Liz Beebe just dropped a solo album for sleepy people. The album is entitled Hush Now: Lullabies for Sleepy People. Beebe is the dynamic frontwoman for Dustbowl Revival, the Los Angeles-based roots orchestra, or Americana swing band, depending on your preference. The band blends bluegrass, gospel, blues, and New Orleans swing into a one-off sound.
Beebe’s life revolves around extensive international tours encompassing months on the road. When Beebe found out she was going to be an aunt, she wanted to be present to, and participate in, the life of the newest member of her family. Beebe decided an album of lullabies was just the ticket. Friends and family sent her lists of songs they sang to their children. Beebe took the songs and infused them with her own distinctive interpretation.
“I wanted to challenge myself and make something of my own. I work with seven talented musicians who, mostly, came up in the industry knowing that working and touring would be part of their career. As someone who fell in sideways, unexpectedly, I have been known to treat myself, with more doubt and skepticism. Making this album was an exercise in creativity and joy,” says Beebe.
While on the road with Dustbowl Revival, she recorded demos in an improvised studio that was more like a booth. It was the closet in her hotel room. Once she got back home, she transformed her closet at home into a do-it-yourself studio. Daniel Gordon and Brahm Bourque produced the album, making sure it embraced tender charm and tantalizing sonic nuances.
Comprising 10 tracks, Hush Now opens with “Baby Beluga,” a bubbling, enchanting version of Raffi’s song for children. Highlights on the album are James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James,” and a song Beebe first heard performed by Shawn Colvin on Elmopalooza, called “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon.” The song features a sparkling acoustic guitar and softly suffusing strings.
My two favorites on the album include “Black Bird” and “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon” because of Beebe’s gently textured tones.
Hush Now is a wonderful album. Even though the songs are lullabies, adults will enjoy the elusive familiarity of the tunes.