Live At The Royal Albert Hall Beth Hart

Album info

Album-Release:
2018

HRA-Release:
30.11.2018

Label: Provogue

Genre: Blues

Subgenre: Bluesy Rock

Album including Album cover

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  • 1As Long As I Have A Song (Live)02:42
  • 2For My Friends (Live)04:20
  • 3Lifts You Up (Live)03:56
  • 4Close To My Fire (Live)05:29
  • 5Bang Bang Boom Boom (Live)04:26
  • 6Good As It Gets (Live)04:40
  • 7Spirit Of God (Live)05:04
  • 8Baddest Blues (Live)06:01
  • 9Sister Heroine (Live)07:00
  • 10Baby Shot Me Down (Live)03:32
  • 11Waterfalls (Live)05:39
  • 12Your Heart Is As Black As Night (Live)06:09
  • 13Saved (Live)04:30
  • 14The Ugliest House On The Block (Live)05:54
  • 15Spiders In My Bed (Live)04:57
  • 16Take It Easy On Me (Live)06:32
  • 17Leave The Light On (Live)05:58
  • 18Mama This One's For You (Live)04:11
  • 19My California (Live)06:21
  • 20Trouble (Live)05:31
  • 21Love Is A Lie (Live)03:21
  • 22Picture In A Frame (Live)04:43
  • 23Caught Out In The Rain (Live)09:56
  • Total Runtime02:00:52

Info for Live At The Royal Albert Hall



Beth Hart makes one hell of an entrance. It’s May 4th, 2018, and the Royal Albert Hall is in blackout. As a sell-out crowd holds its breath in the darkness, a lone figure appears from the shadows and purrs the opening line of As Long As I Have A Song in that unmistakable burnt-honey voice. Taking her time, followed by the spotlight, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter picks her way between the aisles of this iconic London venue, delivering the languid jazz vocal entirely acapella, while shaking the outstretched hands of fans who can’t quite believe what they’re witnessing.

It takes a special talent to command that historic stage. But for the next two hours and 23 songs, Live At Royal Albert Hall will hold you spellbound, as the singer whispers and hollers her hopes, fears and deepest secrets in your ear, making this massive venue feel like a nose-to-nose club show. A thousand interviewers have tried to unpick the fascinating enigma that is Beth Hart. But as Live At Royal Albert Hall reminds us, everything you need to know is right there in her songs – and the intimate off-the-cuff stories she spins before each one.

Stroll through downtown Los Angeles in the early-’90s and you’d have found Hart strumming guitar on 3rd Street Promenade, waiting for the big break that came when she was discovered by her manager, David Wolf, and eased into a record deal with Atlantic that gave us 1996’s Immortal and 1999’s Screamin’ For My Supper. It was a bitter-sweet period for Hart, whose unmedicated bipolar disorder and troubled personal life stopped her reaching the heights her music deserved. But to the delight of long-standing fans, she doesn’t flinch from revisiting it at the Royal Albert Hall, switching to acoustic bass and introducing the rootsy Spiders In My Bed that was written in the eye of the storm. “Back then,” she explains, “I could never sleep. I could go three or four days and stay awake, and it was just mania.”

The new millennium brought fresh hope and the musical highs returned with revered albums like 2003’s Leave The Light On and 2007’s 37 Days, Hart treats us to three of her most positive songs from that redemptive era, bolstered by the crack-squad rhythm section of Bob Marinelli (bass) and Bill Ransom (drums). For My Friend, was a highlight of 2011’s Don’t Explain: Hart’s first double-header release with Bonamassa and an album that alerted a wider audience to her jaw-dropping talents (while forging her reputation as a go-to muse for A-list guitarists including Slash and Jeff Beck).

She takes to the piano to pound through the title track of 2012’s Bang Bang Boom Boom, also cherrypicking that album for the poignant, jazz-inflected Baddest Blues. Better Than Home is represented by Trouble and Mama This One’s For You. 2016’s Fire On The Floor is mined for moments like the dramatic storm clouds of Love Is A Lie, Baby Shot Me Down and Picture In A Frame. It all ends with the astonishing slow-burn blues of Caught Out In The Rain, Hart sunk to her knees, lost in the moment as her vocal builds from a breathy vocal to a bereft roar of “God, don’t take my man”.

Not even Hart herself can follow that. And so, Live At Royal Albert Hall ends as it began, with an impassioned moment of intimacy from an artist who is setting the pace on the modern scene. It’s been a night of a thousand emotions, for both performer and audience. But as the entire crew take a low bow and Hart is carried off in the loving arms of her husband, her parting shot says it all: “We had a ball, man…

Beth Hart, vocals, piano
Jon Nichols, guitar
Bob Marinelli, bass
Bill Ransom, drums
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, guitar



Beth Hart
is on fire. Right now, the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter is riding a creative tidal wave, firing out acclaimed albums, hooking up with the biggest names in music and rocking the house each night with that celebrated burnt-honey voice. In 2016, the headline news is Beth’s latest album, Fire On The Floor, a release that even this fiercely self-critical artist describes as “pretty frickin’ good.” But let’s not forget the backstory that brought her here…

The Blues Magazine once dubbed Beth Hart “the ultimate female rock star”, and there’s no doubt that her two-decade career is the ultimate thrill-ride. Born in Los Angeles, she released a fistful of hit albums through the ’90s, then reignited in the post-millennium as both a solo artist and the head-turning vocalist for guitar heroes like Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Beck and Slash. “Extraordinary,” wrote The Times of her once-a-generation voice box, while The Guardian praised her “daring, brooding and angry” performances.

But it’s in recent times that Beth has truly blossomed. In April 2015, she released Better Than Home, a critical and commercial smash that topped the iTunes Blues Chart and was crowned #4 Best Blues Album Of The Year by Mojo magazine. The release also reached #1 in the Dutch charts and helped Beth to fill Amsterdam’s Heineken Music Hall with 5,500 fans (her largest club show to date). “Oh, that was so good, man,” she reflects. “I love Holland. They’ve been really good to me.”

The US market has embraced her, too, with Beth packing ever-larger venues in major cities on the Better Than Home tour – including Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium – and receiving a nomination from the American Blues Foundation in the category of Contemporary Blues Female Artist. “It’s unbelievable,” she admits. “This last tour, we were playing much bigger houses than I’d ever played in the States – and they were sold-out.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, Beth’s rocketing UK profile has never been higher. Recent years have seen auspicious headline sets at the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican (not to mention the historic Hampton Court Palace with Joe Bonamassa), and in December 2015, she chalked up another first with a spot on Jools Holland’s legendary annual Hootenanny.

Bringing in the New Year with a soulful take on Tell Her You Belong To Me and Nutbush City Limits alongside long-time collaborator Jeff Beck, it spoke volumes that the pair’s performance rapidly became the Hootenanny’s most-watched clip on the BBC’s official YouTube channel (even overtaking heavyweights like Tom Jones and Paul Weller). “Every time Jeff performs, he just kills it,” gushes Beth, who also joins the veteran guitarist for her first-ever appearance at the Hollywood Bowl this year. “To me, he’s the greatest ever.”

Just as memorable, also last December, was Beth’s first solo gig at London’s Union Chapel (subsequently voted by fans as the venue’s gig of the year). “It was the most terrifying experience of my entire life,” she admits. “I got up there and I was so frickin’ scared. But then, halfway through the show, I just started to enjoy it. By the end, I felt so connected to the audience, and I really felt like they did that show with me. It was like we were all the band.”

A highlight of that Union Chapel show was a heartfelt rendition of Mama This One’s For You (included on Better Than Home as a bonus track). The audience’s reaction lit a lightbulb, and in early 2016, the singer announced a contest inviting fans to submit footage of themselves with their mothers, for inclusion in a special Mama video released for Mother’s Day. “I cried when I saw the edited version for the first time,” Beth recalls. “I love my own mom more than anything in the world, and I found it so touching and beautiful.”

Beth’s passion for collaboration also continues apace in 2016. On the heels of 2011’s Don’t Explain and 2013’s Grammy-nominated Seesaw, there’ll be another studio hook-up between the singer and blues titan Joe Bonamassa, with sessions set for August. “I’m really interested in us doing stuff from the ’40s and ’50s,” she reveals. “Rock ‘n’ roll, torch songs and jazz songs…”

For now, though, Beth’s focus is Fire On The Floor: a new studio album sure to build on her breakneck momentum. As the singer explains, this latest record gave her an emotional release following the bitter-sweet sessions for Better Than Home. If there’s a theme that ties these twelve songs together, it’s a sense of escapism following the hardest of times. “We were still in the mixing stages for that album and I knew I had to make another record. Making Better Than Home was so painful, because one of the producers, Michael Stevens, was dying of cancer. It was a very emotional record to write and to make. I wanted the songs for Fire On The Floor to get born real quick.”

Beth’s first call was to the acclaimed producer Oliver Leiber, who called a session at his home studio in Toluca Lake and drafted a crack studio band that included Michael Landau (guitar), Waddy Wachtel (guitar), Brian Allen (bass), Rick Marotta (drums), Jim Cox (piano), Dean Parks (acoustic guitar) and Ivan Neville (B3 and organ). “Oliver rounded up some amazing musicians,” nods Beth. “Michael Landau and Waddy Wachtel are legends, so when I found out we had them, I just couldn’t believe it. If you don’t have great musicians, you’re not gonna have a very good record, are you?

“We recorded sixteen songs in three days,” continues Beth of the quick fire LA sessions, “but then we spent a long time mixing. Oliver is a brutally hard-working person, but he’s also incredibly sensitive and that combination works so great. He’s strong and focused, but still so vulnerable, and his heart is wide open. I’m so proud of what he did on this record.”

Take a spin of Fire On The Floor and you’ll see exactly why. These twelve new songs run the gamut of genre, reflecting Beth’s eclectic teenage influences, which took in everything from gospel, soul and classical to the seismic rock of Soundgarden. “As a writer,” she nods, “I feel really stifled if I’m trying to write in the same style. I just can’t do that. Growing up as a kid, I was raised all over the place stylistically, loving so many different genres.”

As such, you’ll find everything from the spring-heeled soul of Let’s Get Together to the brittle rock of Fat Man. “I love that song,” she says of the latter. “That’s actually a co-write with a wonderful songwriter named Glen Burtnik, who I started writing with when I was about 24. We wrote that seven years ago – just a basic skeleton – but then I got super-inspired and wrote out the lyric. It feels good to sing it. That’s what’s so great about rock ‘n’ roll. It’s just such a fantastic way to let out your angst.”

Likewise, the title track: “I love Fire On The Floor. It’s just smoldering. I think it’s gonna be a fantastic piece to perform live. It’s filled with passion. It’s about when someone you know is so bad for you, but you can’t help it. Then there’s No Place Like Home. I love that song. It’s about how, like, you spend a lot of time on the road, and you start to realize all the great things about being home. Kinda the opposite to the song Better Than Home.”

Other upbeat highlights include the salsa-tinged Baby Shot Me Down and the jazz-inflected Coca Cola, with a vocal that reminds you why Beth was recently voted as the 20th best blues singer of all-time in The Blues. “Vocally, that one takes me back to a Billie Holiday kinda singing,” she reflects. “I love that kind of vibe, like a light, fun sexiness.”

By contrast, there are some songs that Beth had to wrench from the emotional depths. “Picture In A Frame is a big one for me,” she says. “When I started writing it, I was thinking about being in love with my husband. But when I was done, I could see that I really connected it with Michael Stevens, and it was my way of saying to him, y’know, ‘I just want you to be better’.”

Despite all the emotionally bare moments, for Beth, this record represents a catharsis. “I think Better Than Home is one of the best records I’ve ever done,” she says, “but it was a brutal experience. Fire On The Floor has more energy and I think, overall, it’s just got more balls. And I think I really needed that, just to balance out that heavier mood on Better Than Home.”

Fire On The Floor is the album that Beth Hart needed to make. Likewise, it’s a record that you need to hear. “I’m so pleased with it,” she concludes. “I recently had to organize the sequence of the record, and while I was doing that, I was thinking to myself, ‘Y’know, this is pretty frickin’ good…!’”

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