Liverpool Sound and Vision Review
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
If any woman around today can cope with the pressure, albeit pleasurable and gratifying, of performing alongside producer Kevin Shirley and perhaps the finest Blues/Rock guitarist of the last 20 years in the form of Joe Bonamassa then Beth Hart is that woman. The gutsy and fiercely independent lady matches the intensity of Joe Bonamassa’s guitar and the strength that he quietly carries around, a man who could walk into a room and turn heads but would be reserved enough to point to his musical weapon and say that’s the star.
On their second collaboration together, Seesaw, a collection of classic Soul covers, the stars are not just the guitar, Beth Hart’s amazing vocals or even Kevin Shirley’s precise work in getting the best out of both musicians but it is the new interpretation of some of the most classic songs to have been heard over the airwaves in the history of music. Not only does it take sheer endeavour to be rated highly enough to work alongside Joe Bonamassa but the weight of expectancy and burden of responsibility of carrying off songs with so much history attached to them would be enough to make musician think two or three times about recording them.
On the back of Don’t Explain, there would have been surely no hesitation in recording together again and in Seesaw the music is near as exemplary as is possible to get without delving into a world where no other music exists. Beth Hart uses her smoky like vocals to breathe life into songs that didn’t even know they were gasping for air. Tracks made famous by legends are given a new task in life and whilst nothing will ever replace the sound of the likes of Billie Holiday or Tina Turner, Beth Hart pays homage respectively and with a huge amount of vigour.
Joe doesn’t take a back seat for anyone but on this album, his guitar whilst superb and demonstratively and affectionate sublime, the stamp is that of Ms. Hart and on tracks such as Nut Bush City Limits, Miss Lady, the incredible sultry jazz of If I Tell You I Love You, Rhymes which was made famous by the unique figure of Etta James and the blistering, brutal and evocative version of Strange Fruit, the stamp is one beauty, grace and moments of pure overwhelming satisfaction.
Both artists and Kevin Shirley make a formidable team and in Seesaw that team ethic is magnificently captured, a wonderful homage to some of the great songs of the last 100 years.