For the generations who missed out on Janis Joplin. For those who wonder what might have happened if Amy Winehouse had gone back to rehab. For anyone who has a proclivity for a powerful show tune. We give you – Beth Hart.

Beth is big in stature with a towering on-stage presence, and she is a genuine giant when it comes to mastery of that powerful voice – which is so deservedly her trademark.

This is the sort of music where you don’t have to have been a lifelong fan to immerse yourself in its wonder. These are songs where one listen is enough to remind you that life is great and worthwhile and made for living.

Stylistically they blend powerful soul with intricate blues, with regular jaunts into the smokey world of jazz, and also a nod to the power of rock’n’roll.

A heady mix that is instantly addictive.

And that’s written from the perspective of a real first-timer with no hint of fan subjectivity.

We weren’t the only ones at Bexhill’s beautiful De La Warr Pavillion for whom this was an inaugural experience. All around us were conversations between avid fans and the friends they’d pulled along to share their love for Beth. And from the collective audience response she had clearly won over even the hardest cynic within the first few numbers.

Yes – she has found a God to help her through some dark times. And yes, if you’re not of a religious persuasion the occasional reminders of this conversion might jar somewhat with your pure enjoyment of the musicianship. But Beth doesn’t preach from the pulpit – she simply lets you know she has a faith and that it has allowed her to find peace with the world.

I for one won’t hold that against her.

I adore Alison Moyet, and Beth brings her to mind.

I miss a little known band called The Lovegods, and Beth reminds me of their singer, Nadéah Miranda.

I pray (in a figuratively aetheistic fashion) for music to have a future. And as long as musicians like Beth continue to ply their trade, my wishes are granted.

Photos by Sara Bowrey

[flickr_set id=”72157689897944190″]

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