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| 20 August 2020 | Reply

September 2019
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

War In My Mind, Beth Hart’s ninth solo album, sees her even more than usually emotionally raw and open and honest about the demons which trouble her.

Those demons writhe and flex throughout her career and inhabit her music, making listening to her work at times confronting and emotional. This ain’t “easy listening” or background music – to invest in Hart’s music is to confront the demons we all carry in our dark places.

Crucially, in her career and her music, as in her personal life, she is triumphant. Not always, not every day, but overall, she is winning the battles, and that positivity runs coruscating through her music. To properly be uplifting, to acknowledge the triumph, one must accept the existence of the darkness.

“I have never been that brave, without words in the way,” Hart sings on Words In The Way. It’s a bittersweet love song about coming to grips with a one-sided love, but it’s a lyric which sums up her fragility. In truth, she is mighty – the words and the music are merely how she expresses her battles. They are her therapy, if you like.

War In My Mind covers a lot of territory. Sure, it’s a blues album, but there is gospel (Bad Woman Blues, the stunning Let It Grow), there is jazz (Words In The Way), there is smoky flamenco (Spanish Lullabies) – heck, Rub Me For Luck could be a Bond theme and Sugar Shack has a shuffling disco beat.

As per the cover, showing Hart playing piano in a stormy and tumultuous landscape, many of these tracks are more piano based than guitar, but none less heavy emotionally. The piano ballad Sister Dear, written for her late sibling, is particularly heartbreaking, and the epic hymn Thankyou is just glorious.

Troubled she may be, but as long as Beth Hart continues to use music as her therapy and outlet, we can continue to hope that she will keep triumphing against her demons. War In My Mind is a masterwork from a true artist, and quite possibly her finest body of work yet.

Category: CD Reviews

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