Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Beth Hart, known for her raw and powerful blues-rock sound, wraps her expressive vocals around classic soul covers on Don’t Explain, an album that grew out of her friendship with the acclaimed Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. The album will be released in Europe on Monday 26th September by Provogue Records.

Produced by Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Country Communion), Don’t Explain is an intimate collection of hand-picked soul cover versions, as performed by celebrated artists, such as Gil Scott-Heron, Tom Waits, Etta James and Aretha Franklin.

Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa - Don't Explain

‘Don’t Explain’ – Album Track listing

1. Sinner’s Prayer (Ray Charles w/ B.B. King)
2. Chocolate Jesus (Tom Waits)
3. Your Heart Is As Black As Night (Melody Gardot)
4. For My Friend (Bill Withers)
5. Don’t Explain (Billie Holiday)
6. I’d Rather Go Blind (Etta James)
7. Something’s Got A Hold On Me (Etta James)
8. I’ll Take Care Of You (Gil Scott-Heron)
9. Well, Well (Delaney & Bonnie)
10. Ain’t No Way (Aretha Franklin)

Don’t Explain perfectly combines Beth Hart’s raspy soulful vocal with Bonamassa’s unique guitar sound, Kevin Shirley, who has produced Bonamassa’s last five albums, reflects on what it was like working with Beth for the first time – “Beth’s got a pretty heady voice, very reminiscent of Janis Joplin, she’s also got a lot of Etta James in her, but hadn’t really accessed it. With this material, there is a gentleness to the way she delivers the most heartfelt tunes that she hasn’t shown before. It’s very cool, she’s done a fantastic job.”

Bonamassa and Hart had crossed paths on the road numerous times, and played many of the same festivals in Europe. In early 2010, Joe caught a show of hers in London – “It was killer,” says Bonamassa – and suggested they do a project together sometime.

“I was up late one night, I couldn’t sleep. I was playing songs on my iPod from the reissue of Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, which included all the opening acts from that Stones show,” he recalls. “As soon as the Ike & Tina Turner tracks came on, I just said out loud, ‘Beth Hart.’ I emailed Kevin, saying, ‘Let’s do a soul covers record with Beth,’ and he replied back, ‘Actually, that’s a great idea.'”

Clearly humbled by the recording process, Beth Hart adds “Going into the studio with the level of players there, including Joe of course, I really had to rise to the occasion. I couldn’t do my best, I had to do better. That kind of focus was humbling, and it was great. We had such a good time making the record; I listened to all these songs over and over to learn them the best I could. I felt so much growth just by virtue of listening to these amazing singers. I hope some of those chops rubbed off.”

To back Hart up, Bonamassa assembled the ace band that was heard on his 2009 #1 Blues album The Ballad of John Henry: Anton Fig (drums, percussion), Blondie Chaplin (guitar), Carmine Rojas (bass), and Arlan Scheirbaum (keyboards). The sound evolved into a simmering mix of soul, jazz, rock, and blues, with Hart’s vocals confidently in the pocket of each and every groove. “Beth has been an absolute hidden gem,” says Bonamassa. “She has a beautiful voice. She’s a fantastic singer, a lovely person.”

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