the Blues Rock Review and
now the London Times and sold-out shows in France), it seems
like it was right there all along.
Or maybe it's as simple as she and the world finally see each
other eye-to-eye. At least that's how Beth sees it.
"I'm so grateful, Man. I feel like I've arrived at a place where
I'm really comfortable and ready to go all the way. I'm going to
put my whole heart and soul into blowing European audiences
away. And then I'd like to bring all that energy back to the
U.S. and remind them where I came from."
Doesn't sound like the shooting star has slowed down at all,
Interview © February 2012 Pete Feenstra
Beth Hart plays the Shepherds Bush Empire on Saturday February 25th; tickets
available from 0844 871 8819, www.seetickets.com.
Gig review (29.11.11) & photo
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