A lot happens in five years. During the five years since her last album of original material, BettySoo zigzagged her way across the North American and European continents more than a few times. Mostly, she toured. Every other minute, she was flying to visit best friends in rehab, driving for days with friends whose family lives were crumbling, visiting mental hospitals, going to houses and cleaning kitchens and bathrooms when friends had no will left to do it themselves.
As an insomniac and someone who understands depression from her own life-long struggle, maybe she was exactly where she and her friends needed her to be: in the thick of it, reminded of how fragile the balancing act can be for people like herself whose mental health isn’t solid as a rock. And perhaps she did exactly what she needed to do: she wrote dozens of songs – capturing those seemingly endless moments of grief, loneliness, and loss, and those fleeting moments of joy and love – and she recorded twelve of those songs on her new album When We’re Gone.
Produced together with Brian Standefer at his studio in Buda, Texas, When We’re Gone is an intimate look into private spaces in life. Wall-hung sinks (“The Things She Left Town With”), cluttered floorboards (“Josephine”), packed suitcases at the door (“Hold Tight”), and crumpled clothing at a young girl’s feet (“Summertime”) – these are the furniture for the setting, but center stage is BettySoo’s voice, her melodies, and the unmistakable texture of Brian’s cello.
BettySoo and Standefer performed the bulk of the record themselves, layering cello on cello, voices on voices, guitars on guitars, and piano whenever it begged to be played, but the album also features several of their closest friends (who happen to be some of Texas’ finest players): Glenn Fukunaga on bass, Dave Terry and Rick Richards on drums and percussion, Joey Colarusso on clarinet and flute (“Lullaby”), Will Sexton on guitar (“The Things She Left Town With,” “Summertime”), and Lloyd Maines on pedal steel (“Last Night”).
Previous albums have garnered successively greater and numerous positive reviews. The Austin American-Statesman says BettySoo has “exceptionally well-arranged songs, as easily equal in precision to, say, Patty Griffin or Alison Krauss…a confidence that speaks volumes,” and KUT praises her “beautiful, heart-wrenching songs that are also edgy and unwavering.” BettySoo’s last album, Heat Sin Water Skin, received a great deal of radio airplay, including spins at influential Non-Comm/Triple A stations WFUV, KUT, WXPN, KGSR, KDRP and SiriusXM’s The Loft.
When We’re Gone builds on this previous success, brimming with what feels like new-found confidence and strength. Perhaps all the shared brokenness from the past five years is paying its dividends.
|BettySoo has been heading toward the territory of top-shelf local female singer-songwriters Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin for some time now, and “When We’re Gone” may well mark her arrival squarely in that league. – Austin American-Statesman|
|BettySoo is one of the great singer-songwriters making a difference on American stages today…a clear-as-a-bell, modern sound. – Yahoo! Music|
|“100 Different Ways” is no navel-gazing lament, as BettySoo cleverly offers a ladder up and out. Much of that comes from the way she structured her song — with a propulsive rhythm section and cooing backup vocals. – CMT Edge|
|BettySoo’s vocal versatility marvels throughout, trilling in the swirl of “Last Night” and breathing low despair on “The Things She Left Town With” and “Josephine,” a sound shifting between Patty Griffin and Lucinda Williams. Though excavating depths with a cool, observant distance, When We’re Gone tears at pain with precision. – Austin Chronicle|
|With local luminaries like Lloyd Maines on pedal steel and Glenn Fukunaga on bass, the album retains its Austin roots but expands beyond them too. “Listen” kicks off When We’re Gone with orchestral flourishes and a slowly building groove. – KUTX|
|BettySoo’s voice is the perfect combination of strength, vulnerability and clarity. It is just perfect. – Americana-UK|
|Live at the Kessler Theater||New songs posted each week online||with Doug Cox in the UK|
|ComboPlate Booking||MelFarina Media||Distiller Promo||BettySoo Music|
|Laura Thomas||Melissa Farina||Dave Sanford|
|laura at comboplatebooking dot com||8127 Mesa Dr|
|512.423.7667||503.468.1210||Austin, TX 78759|