Back To Love

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Imagen, 2010

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Sometimes, I think Beth Nielsen Chapman is too good a songwriter for her own good. Her songs create a feeding frenzy from artists hoping to cover them, and many of the elite performers of country music have interpreted her work. Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Tanya Tucker, Lorrie Morgan, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Alabama, Waylon Jennings, Terri Clark, and even old Willie Nelson have had her work grace their albums.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Chapman has now returned with her first studio album since 2007’s Prism. In that time, she lost her husband to cancer and fought her own health battle as well. Despite this, Back To Love is an album of reflection and, ultimately, hope. Her music falls into the pop/country category and the lyrics are intelligent and meaningful.

Her voice is in fine form and it lends an authenticity to her work. She is also smart enough to not allow the instruments to overwhelm her words.

There are two back-to-back tracks that have a stunning beauty to them and rank as two of her better creations. “Even As It All Goes By” is a wistful and yet positive reflection upon the journey of life. She explores “the long journey to the promised land” that we have all embarked upon. Meanwhile, “How We Love” places the emphasis squarely upon her words and voice with a simple piano as the main support.

This release is inhabited by a number of cuts that are almost as good as the first two mentioned. “Hallelujah” is the album’s lead track and quickly establishes the mood of what will follow, soaring in an upbeat celebration of joy. “More Than Love” is a country track with touches of bluegrass, a hand-clapping song with wonderful rhythms at its foundation. The roots of “Happiness” extend back almost ten years to a time when Chapman was undergoing chemotherapy. She recently finished the piece and it explores her thoughts and feelings from that period.

Beth Nielsen Chapman has never been a prolific songwriter, but she has always been an exceptional one. Her musical journey has taken her in a number of directions during the past thirty years but perhaps none as enjoyable as the contentment of Back To Love.

Rating: B+

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