Two-time Grammy nominee Beth Nielsen Chapman has just released her thirteenth album Hearts Of Glass. Breaking away from her norm by handing over the reins, Chapman entrusted this album’s production to Sam Ashworth (Charlie Peacock), who also contributed instrumental tracks, backing vocals, and co-wrote “Enough For Me”, one of two songs in which Chapman enlisted the help of co-writers.
And a good decistion it was; Ashworth’s production is nothing short of flawless. From the upbeat and happy opening track, “Come To Mine” (co-written by Graham Gouldman and Kevin Montgomery), to the heartbreaking and beautiful “Still My Valentine”, to the gorgeous re-recording of 1993’s “Dancer To The Drum”, the track list is constantly shifting moods, without becoming convoluted.
Hearts Of Glass does not rely on flash or flare. Although you will hear some incredible instrumental work, including a searing pedal-steel track from Spenser Cullum Jr, as well as contributions from Jeff Taylor, Rodney Crowell, Johnny Duke, and Matt Slocum, Chapman’s songwriting is the true focus of this album. The raw emotion, in both the content and delivery, are all this album needs to stand. Much of its beauty is born of its shear simplicity.
A hallmark of exceptional songwriting is the ability to paint a picture through words and melodies. This album does a fantastic job of doing just that. In taking the time to allow the music to work its magic on my mind’s eye, I saw a vivid picture. This is how I truly came to appreciate this beautiful piece of work.
Hearts of Glass resides somewhere near where an old, wise soul meets a young and beautiful heart. It brings to mind a woman aged gracefully beyond her youth; someone who has outgrown the naivety of girlhood and embraced her vulnerability; someone who has found confidence and strength in doing so. This is the masterful work of a seasoned storyteller who has lived through elation and sorrow, love and loss, seen the beauty and ugliness in the world, and has come to accept and appreciate it all as a part of life. These songs are lessons.
If you’re not initially gripped, chances are you will find your own connection with it as the album unfolds. Even if Hearts of Gold is somewhat of a slow burn at times, it is well worth a listen. Get your copy here. https://bethnielsenchapman.com/