Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beth Whitney - Yellow [EP]


Beth Whitney - Yellow [EP]
2010, Beth Whitney

Beth Whitney first picked up a guitar at the age of sixteen.  A gift from a fellow churchgoer, the guitar opened a new world for Whitney.  The poet in Whitney found song, and life would never be the same.  Whitney met Aaron Fishburn at Whiteworth College in 2004 and the two began to jam together.  From humble beginnings the two have gone on to become favorites on the coffee house circuit in the northwest US.  Beth Whitney’s first EP, Yellow, shows a singer/songwriter who has come to a comfortable place with her art and has begun to grow in earnest.

Yellow opens with "Fallin'", in which Whitney aptly captures the moments of falling in love and the huge uplift from the right person simply saying your name or looking your way.  This is great, gentle pop songwriting that will stay with you.  Whitney's lyrics are pure poetry, and her voice is sweet and sticky like taffy.  "Let's Pretend" finds Whitney expounding in the sweet and smoky voice of an old-school jazz singer about pulling in the stakes and pretending the outside world doesn't exist.  It's a love song about being totally together, even if for just a little while. "Drove Home Slow" is artistic pop.  Whitney builds a sonically unsettled arrangement wrought from ethereal dissonance and uncertainty to capture a low impact confrontation on the future of a relationship.  Pretty and disturbed at the same time, "Drove Home Slow" pushes the song as art form. 

"David" captures a moment and emotion, expressing a willingness to wait while he goes off to sow his wild oats.  The tune is poetic and mildly catchy, steeped in the devotion of true love and patience.  Whitney fills the sweetly mellow arrangement with a vibrant energy that catches the listener by surprise.  "Mary Lou" is a song of love, most remarkable for the utter beauty of the composition.  "Dusty And Moses" is a pretty but inconsequential album track that transitions into the closing track.  "Get Better" is a charming number written to a child from a mother's perspective.  Full of sweet worries and tender loving care while the child is ill, this one will tug at the heart strings of the mothers out there.

Beth Whitney shows a depth in perception and heart on Yellow, matching it with her ability to craft arrangements that envelop each story rather than merely support it.  Even more important, perhaps, is Whitney's ability to craft paintings from words, memorializing people and moments in song as living, breathing beings.  Yellow is an ultimately charming and sweet EP that speaks well for Whitney and implies great things for her musical future.  There's certainly enough here to encourage listeners to stick around and find out what else Whitney may have up her sleeve.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

 Learn more about Beth Whitney at http://www.bethwhitneymusic.com/ or www.myspace.com/bethwhitney.  Yellow is available from Amazon.com as a CD or Download.  The EP is also available via iTunes.