Look

Look

5.0 1
by Beth Nielsen Chapman
     
 

Torch song and piano ballad fans who are not averse to the occasional cry in their beer should look closely at Look, the genre-crossing new release from Nashville singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman. If some songs seem reminiscent of the work of Emmy Lou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, and/or Bonnie Raitt, it’s probably because Chapman has written for them all,See more details below

Overview

Torch song and piano ballad fans who are not averse to the occasional cry in their beer should look closely at Look, the genre-crossing new release from Nashville singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman. If some songs seem reminiscent of the work of Emmy Lou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, and/or Bonnie Raitt, it’s probably because Chapman has written for them all, along with many notable others. However, Chapman boasts some serious pipes of her own: a gorgeous alto not afraid to reach for the big notes at the upper end of her range, where her voice wavers as fetchingly as moonlight on water. Nowhere is this better showcased then in those songs featuring sensuous melodies and sophisticated modulations that hark back to American Songbook standards. One can just picture Rogers and Astaire gliding across a ballroom floor to the title song, co-written with jazz great Andy Bey, or what seems like its sequel, "Touch My Heart.” Michael McDonald wraps his sinuous vocals around Chapman's on "Time Won't Tell,” a heartthrob of a song Chapman co-wrote with prolific country genius Harlan Howard. Yet another standout is Chapman’s duet with her son, Ernest Chapman III, on “Your Love Stays,” a simple but charming country ballad that evokes the folk revival repertoire of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Eleven songs strong, here’s a connoisseur’s collection of instant classics that sounds at once familiar and fresh.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Look is the album Beth Nielsen Chapman was working on when she released Hymns (part of her long-term project documenting the world's religious music). One of her finest qualities as an artist is that you can see exactly where she's at in each album. Unlike most songwriters, she makes no attempt to mask or detach herself from her own life in her work. Look is a collection of solidly constructed, emotionally taut love songs that examines a relationship from its initial attraction to its full fruition to its dissolution and back again. And while these are deeply romantic tunes, they are far from giddy or sentimental. Chapman co-produced Look with Peter Collins, and Annie Roboff. She collaborated with a group of fine songwriters, too, including Harlan Howard, Eric Kaz, Roboff, Patrick Doyle, Bill Lloyd, David Wilcox, and even Andy Bey. It's a big, wide-open record that rings even in its quietest moments. It sounds more like Franklin, Tennessee than Nashville. These 11 songs run the gamut from the spare pop balladry of the opener "Trying to Love You" -- an awesome testament to the graininess of love's stages in the everyday life of a committed couple -- to the finger-popping R&B of "Right Back Into the Feeling" that celebrates the fun in passion. It's one of two tracks on which Michael McDonald contributes backing vocals. "Free," written with Roboff, is a rhythm-driven rocker as testament to personal liberation with an African backbeat. "Time Won't Tell," written with Howard, is an honest to goodness country song, and it's one of the collection's stellar tracks. A broken love song, Chapman's water-like vocal is backed by a lilting pedal steel, and open, reedy acoustic guitars, John Catchings' cello and McDonald's backing vocal. They help crack open the emotion from the song's core and bring it to the fore, letting it fall freely. Look is another leap forward in aesthetic excellence for a diverse, savvy songwriter who never flinches in exposing the vulnerable, the dark, and the difficult while never giving into them, instead surrounding them with streams of light and a wonderful ability to share these things with consummate craft and accessibility. Look is full of grace and mystery.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/07/2005
Label:
Compass Records
UPC:
0766397440422
catalogNumber:
974404
Rank:
171096

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Beth Nielsen Chapman   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Synthesizer Guitar
Bill Lloyd   Bass,Soloist
Michael McDonald   Vocals,Background Vocals
John Jorgenson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Matt Rollings   Piano
David Angell   Violin
Bekka Bramlett   Tambourine
John Catchings   Cello
David Davidson   Violin
Dan Dugmore   Dobro,Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Connie Ellisor   Violin
Bruce Gaitsch   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Jim Grosjean   Viola
Viktor Krauss   Bass,Upright Bass
Kris Wilkinson String Section   Conductor
Anthony LaMarchina   Cello
David Leonard   Strings
Jerry Marotta   Drums
Chris Pelcer   Keyboards
Emily Saliers   Background Vocals
Pamela Sixfin   Violin
Crystal Taliefero   Percussion,Alto Saxophone,Vocals,Background Vocals
Gary VanOsdale   Viola
Mary Kathryn Van Osdale   Violin
Kristin Wilkinson   Conductor
Reese Wynans   Hammond Organ
Annie Roboff   Keyboards,Vocals
Craig Young   Bass
Tom Bukovac   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Carole Rabinowitz-Neuen   Cello

Technical Credits

Beth Nielsen Chapman   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements
Bill Lloyd   Composer,Contributor
David Baerwald   Composer
Andy Bey   Composer
Matt Rollings   Composer
Peter Collins   Producer
Eric Kaz   Composer
Harlan Howard   Composer
Kris Wilkinson String Section   String Arrangements
David Leonard   Sound Effects,Engineer
Chris Pelcer   String Arrangements
Allen Shamblin   Composer
Kristin Wilkinson   String Arrangements
Annie Roboff   Composer,Producer
Patrick Doyle   Composer,String Arrangements
Kate Lindsay   Wardrobe Design,Wardrobe Consultant
James Warner   Engineer
Sang Park   Engineer
Michael Modesto   Engineer
Traci Goudie   Art Direction
Mike Paragone   Engineer
John Netti   Engineer

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