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Leave the Light On
     

Leave the Light On

4.6 3
by Beth Hart
 

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Welcome to the sounds and poetry of recovery and redemption. On Beth Hart's third album in six years, the singer/songwriter has taken her already lean, rootsy approach to writing, scaled it back to skillfully reflect what is essential in a song, and then, as is her trademark, poured the very grain of her being into each performance. On Leave the Light On, Hart

Overview

Welcome to the sounds and poetry of recovery and redemption. On Beth Hart's third album in six years, the singer/songwriter has taken her already lean, rootsy approach to writing, scaled it back to skillfully reflect what is essential in a song, and then, as is her trademark, poured the very grain of her being into each performance. On Leave the Light On, Hart speaks through unapologetically classic, mainstream rock music so gritty, edgy, and true (informed by the gospels according to the Rolling Stones, the Faces, and Janis Joplin), it's virtually unlike anything out there at the moment -- the White Stripes not withstanding. "Lifts You Up," the opener, uses one of the finest anthemic R-A-W-K hooks in a chorus since Delaney & Bonnie, employing muddy ringing buzzsaw guitars, upright piano, bass, drums, and hand percussion to celebrate the notion of life on life's terms: "It lifts you up it puts you down/Then it feeds you life, then it lets you drown/While it holds your heart then it slowly tears you/And you know life is what I mean." The title track is the first real power ballad of the new century. It is the most searing cut on the set. Virtually every word is loaded with dark confession and emotion, but unlike some of her peers who also explore the sewers and gutters of human ruination and soul death, Hart is far from content to remain there. Buoyed by her own piano, assorted keyboards emulating strings, Greg Leisz's pedals, strummed guitars, and a rhythm section, Hart's words seek the edges of the cage and bust forth, counting on the possibility of change inherent in every moment. The lyrics, centered around the fear of being alone after a life of pain -- absorbed and meted out -- are scalding in their indomitable hope. These two tracks become the first turns of the wheel of pop culture dharma -- rock & roll is the means to convey the fact that these small truths have become self-evident: that a woman can survive, sometimes in spite of her best efforts. Where more "contemporary" architectures are used, on "Lay Your Hands on Me" with its drum loops, "World Without You" with its beautifully textured keyboards, or the stunning acoustic piano majesty of "Lifetime" backed by a whispering Hammond organ, the effect is the same. Songs that take no prisoners, such as "Bottle of Jesus" or "Broken & Ugly," with fierce melodies and burning guitar crunchiness, are welcome alternatives to the tuneless radio drivel of Limp Bizkit or Korn. Ultimately, Leave the Light On is indeed Hart's crowning achievement thus far. Not many can string three fine albums together, let alone make each better than the last. This too is part of a rock & roll heritage that Hart, one suspects, is proudly a part of: the process of artistic growth realized over time, one that seeks the long road rather than short gain. Ultimately, as Beth Hart continues to allow her muse to inform and transform the ashes of her past, the listener benefits mightily from her journey. No matter what happens commercially or critically, this album will sound necessary and vital a decade from now. Classic rock indeed.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/21/2003
Label:
Koch Records
UPC:
0099923824121
catalogNumber:
8241
Rank:
26039

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beth Hart   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals
Richard Baker   Organ
David Gamson   Keyboards
Jerry Hey   Horn
Dan Higgins   Horn
Russ Kunkel   Drums
Oliver Leiber   Guitar
Greg Leisz   Pedal Steel Guitar
Tom Lilly   Bass,Bass Guitar
Bernie Pershey   Conga,Drums
David Raven   Drums
Danny Saber   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar
Patrick Warren   Keyboards
Albert Molinaro   Bass,Bass Guitar
Rev. Brady Blade   Drums
Jorgen Carlsson   Bass
Kevin Cloud   Drums
Sergio González   Drums
Mike Bradford   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Electric Piano
Jimmie Bones   Organ
Chris Frazer Smith   Hammond Organ
Jon Nichols   Guitar
Scott Miracle   Drums
Kip Packard   Guitar
Chris Smith   Hammond B3
Dan Higgens   Horn
Bernie Hershey   Conga,Drums

Technical Credits

Glen Burtnik   Composer
Paul Buckmaster   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Marc DeSisto   Engineer
David Gamson   Programming
Oliver Leiber   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Danny Saber   Programming,Producer,Audio Production
Greg Sutton   Composer
Bob Thiele   Composer
Eric "ET" Thorngren   Producer,Engineer
Beth Hart   Composer
John Shanks   Composer
Mike Bradford   Producer,Audio Production
Jeff Chenault   Art Direction
Jon Nichols   Composer
Kimberly Goodnight   Fashion Advisor
Rob Hill   Engineer
E.T.Throngren   Audio Production

Customer Reviews

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Leave the Light On 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
How does music like this get shuffled to the side while we are forced to sit around and listen to a bunch of people who have never heard of her debate who the best women in rock is: Avril Lavinge or Pink? In a world of the clean and the pretty, Hart offers us something a little deeper and realer called truth. She pours herself into the vocals of each song with a passion for finding exactly the right emotion with no thought to whether or not the resulting track is radio friendly. Lyrically, she shows herself willing to go for the shocking if it is honest, but not relying on it to draw attention to the story. It is refreshing to see this in an artist. The music pulls from the edges of gospel and even pulls in a steel guitar. However, unlike many of her contemporaries, Hart uses this merely to add emotion, and not to make herself "country enough" to attempt a sad country crossover to make up for the lack of Top 40 airplay. And, she layers her sound very well, lush with strings and Hamond Organs and congas and horns and just plain old fashioned gospel organs. And yet, the focus remains on her vocals, Hart being one of very few women with vocals aggressive enought to blend with this backdrop and not get lost in it. So, while this isn't necessarily a fun album to listen to, it is an amazing album to listen to. When giving an interview about "Not Pretty Enough" Kasey Chambers summed up her inability to get airplay with "We know we are too outspoken...but sometimes that edge is what makes music good." That line covers Hart as well. Out spoken and not-quite a good role model for teenaged girls (unless they want to grow into phenomenal rock women), Hart serves up a heavy dose of the best of what rock and roll can be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hear her sing on television when see sung LA Story on David Letterman and I haven't been able to find her CD. I recently saw her new one and I love it. I can't stop playing it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago