Beth Nielsen Chapman
A Beautifully Aged Voice That Summons All The Tenderness In The World Via Her Outstanding Words
Calling all songwriters!
Beth Nielsen Chapman’s new record, CrazyTown, her 15th studio album is a masterclass in observational songwriting, rhyme-scheme brilliance and rhythmic genius.
An even dozen perfectly crafted numbers that epitomize and salute the heart and soul of American Roots Music.
Kicking off with “All Around The World,” I am immediately drawn into the record with a strong feeling of recognition and “belonging” in the lyric that draws me towards something I thought the past two plus years tore from my grasp….comfort.
The freedom this tune exudes spills over into its well-crafted, pop-music celebration of joy and humanity. The leap of faith begins at track one and I’m in!
“Put a Woman in Charge” is a song I heard when KeB Mo’ released it with Rosanne Cash back in 2020. Beth’s version is a completely different vibe; and sung with so much honesty, heart and conviction, you can touch the core of her impetus to write this anthem during such a crucial time.
Beth Nielsen Chapman’s voice is beautifully aged and summons all the tenderness in the world on “With Time.”
A cello pulling on the heartstrings, sets off a full orchestration that slips us into a warm bath of remembrance and melancholy the same way Randy Newman pushes us over the edge with his ballads in “Toy Story.”
Hello Pixar! This song is the ticket to your next animated feature full of feels….Believe me.
“Dancing With The Past” is a confident strut forward. that gives no f*cks and suffers no fools. Surrendering to the “big don’t know” is something we all should do and figure out the steps to keep on trucking.
Beth Nielsen Chapman is singing the roadmap to make our battles disappear like shadows and keep dancing.
I seriously could not LOVE this song more — and yes, I wish I wrote it!
“The Truth” is dark – but sometimes it is boys & girls (and all y’all). The color of this song is different from the first five and well it should be.
Beth Nielsen Chapman really shines like that diamond in the dirt she’s singing about. It recalls Bonnie Raitt at her grittiest, but possesses its own vulnerable moments in the bridge that soars to heaven from the depths of hell, Hallelujah, “..let’s go home.”
The guitar work on this song is especially effective and I thank Producer, Ray Kennedy for this naked, stirring, three and a half minutes of reflection and gospel.
Catapulted into “The Universe,” this song is a sonic slingshot that flings us into everything all at once. What I realized during the active listening of this tune, is that most songs need to be ingested multiple times.
Just like babies who need to taste a food 17 times ’till they recognize it as something they like or don’t, we aren’t meant to swallow life in one bite or one gulp.
We can’t be in too much a rush to get it over with.
The overwhelming nature of it all does us in. And unlike “Dancing with The Past,” we can, and should go back for review, if only to fully understand what Beth Nielsen Chapman is trying to tell us.
Each song is an important lesson told to us by a reliable, generous friend with a big heart and a great sense of humor.
They each and every single one touched me profoundly and for that I am grateful.
The art of making records that are conceived, written, performed, produced, mixed, mastered and sequenced beautifully is a treasure, and this record is an entire trove overflowing with gems and prizes that will render the lucky listener richer from it’s inexhaustible genius.
Now excuse me while I go listen again!
Review by Emily Duff
Released 23rd September 2022