September 27, 2019 Beth Hart – War In My Mind (Album Review)
Rising to fame with the release of her 1999 single “LA Song (Out of This Town),” Beth Hart has remained in the spotlight ever since. In fact out of the L.A. area, as her breakthrough single suggested 20 years earlier, Hart is a dynamic singer, songwriter and musician whose music is full of feeling that is raw and sincere. Known to wear her emotions on her sleeve as a pianist and singer, she is set to gift the world what could be her boldest moment with the new album War In My Mind.
Set for release on Friday, September 27th via Provogue/Mascot Label, the album comes shortly after her 2018 collaborative cover record, Black Coffee, with fellow Blues player Joe Bonamassa. Her ninth solo album, she dug deep to put together eleven new songs that she has stated, “More than any record I’ve ever made, I’m more open to being myself on these songs […] On this record, something told me, ‘Just let it be what it is.’ I think I’m starting to make a little headway, getting closer to the truth. And I might not know what the truth is… but I’m OK with that.”
Allowing this statement from the artist herself to seep in, the record begins strongly with Blues song “Bad Woman Blues,” which entices you to come along for the ride. Matched with a catchy rhythm that makes the muscles twitch, the title-track “War in My Mind” comes in as a much calmer track while digging deep underneath the skin. Then there are more stripped down pieces, such as piano ballad “Sister Dear,” which is as much breathtaking as a prelude to what is to follow later into the album.
Song by song, Hart is talking about the struggles of life as well as those in her own head. In a way, she opens her heart and mind, revealing what is going on inside her mind. Fearless, the pure and honest approach allows you to connect with her in a vivid way; in fact, you can very much relate her thoughts to your own. This relatability is what makes War In My Mind such an easy listen, but it also does not hurt that the Blues Rock rhythm of each track embeds itself into your head.
Whether the track is focused around piano, like the ballad “Thankful,” or you have a steady beat coming from a sampler like “Try A Little Harder,” the music fits to the mood of the lyrics, and Hart manages to make it all work magically with her voice. Whether she sings softly or screams from the top of her lungs, her voice sounds full and rich.
In enough words, pain, sorrow, joy, hope, and everything in between are what is packed into War In My Mind. Featuring rhythms that vary between slow and melancholic to catchy and thriving, no emotion is out of place or left out. This said, the arrangements paint the picture, but it is Beth Hart’s storytelling talent that completes it in gut-wrenching fashion. A highly addictive album that is honest and pure without sugar coating, Cryptic Rock gives War In My Mind 5 out of 5 stars.
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