BettySoo may well have the most gorgeous voice in Texas at the moment, if not in all contemporary folk: Its purity and strength can be downright devastating when shined through the prism of songs like ‘100 Different Ways of Being Alone,’ one of the many standouts from her deeply moving 2014 set When We’re Gone. The rest of her catalog is just as rich – and varied, too, with 2007’s Little Tiny Secrets flashing a sense of humor as wicked as the true grit that characterized her Gurf Morlix-produced 2009 release, Heat Sin Water Skin.
Time has steeled her vision, unlocking tiny transformational moments in her songs that capture the encompassing swell of depression, heartbreak, and torrents of everyday life. The local songwriter’s pop sensibilities remain untarnished yet expanded…concealing darker, harrowing tones in the balance of hope and sorrow. 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.
Who knew BettySoo had the chops – and the guts – to suck the air out of the room by singing Hank Williams? And she didn’t just sing “I Heard That Lonesome Whistle,” she gave it a singular interpretation like a jazz singer. The crowd was totally quiet, stunned by the beauty of the moment. In the over-crowded, somewhat stale field of Americana, Betty Soo is the very real deal.
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.
Real music. Terrific!
A lovely voice and a gifted player.
BettySoo’s clear, sincere singing registers a strong impact. (4 stars, live review)
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.
This album is replete with the kind of clear-voiced, slow-burning, slightly self-conscious angst that melts hearts.
“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.
BettySoo is one of the great singer-songwriters making a difference on American stages today…a clear-as-a-bell, modern sound.
If “Never the Pretty Girl” isn’t already an anthem, it should be…it’s one of those songs with which everybody, not just women, can identify.
A strong, engaging, and hugely entertaining live performer with a wry sense of humour.
They had us eating out of their hands.
BettySoo’s voice is the perfect combination of strength, vulnerability and clarity. It is just perfect.
These are exceptionally well-arranged songs, as easily equal in precision to, say, Patty Griffin or Alison Krauss…a confidence that speaks volumes.
Only once in recorded time has another musician been known to perform a Dylan song better than Dylan: When Jimi Hendrix turned ‘All Along The Watchtower’ into an ominous classic rock track and Dylan himself started playing it that way. At least until Thursday. On Thursday night, BettySoo served up ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ straight—no portentous bellowing, no hanging onto syllables. The way she felt it. And she may have pulled a Jimi Hendrix.
The most remarkable aspect of this collection is that there simply isn’t a clinker in the lot — which is something even this newcomer’s heroes can’t claim.
BettySoo packs unexpectedly large vocals, combined with intelligent and riveting songs.
Her voice is big and expressionistic, sauntering across country-folk arrangements with beauty and wisdom that’s often breathtaking.
BettySoo so easily defies expectations…her crisp vocal phrasing abets lean, evocative writing, skillful enough to unbalance your senses.
This is the voice that will carry you…Austin singer-songwriter BettySoo has crafted beautiful, heart-wrenching songs that are also edgy and unwavering.
Moving and compelling original compositions…served up in a home-produced musical brew that’s nestled snugly somewhere between the poles of folk, gospel, twang and indie.
BettySoo’s voice is gorgeous — soulful, tender…BettySoo absolutely nails it! (Live Show Review)
Possibly the only second generation Korean country singer in Texas, her classic voice belies her ancestry and her diminutive stature, her songs both nail hard and duvet soft in the first two tracks alone.
BettySoo can snarl convincingly when cornered (‘Get Clean,’ ‘Never Knew No Love’), but she still roars the loudest when she takes the beauty way: ‘What We’ve Got,’ ‘Just Another Lover’ and ‘Whisper My Name’ all prove that a gorgeous melody and voice to match can be as devastating as a deep and dirty groove.
BettySoo is a rare talent that stands head and shoulders above many country wannabes.
BettySoo delivers a wonderfully fragile interpretation…BettySoo will tip the balance.
Only five feet tall and petite but with an astonishingly powerful vocal range this album adds real grit to her heartbreaker ballads.
She’s got the delicacy of Priscilla Ahn and the feminine strength of Dolly Parton – not a combination you get to see every day.
Her crystalline voice wraps itself around quiet ballads…and expands without apparent strain…BettySoo’s forte is love songs, distinguished by rich melodies and clever turns of phrase.
She has the voice and melodic skill to lend credibility to any emotion, but with a capacity for such pure, tender prettiness…BettySoo was one of the gathering’s buzzed-about artists, and the large room was packed. I found her stage presence to be reserved, yet wry, smart, and dignified rather than effusive—in short, a breath of fresh air.
…proves in the first few seconds that she is currently one of our most powerful female singers.
BettySoo’s voice is strong, feminine, and mesmerizing.
Gurf preps for the finish line with heartbreaking steel guitar, and BettySoo’s voice can knock everyone out in a way that very strongly fixes herself in the minds of her listeners.
Although there are only the two of them on the CD, the album has a surprisingly full sound – the opening track…grabbed me immediately. There are no bad cuts on Lie To Me.
BettySoo’s voice goes straight for the pericardium, as if to establish a direct link between the ears and the heart.
It’s easy to think “Whisper My Name” is a Patty Griffin song, and that’s not hyperbole.
BettySoo packs a big voice, and she exercises amazing control. Heat Sin Water Skin closes with an achingly beautiful, acoustic reading of the Jimmie Davis/Hank Williams collaboration ‘Lonesome Whistle.’ BettySoo simply owns the song, her voice encapsulating the desperation felt by the incarcerated narrator. If you want your heart ripped out, this is assuredly the track that will do it.
Heat Sin Water Skin is a great delicious dollop of Americana, country, dirty electric guitar parts enhanced with delightfully subtle Hammond touches.
I cannot imagine anyone playing or singing these songs any better.
…the gauntlet has been thrown down and the benchmark set.
A beautiful powerhouse voice and soulful, moving songs.
That high, clear voice takes us everywhere we need to go in order to explore the back dusty alleys of heartbreak in the Southwest.
BettySoo is best known for heartbreaker ballads and bell pure vocals
The final highlight is her take on Hank Williams’ “Lonesome Whistle.” The rendition is sincere enough to make you forget that she’s an regular Twitterer and instead ponder how on earth she’d ever end up behind bars…
Heat Sin Water Skin is a revelation. Wavering between gentle folk, dusty Texas-country, simmering blues and rock swelter, it showcases crisp phrasing, lean evocative writing and a passing resemblance to Lucinda Williams.
This is truly a great record…[Heat Sin Water Skin] is certainly a recording you will want to add to your library if you have not already done so.
From the first energetic syllable she sung on the vibrant opening cut “Never Knew No Love” I knew that I would know love, with this disc.
If I had to try to explain her sound well I would say she has the voice of an angel, similar to Allison Krauss, but with a swagger and honesty that is more closely related to early Lucinda Williams.
Get thee to Nashville, BettySoo! Music Row needs you! It is a gift to be able to write a song so accessible that it cuts through the chaff yet not so formula that it turns people off. BettySoo has the gift. Of the ten originals, not one falls in the I-need-to-hear-it-more-before-I-make-up-my-mind category. They are all first listen winners.