Grammy-nominated 'powerhouse vocalist' Beth Hart appearing soon at Cambridge Corn Exchange
The acclaimed Californian musician, who will perform at the venue later this month, speaks to the Cambridge Independent
Beth Hart will embark on her biggest UK tour to date on April 12. Gigs in Bexhill and The Royal Albert Hall are already sold out and there is now limited availability for her show at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Tuesday, April 24.
Beth, 46, has confirmed the Kris Barras Band as special guests on her UK tour on all dates excluding London, and the “powerhouse vocalist” (Rolling Stone) will be performing songs from her latest solo album, Fire on the Floor, as well as tracks from her long career, which essentially began back in 1996 when she released her debut album, Immortal.
An enthusiastic purveyor of blues, rock, jazz fusion and soul, Beth put out Black Coffee, a collaborative effort with famed American guitarist Joe Bonamassa, in January of this year.
What’s the best gig that you’ve been to, or has inspired you the most?
I don’t go to many gigs. I remember going to a Petti Labelle concert when I was 16 – that was pretty amazing. I was with my best friend, who was a massive fan of hers, and she was just so genius and amazing and how she talked to the crowd and got the crowd going. I remember at some point she started peeling off her eye lashes and giving them away to people! She took off her fur coat and gave that to somebody. I don’t know what she did but she did some pretty cool stuff and it was pretty inspirational and that voice, she’s from another planet.
What is your favourite part of touring?
That’s so funny, I was just talking to my husband about it. Sometimes I adore it and the things I adore are getting to play to people, change up the set – we change it up every night. It’s that challenge of that, remembering something that you pull out that you haven’t played for a couple of years, or however many years. I love getting to have different food and getting to be around different people and different cultures and different ways people look at life. It’s really kind of helped me open up my mind and see the world from different perspectives. So I think that’s a really cool thing, a humbling and cool thing for me.
What’s your favourite UK venue so far, and why do you like it so much?
God, I wouldn’t be able to tell you the name of the venues. I’m not very good at remembering that kind of thing but I remember being at the Royal Albert Hall that one time and I thought that that was really beautiful. Oh, and there was another place that was a theatre; it was kind of like a big theatre, but not as large as there [the Royal Albert Hall]. We have played quite a few places that I really enjoy in the UK. I find them all pretty cool, pretty nice and great sound.
Do you have a pre-show ritual? If so what is it?
Just, you know, the boring stuff like vocalising and making sure I do some yoga. Meditation is really good. I do that a lot with my bass player Bob and we do TM (transcendental meditation) – very relaxing. Then I do my make-up and getting my outfit out or whatever I am going to wear and then really working on the set list. I do a little rehearsing backstage as well, I set up the piano backstage and stuff.
You have played with both Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa. What do you like to about playing with guitarists like them?
Well, both of them are very sensitive and nice to me and they are both so talented. It is inspirational to see how humble they both are in what they both do and how hard they work as well. They both put a lot of effort into playing all the time and practising and working on their craft, and I love that. I feel like they don’t take it for granted at all, they really cherish it and that’s a pretty inspirational thing.
What songs can we look forward to you playing on tour?
I usually like to play different stuff from different records and try to cover all the records if I can. I don’t know how much stuff from the latest Joe record I will be playing because there is a lot of horns and there’s a lot of background singers – and there is a lot of stuff that we didn’t have on our first two records that I can’t really pull off with my band. There might be a few things we do but I don’t think it will be more than one, two, three songs... but the stuff from all the other stuff I have done with Joe and stuff I have done on my own.
What are you most looking forward to when retuning to the UK?
There’s one hotel we stay at and, forgive me, I don’t know the name because I can never remember anything, but it’s just a cool little spot and I don’t know it has a homeliness about it... It’s really warm and people are nice there.
The audiences are really great there [the UK] and I really enjoy that. I really love it over there; I love Europe period. Europe has been so wonderful to me and all the architecture and all the history and just the way people think and live is so different.
Beth Hart will be at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Tuesday, April 24 at 7.30pm.
Tickets: £37.75-£42.75. All tickets include a £3 booking fee.