Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From The Heart And Soul : An Exclusive Conversation With Beth Hart

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1972, it's quite clear that Beth Hart was born to be a musician.

Beginning to play piano at age four, she later attended L.A.'s High School for the Performing Arts as a vocal and cello major.

From classic female vocalists such as Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, singer songwriters as Carole King to the heavy metal rumblings of Black Sabbath and Rush, Hart naturally soaked up all the musical influences around her.

Often compared to the late rock legend Janis Joplin, whom she portrayed in the theatrical production of 'Love Janis' in 1999, its more due to her ballsy, no holds barred approach to singing rather than being a copyist which draws such comparisons.

Signing to Atlantic's Lava imprint, Hart issued her debut album, 'Immortal', in 1996. Her sophomore album, 'Screamin' For My Supper' released in 1999, saw her influenced by a deep love for the blues stylings of the great Etta James. The album was also notable for spawning top 5 Adult Contemporary Chart hit in "L.A. Song(Out Of This Town)",the success of which spurred on by its inclusion in episode 17 of the final season of mega popular TV show Beverly Hills 90210.

Subsequent albums, such as 2003's 'Leave The Light On' and 2007's hard rockin' '37 Days' continued to exhibit a musical maturity lyrically informed by autobiographical tales.

The live CD/DVD 'Live at Paradiso', released in 2005 demonstrated firmly that not only was Hart an impressive singer/songwriter, but that she was able to deliver the goods live. A stunning example of rock showmanship, it ranked her among the elite of her craft, attracting such admirers as British guitar god Jeff Beck and ex Guns N Roses axeman Slash. Around this same time she also contributed a smoldering performance on the album 'Les Paul & Friends : American Made World Played' accompanied by Journey/Santana legend Neal Schon on "I Wanna Know You".

In 2010 she recorded and released her latest solo release to date, the thought provoking 'My California' . A showcase of vignettes gleaned once again from Hart's personal experiences, including the poignant "Sister Heroine", an ode to her sister whom she lost to drug addiction, it proved that 14 years into her career, at a time when many have peaked, she was just hitting her stride.

Earlier this year she worked for the first time with blues rock guitar titan Joe Bonamassa, providing the background vocals on the track "No Love On The Street", from the guitarist's latest solo album 'Dust Bowl'. Recorded during the same time as the sessions for the duo's brand new release of blues and soul classics,'Don't Explain'' which hopefully will be a catalyst for a long, fruitful working relationship for many years to come.

Releasing an album of cover versions is always a dicey proposition due to obvious comparisons to the originals, yet Hart and Bonamasssa, more than ably assisted by uber producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Black Crowes, Joe Bonamassa) have deftly conjured up a sound all their own.

Weaving their own sonic tapestry, Hart's sultry and seductive vocals combine with Bonamassa's mastery of blues rock guitar to breathe new life into such classics such as Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind", Ray Charles' "Sinner's Prayer" as well as unique interpretations of such material as Tom Waits' "Chocolate Jesus" and Delaney & Bonnie's "Well, Well", resulting in one of the finest releases to grace 2011. A testament of which being the fact that the album has just been nominated for 'Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year' at the 33rd Blues Music Awards, to be held May 10, 2012 in Memphis, TN.

Recently we were able to catch up with Beth at home in Los Angeles to discuss her thoughts on the album, her philosophy regarding her music, what she has in store for the future, and much, much more. Please join us as we have a candid conversation with one of rock's most talented vocalists, Ms. Beth Hart. Click here for the exclusive interview.

Beth Hart with Joe Bonamassa, "I'll Take Care Of You" The Beacon Theatre, New York City 2011

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