Beth Hart - The Brook, Southampton 25th November 2011

With exactly one month to go until Christmas, we received a very welcome, early Christmas present in the form of the beautifully talented Beth Hart performing in the intimate surroundings of The Brook in Southampton. Beth has one of the best voices you will ever hear - one part Janice Joplin, one part Etta James, and a whole lot of soul drawn from a background that feeds both her emotionally fragile lyrics and her incredible vocal range. She was backed by a very impressive band consisting of Tom Lilly on bass, Todd Wolf on drums and Jon Nichols on guitar. For the latter it must have been daunting, knowing that Beth's most recent album is a collaboration with one of the best guitarists in the world today: Joe Bonamassa - but he put his own stamp on the songs tonight and did a magnificent job.

You cannot take your eyes off of Beth when she is on stage - whether seated behind the piano singing emotional songs like "Leave the Light On", rocking up front with the band playing "For my Friend", or telling raucous anecdotes between songs. She was totally mesmerising.  We had a number of songs from the "Don't Explain" Bonamassa collaboration including - "Sinner's Prayer", "Chocolate Jesus" and "Well, Well", along with a host of others from her back catalogue including "L.A. Song" and "My California"(which was dedicated to her road manager husband, along with the story of how they met). The night flew by and Beth looked like she was enjoying it as much as we were.

I'm sure Beth get's fed up of reading reviews that mention her past, but it makes her performance even more astonishing when you know her background: alcohol addiction from the age of 11, drugs from 15, dropped by her record company after appearing on TV looking emaciated, a jail sentence for writing false prescriptions..any one of these would be devastating to most people.  Thankfully she got into rehab and we now have one of the best blues/rock singers alive today.

If you've never heard her then do yourself a favour and go see her, buy the albums, go on YouTube, whatever it takes.. at the very least check out the footage below to see why I think that I may be a little bit in love with Mrs Hart.


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