CLICK ON TITLE BELOW TO GO TO PURCHASE!!!! CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

Please email me at

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something's Got a Hold on Me - Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa at the Echoplex, 9/19/11

Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa

The Album:
One of music’s most powerful female voices and one of the world’s greatest guitar players come together on the new album Don’t Explain, featuring soulful covers that both celebrate and rethink the original recordings. Each known for their potent and expressive blues-rock sounds, Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa deliver scorching versions of ten classic songs first made famous by artists including Billie Holiday, Etta James, Tom Waits, Ray Charles, Delaney & Bonnie, Bill Withers, and Aretha Franklin.

The album was recorded live in the studio over the course of four days in early 2011, with producer Kevin Shirley (Joe Bonamassa, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes) capturing the raw energy generated by Hart and Bonamassa’s spirited collaboration. As charged as the tracks are, Hart also colors her interpretations with tenderness and vulnerability, adding nuance in equal measure to passion. “Beth’s got a pretty heady voice, very reminiscent of Janis Joplin, and she’s also got a lot of Etta James in her, but hadn’t really accessed it yet,” says Shirley. “With this material, there is a gentleness to the way she delivers the most heartfelt tunes that she hasn’t shown before.”

Hart and Bonamassa are both based in L.A., but their collaboration grew out of the friendship they developed after crossing paths on the road numerous times, particularly when traversing the festival circuit in Europe. “I was, of course, a big fan of his,” says Hart. “I played a show in London in early 2010, and heard through the grapevine that he was there, though I didn’t see him.” Bonamassa also remembers the show—“It was killer,” he says. When they bumped into each other in Holland soon after, Hart recalls, “He mentioned we should do a project together.”

What evolved from that encounter was the idea for Don’t Explain, which Bonamassa came up with during the recording of his latest album, Dust Bowl, in Santorini, Greece in summer 2010. “I was up late one night, I couldn’t sleep. I was playing songs on my iPod from the reissue of Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, which included all the opening acts from that Stones show,” he says. “As soon as the Ike & Tina Turner tracks came on, I just said out loud, ‘Beth Hart.’ I e-mailed Kevin, saying, ‘Let’s do a soul covers record with Beth,’ and he replied back, ‘Actually, that’s a great idea.’” Hart agreed, though she says, “When I got the call that he wanted to do a soul record with me, I figured I’d be the background singer. He said ‘no, you’re singing lead.’” Bonamassa says, “Beth has been an absolute hidden gem. She was a beautiful voice, she’s a fantastic singer. I wanted her front and center.’

Hart, Bonamassa, and Shirley considered a long list of songs before distilling it down to the set featured on Don’t Explain. “It was exciting to go through all the music, songs by Billie, Aretha, Etta,” says Hart. “I’ve been so influenced by them. I was raised listening to that music. My mother had a beautiful voice, and those are the songs she liked to sing.” Of the tracks recorded, some were songs Hart knew she wanted to do going in, others were ones chosen by Shirley and Bonamassa that she was less familiar with.

“It was a little unnerving at the beginning. I would have rather done all songs I knew well, but it ended up being fantastic,” Hart says. “My nervousness inspired me to find a way to live up to these wonderful songs. I was touring when I learned the material, but I’d listen to them over and over as we were traveling. I knew that to go into the studio with the level of players that would be there, including Joe, I really had to rise to the occasion. I couldn’t do my best—I had to do better. That kind of focus was good, and humbling. I wanted to make the best record ever.”

To back Hart up, Bonamassa assembled the band that was heard on his #1 Blues album The Ballad of John Henry (2009): Anton Fig (drums, percussion), Blondie Chaplin (guitar), and Carmine Rosas (bass), as well as Arlan Scheirbaum (keyboards). “The first day of recording,” recalls Hart, “I was so nervous I broke out in hives, realizing I was playing with such great musicians.” She quickly hit her stride, though, and the sound evolved into a simmering mix of soul, jazz, rock, and blues, with Hart’s vocals confidently in the pocket of each and every groove, her voice wrapping around the lyrics with grace and emotional intensity.

Throughout the preparation for and making of Don’t Explain, Hart feels she grew as an artist by virtue of listening to so many classic performances so many times, and then finding her own relationship to the songs. “For me, it couldn’t have been better timing than to do a soul-based record now, and to do it with Joe. His playing is genius,” says Hart. “It was a fantastic experience.”
Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

1 comment: