Who knew modern jazz could sound this incredible? For any jazz fan out there, I would highly recommend that you give the latest release by Beth Hirsch, Wholehearted a listen. Even those not into her genre of music will be vastly impressed. An inspiring mix of Joni Mitchell and Julia Fordham, the songs featured on Wholehearted have a lasting summery feel, especially the title track.
While the theme of the entire CD is relaxed, there is also a touch of feistiness ("I'm a lunatic in love"). And how can one NOT fall in love with this CD and the music that is presented on it? This album is laid back, with beautiful, subtle and clever melodies. Hirsch is certainly a talented singer who succeeds at what she puts out onto the market, and of course, she does not fail to be just as stellar on this album.
For those familiar with the French band Air, she is the lovely voice on the tracks of their songs "All I Need" and "You Make It Easy." With the right songs and producers, Hirsch proves she can give some mainstream artists a run for their money, with captivating beats and sweet melodies that makes this CD a must-have, whether it is to add to a jazz music collection or to give a basic collection of music a spice of variety.
The tracks on Wholehearted express a love for music. Beautifully arranged and optimistic lyrics are set to music with a slightly sentimental sound; it's a CD that can be enjoyable to the entire family. And on this particular album, her music, delivery and voice are captivating and energizing; the lyrics have incredible depth and insight.
With this winning combination, it is immaculately executed, a thoroughly refreshing experience, and establishes Hirsch as a unique artist. If you are expecting the sound-alike tunes of modern day music, then this album wouldn't fit into your music library at all, but if you are looking for a voice and lyrics to find your inner self--then you have come to the right place. After basking in the brilliance of Wholehearted, I had also taken the liberty of listening to her previous works, and I am certainly glad I did. The works of Beth Hirsch are a great find that is no doubt a talent that deserves to be internationally recognized. ..
L. Anne Carrington
Music Indie Music Stop Helium
For someone who is in fact a musically-literate household name – thanks to the global success of Air's Moon Safari (on which she sings and co-writes You Make It Easy and the seminal All I Need) – Beth Hirsch has managed to since remain untouched by media spotlights. Even the artistic brilliance of solo debut Early Days, a gorgeous duet with Wasis Diop featured in a key scene of 'The Thomas Crown Affair' and the big name producers on her second, critically acclaimed album Titles & Idols didn't manage to propel her to international superstardom. Judging by her latest work, however, this may not have been such a disaster.
Nearly six years on from Titles & Idols, it appears that time has been kind. Hirsch's evasion of mainstream fame has hearteningly preserved her authenticity and talent. Early Days was so called as it marked her first etchings and attempts at defining herself as a musician. Wholehearted is just as aptly titled; Hirsch has clearly put her all into its making, wisely choosing to focus on her strengths as both performer and writer rather than studio wizardry. By offsetting the striking versatility displayed on Titles & Idols with the bare bones of her debut, Wholehearted brings us the sound of a more mature artist who has found her niche. It's organic in sound and full of warmth and feeling. Her voice has always been astonishing, and now her songwriting really works in harmony with the most striking qualities of this most powerful of assets. Hirsch appears to be at a point in her life where uncertainties have been dealt with and some resolve reached. You only have to read the song titles – Love Will Come Again, All Together and Glad To Know – to get a sense of assurance. It's a rare creature indeed who has the grace to spare us the usual self-indulgence and deliver something that's both optimistic and touching.
As one might expect from a Florida-born, LA resident, these songs have a lasting summery feel. Take the title track for instance; drenched in trumpets and laidback piano, it would perfectly complement a hazy August evening. Habitually in Hirsch's music, however, there's a slight sense of paradox. Optimistic lyrics are often set to music with a slightly sentimental sound, and it is this edge that keeps you coming back. "This slate is clean, but not from heaven" she sings on Indelibly You, hinting some unrest still remaining. While on the whole the record is a relaxed affair, there's a touch of feistiness too ("I'm a lunatic in love"). Externalising a little, Hirsch makes some sharp and cutting observations in the magnificent Life Is Short But Wide, a song that looks at the ever-potent issue of war and what it's good for (hint: not much). Her soldier protagonist writes home "but Hope has died, just as I have died/I learnt today that life is short but wide."
Simply put, Wholehearted is an album borne out of love of music. Beautifully arranged and immaculately executed, it's a thoroughly refreshing experience. While the electronic soundscapes of Titles & Idols were a wonderful addition to Hirsch's sound, her return to these simpler, uncluttered stylings is a welcome affirmation of her talent.
- Wears the Trousers (UK)
WHOLEHEARTED is now being considered Beth Hirsch's greatest work to date, thanks to the ethereal & soulful combination of Hirsch's vocals and songwriting combined with the richly harmonious production of Jez Colin & Phillippe Balatier and featuring the world-class talents of keyboardist Deron Johnson (Miles Davis, Seal), Pascal Reva (NoJazz), guitarist Jaime Kime (Jewel, Michelle Branch) and trumpetist Enzo Villaparedes (Earth, Wind & Fire) among many others.