From writing hits for other artists to recording her own, twice Grammy-nominated Beth Nielsen Chapman, Nashville based singer-songwriter has truly embraced musical diversity. A breast cancer survivor, environmental activist, teacher of workshops and lecturer on the magic of creativity, she’s penned numerous hits and written songs for many top artists including Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Keb Mo’, Roberta Flack, Waylon Jennings, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Bette Lavette and many more. Her music has been heard on ER, Dawson’s Creek, Providence, Felicity and in movie soundtracks, including The Prince of Egypt, Message In A Bottle, The Rookie, Where The Heart Is and Practical Magic. Mega-hit “This Kiss,” sung by Faith Hill , was ASCAP’S 1999 Song Of The Year, garnered a Grammy nomination and Nashville NAMMY’S 1999 Songwriter of the Year.
Among Beth’s own recordings, the groundbreaking “Sand & Water,” released following the death of her husband from cancer in 1994, was performed by Elton John on his 1997 U.S. tour in place of “Candle In The Wind” to honor the memory of Princess Diana. Deeper Still was voted “Album Of The Year” by BBC2’s Terry Wogan. Beth also released Look, co-produced with the legendary Peter Collins, featuring “I Find Your Love” written for the movie Calendar Girls with Patrick Doyle.
Back To Love, released in 2010, spawned two hits on BBC Radio 2, and in 2012 Beth debuted, The Mighty Sky, a romping collection of songs about the wonders of astronomy that earned a 2014 Grammy nomination for “Best Children’s Album.”
On Beth’s new release, 2014’s Uncovered, she rolls out a batch of songs that have been covered by other artists, but she has never recorded herself. Most were Top 10 hits, seven of which topped the charts at #1. Recorded in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and her own “Tree House” studio in Nashville, Uncovered opens with a crystalline piano that gives way to an infectious groove on “Simple Things,” with backing vocals by Kim Carnes (of “Bette Davis Eyes” fame). Other guest artists lending their talent to the project include legendary guitarist Duane Eddy on “Shine On Me,” a song Beth wrote with Waylon Jennings that also features backing vocals by Jessie Colter-Jennings; Vince Gill duets on “Here We Are,” a #1 hit she and Vince wrote for Alabama; Darrell Scott sings and plays on “Maybe That’s All It Takes,” a stunning ballad that was a hit for Don Williams; Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan sing on “Five Minutes,” Lorrie’s first #1 hit; Amy Grant, Ruth Trimble and Eilidh Patterson lend their vocals to the stand-out track “Pray,” written with and featuring guitar instrumentalist extraordinaire Muriel Andersen; “Almost Home”—written with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Annie Roboff—features the “Wine Women & Song” artists Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg on rollicking background vocals, alongside Bekka Bramlett, who also sings and plays tambourine alongside George Marinelli’s electric guitar on “Meet Me Halfway,” the bluesy track written by Beth, Bonnie Raitt and Annie Roboff for Raitt’s Fundamental release. The Scottish sessions coproduced with Phil Cunningham, feature top grade musicians including Duncan Chisholm, John McCusker, James Mackintosh, Euan Burton, and Matheu Watson. Additional recording was done at Squiggle Studios in Harlech, Wales, where legendary bassist and longtime sideman on Beth’s UK tours, former Fairport Convention member Martin Allcock plays on several tracks.
Chapman’s prowess at writing in a wide range of styles shines through on this collection. From the infectious pop sensibilities of “This Kiss” (Faith Hill) and “Simple Things” (Jim Brickman) to the strains of bluegrass and country in “Strong Enough To Bend (#1 for Tanya Tucker) and “Nothin’ I Can Do About It Now” (#1 for Willie Nelson), the true thread that runs through it all is a her great passion for the well written song. It is also clear that she has a whole lot of fun performing these songs, and has no trouble bringing them home and making them her own once again.