When We’re Gone
A Voice and Songs That will Hurt Your Heart
I first encountered Betty Soo a few years ago when she supported and also accompanied Sam Baker at a Jumping Hot Club concert; and her voice knocked me six ways, sideways. Sensitive? Powerful?Soulful? Evocative? Sexy? All of those were true and she had a range and tone I’d not heard since my teens.
When I had my Radio Show her song, Never The Pretty One was a firm favourite and hardly a week went by without a request to play it.
Since then she’s dropped off my radar so I was really excited, but nervous to receive this new album.
I shall warn you now; this isn’t the happiest album you will ever hear; as the 12 intimate and fragile vignettes that Betty Soo not only describes; but inhabits will haunt you forever.
Starting with deceptively soft Listen, Betty Soo reels you into a web of intrigue and family life that you would normally avoid; but here she gives a Steinbeck type story a Cowboy Junkies backing and I’m in for the long haul.
Most songs here are mostly of a similar ilk; and will only appeal to fans prepared to invest time and effort; but that will be rewarded in buckets as Betty Soo has an almost poetic way with words and on the likes of The Things She Left Town With and Nothing Heals a Broken Heart her voice will genuinely send shivers down your back.
The instrumentation here is quite simple and often sparse; but the production, while not quite of Phil Spector proportions makes Last Night and Josephine quite haunting in a Gothic-Folk style (something I’ve just invented btw).
My favourite song here; and one which not only made me smile, but proved that Americans can ‘do irony’ is the disorienting 100 Different Ways of Being Alone. The smile came at the beginning when Betty Soo accidentally sounds like Debbie Harry on Maria then a relatively jaunty beat masks a very sad and tearful story. Q uite excellent in every which way.
This is a very lonely album aimed at very lonely people and is by far Betty Soo’s finest and most complete work to date.
Released October 30th 2015
UK Tour October 4th – 14th