Interview: Beth Hart
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 12:56:37
Rock's favorite soul siren gets happy, sort of, on new album 'Better Than Home.'
Once you hear Beth Hart's voice, you can't shake it, especially on her seventh full-length album Better Than Home [Provogue, Mascot]. For the uninitiated, she remains one of rock's biggest and best vocalist, a talent that's been extolled by everybody from Jeff Beck to Slash. She also continues to break boundaries with each new record, delivering a one-two punch of bluesy bravado and pure soul that's unmatched. So, we spoke to Beth about Better Than Home's story, her next album already in the can, and how the Kennedy Center Honors changed her life.
How did you approach Better Than Home?
I wrote a lot of songs. I turned in over 40 songs to the producers Rob Mathes and Michael Stevens. I met both of them during the Kennedy Center Honors for Buddy Guy. We sat and listened to all of the songs, chose twelve, and recorded them. We placed ten on the record and used the two extras as special tracks. One was used for iTunes.
So, it all started Kennedy Center Honors?
Jeff Beck is an old friend of mine now, and he had come to a show that I was doing in London. After the show, he asked me if I would like to do the Kennedy Center Honors with him and decided to do the song "I'd Rather Go Blind" for Buddy. We thought it would be a perfect song to sing for him. We did the show and the musical director and show director asked if I wanted to do a record with them. I wasn't initially interested as I had made records with Kevin Shirley, but I gave it a shot. Both guys were so good to me and the process was really great experience.
How did it differ from the past?
The producers were very clear and didn't want to make a rock or blues record. In my early days, each record I made has been different from the last. I tend to write in many different directions, and they wanted to hone it a little bit more. This is why I turned in so many songs. I tend to write based on how I feel that particular day.
What seems to tie everything together now?
I think that the lyrics, in term of past records of mine, have a lot to do with everything that I have gone through with depression. The narrative overall is definitely more grateful, hopeful, and positive. They were really interested in having more hopeful pieces and putting that together as a record.
"As Long As I Have A Song" stands out. What's the story behind it?
So glad you liked it, it's one of my favorites. It's my first time about writing about my love and hatred for songwriting—as it is my favorite thing to do in the world. When it is flowing, I feel surrounded by a higher force while I am in writing mode and feel grateful and joyful. When I go into writer's block, I find it very hard and get severely depressed. I go into seclusion and feel like hurting myself and now addressed this entire process.