International blues sensation Beth Hart took to the stage at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on Thursday.
We are living in a world where women are rising as strong admirable figures that young children idolise. Beth Hart is no exception. Through trouble and turmoil, she has relentlessly come out on top proving that nothing will stand in her way of success.
She has worked with internationally recognised artists including Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Beck and Eric Gales. An achievement as a young adult she would have believed to be impossible. Her battle with bipolar disease has proved challenging towards her self-criticism, but it has also fuelled her creativity. The world has entered a mental illness epidemic and Beth has become the ultimate example for us all. With each difficulty that we face, it should be channelled into achieving something positive.
The venue is known for putting on some big names such as Ozzy Osbourne, Kings of Leon and Motorhead. Crowds filled the hall and as the lights went down an applause erupted. Having grown up in LA, home to palm trees, beaches and Hollywood, Beth welcomed the crowd by asking if everyone had spent the day at the beach. She then joked about the walk her and her husband took only hours earlier, to have a drunk male walk up to her husband in an attempt to intimidate. “Yeah, no!” she laughed shaking her head. A clear dismissal that her husband is a big guy and is the strong figure in her life.
The whole show was an intimate and autobiographical journey into the life of Beth Hart. She came on stage full of energy, confidence and determination to have a good time. Love Gangster was the second track of the evening and it was written for her good friend Leonard Cohen. It’s off her album Fire On The Floor and its moody blues had Beth commanding the rooms attention.
It’s amazing that at 46 years old Beth can strut her stuff and have the attitude and glamour of a 20-year-old. The piano was decorated with candles that contributed to the tone of the show. Her playing was effortless. There were no rules or rigidity. The audience experienced watching a group of best friends perform what they love the most. The musicianship of her band reflected the years they have spent learning their craft. Each member appeared to know exactly what the person next to them was playing at all times.
The audience was let into the fond memories of Beth’s childhood. She spoke of being back home on an LA beach when she was around 10 years old thinking all boys taste like Coca Cola. She wrote a song about it. The next part of the journey was about a sad time when Beth received a phone call about her mother’s husband leaving. Her mother was 81 and she later phoned Beth to tell her she had found a new boyfriend aged 54 and that they would be moving in together. The song is titled Love Is A Lie.
The music upped tempo and a vintage rock and roll vibe filled the room. Hart discovered Lavern Baker’s Saved through Bob Dylan’s radio show and she owned the song. She sung it to each individual member of the audience. The type of experience you would receive at a Bruce Springsteen concert.
The evening took a darker twist as the audience learned about Beth’s sister who she lost. The song is called Sister Heroine. The band leave the stage and all that is left is Beth and the piano. This is Beth’s time now to speak and to confront her demons. She talks about her drug addiction that she suffered in her 20s and the strength her husband gave her as she was going in and out of rehab and psychiatric wards. She welled up and pulled from the strength of the love her husband has given her to sing Take It Easy On Me.
Take it easy on me
I break easily and this steel butterfly
Will learn to fly eventually
God take it easy on me
Take It Easy On Me – Beth Hart
There is no denying that Beth wore her heart on her sleeve that night. Despite all of her challenges, she produced an outstanding performance. That performance told the story of her life and she chose to share that with a room full of strangers. Those strangers will hold that memory forever.