Bettysoo WHEN WERE GONE

Self-released …………

Texan, singer-songwriter, destined for the big league A new name, to me, this is Bettysoo’s first new material in five years. As the blurb explains, ‘a lot can happen in five years.’ Mostly she has toured, both in America and Europe. A self-confessed insomniac, with a life-long struggle with depression, it appears that Bettysoo’s best medicine is keeping busy. Helping out friends in need and writing dozens of new songs along the way are her therapy.

Her music sounds fully formed, though presumably she has worked long and hard to hone her craft. Produced with Brian Standefer at his studio in Buda, Texas, their sound draws the listener in. Brian’s cello playing is often to the fore, vocals are layered and Bettysoo’s solid acoustic guitar is out front. Will Sexton adds muscle on electric guitar while the steel guitar skills of Lloyd Maines soothe on Last Night. 100 Different Ways Of Being Alone sounds like a hit. An attractive melody, recalls the best of Susanna Hoffs or Kathleen Edwards. Likewise, Summertime is equally engaging.

Bettysoo draws you in with her excellent sense of melody but her lyrics find their mark, like in The Things She Left Home With, ‘A hoody for cold nights, cigarettes for food.’ It’s the tale of a woman haunted by her memories. It’s the same kind of compelling narrative writing that made Lucinda Williams so special. Yes, Bettysoo’s talents, on this evidence, are up there with the likes of Lucinda, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin.

Each song is a compelling snapshot; like in Josephine, the male office worker who leaves his job in the evening to sing as his alter-ego. Title song, When We’re Gone, talks about possessions left behind and how they give a clue to a persons’ life, their story. The closing Lullaby evokes a similar melancholic feel with its gorgeous cello. This is a terrific record. John Brindle

www.bettysoo.com

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