LIVE: Beth Nielsen Chapman – Pocklington Arts Centre, 11/11/2022 1

LIVE: Beth Nielsen Chapman – Pocklington Arts Centre, 11/11/2022

This is the first of two consecutive nights for Beth Nielsen Chapman at Pocklington Arts Centre, the second having been added by popular demand. It should come as no surprise that Nielsen Chapman has sold out both shows, the American musician is, after all, a two-time Grammy Award nominee and a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee. It also affirms the continuing ability of this dynamic, progressive multi-arts venue – located in a small market town in the county of East Yorkshire – to attract such high-profile artists.

Beth Nielsen Chapman is in this country on an extensive, nationwide tour to promote her 15th studio album, Crazy Town which was released in September to widespread critical acclaim. And it is to Crazy Town she immediately goes this evening, opening her set with the first track from the record, ‘All Around The World’. A rousing global message of optimism and hope, the song acquires an even greater resonance today, Armistice Day, when we commemorate the signing of the peace agreement that ended the First World War and remember those who have died in military conflicts.  

Beth Nielsen Chapman is backed by an impeccable band of multi-talented, multi-instrumentalists – Ruth Trimble (keyboards and bass guitar), Mia Morris (drums and bass guitar), and Scott Mulvahill (upright bass, guitars, harmonica). It is a fully immersive, wholly integrative affair. Scott Mulvahill is also the support act on this tour. Before the main attraction, he plays a delightful little solo set during which he is joined by Mia Morris for a couple of numbers. Morris also gets the opportunity to showcase her recent single ‘Why U Mad?’ And then during Beth Nielsen Chapman’s set, Ruth Trimble moves centre stage herself to deliver the title track from her 2016 album, Before The Rain.

Ruth Trimble, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mia Morris, Scott Mulvahill

Together the four musicians combine beautifully to give us a perfect balance between what is the lion’s share of Crazy Town and a number of carefully selected tunes from Beth Nielsen Chapman’s extensive back catalogue, one that now stretches back more than 40 years. The complexion of the setlist highlights Beth Nielsen Chapman’s consummate ability and unerring versatility to just move effortlessly between musical styles and often deeply contrasting lyrical themes. 

‘Put A Woman In Charge’ (co-written with the celebrated American blues musician, Keb’ Mo’) is an up-tempo rallying cry for humanitarianism; ‘4leafclover’ a charming encapsulation of what it feels like to fall helplessly in love. Beth Nielsen Chapman’s open and honest reflections on loss and grief are captured on first, the powerful piano ballad ‘Sand and Water’ and then, ‘The Edge’, both deeply moving with the latter possibly the stand-out song of the whole evening, featuring as it does some haunting, spectral guitar from Scott Mulvahill which magnifies the despair that lies therein. There is an out-and-out rocker courtesy of ‘The Universe’ (co-written by Nielsen Chapman and her fellow countrywoman and another fabulous singer and songwriter, Kimmie Rhodes) and the playful country honk of ‘Strong Enough To Bend’ (this one co-written by Nielsen Chapman and Don Schlitz and previously a big hit for Tanya Tucker). And then, of course, there comes ‘The Kiss’, another co-write and a song with which the American singer Faith Hill enjoyed such huge global success nearly a quarter of a century ago and one that also helped to put Nielsen Chapman’s son through college!

Beth Nielsen Chapman also takes requests from the audience. ‘How We Love’, she tells us, was completed in the moments immediately after the removal of a benign brain tumour that had been impacting upon her ability to write lyrics. She is someone who has experienced much sorrow and hurt in her lifetime, the loss of her first husband to cancer and her own battle with breast cancer being but two instances of this. But the creation of music and then being able to perform it in public has played a significant part in Nielsen Chapman’s healing process and here tonight she conveys much of the spirit and determination that has enabled her to achieve this, battle through to the other side of that despair, and find herself in a much better place. 

Ruth Trimble, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mia Morris, Scott Mulvahill

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos of Beth Nielsen Chapman at Pocklington Arts Centre

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.