Sometimes I think Beth Nielsen Chapman is too good a songwriter for her own well being. Her songs create a feeding frenzy from artists wishing to cover them and many of country music's elite 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.
She has now returned with her first studio album since 2007’s Prism. She has lost her husband to cancer and fought her own cancer battle as well. Despite this, Back To Love is an pop/country album of reflection and ultimately hope, carrying lyrics that are intelligent and meaningful.
Her voice is in fine form here and it lends an authenticity to the album. She is also smart enough in not allowing the instruments to overwhelm her singing.
Two tracks especially have a stunning beauty to them and rank as two of her better creations. “Even As It All Goes By” is a wistful yet positive reflection upon the journey of life. She explores “the long journey to the promised land” which we have all embarked upon in some way. The other song, “How We Love," places the emphasis squarely upon her words and voice with a simple piano as the main support.
The rest of the album is inhabited by songs which are almost as good as aforementioned ones. “Hallelujah,” the album's lead track, quickly establishes the mood of what will follow, soaring in an upbeat celebration of joy. “More Than Love” is in a country vein, with touches of bluegrass and hand clapping with wonderful rhythms at its foundation. The roots of “Happiness” extend back almost ten years to when Chapman was undergoing chemotherapy which she recently finished in reflection.
Beth Nielsen Chapman has never been a prolific songwriter although 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 so enjoyable as the contentment on Back To Love.