Bethany Weimers ¤ Harpsichord Row (2012)

Bethany Weimers - Harpsichord Row (2012)

Bethany Weimers ¤ Harpsichord Row
Location: Oxford, Central Southern England, United Kingdom
Genre: Acoustic / Alternative / Folk
Album release: May 7, 2012
Record Label: 1784 Records
Catalog number: 1784 Records 1784R1201CD
Time:     35:55
01. Silver Moon      (3:38)
02. Lucky Day      (3:06)
03. William and His Ghost      (4:05)
04. The Letter      (2:39)
05. To The Land      (3:40)
06. 1784      (2:33)
07. 30000 Days      (4:02)
08. Harpsichord Row      (4:18)
09. Desire      (4:00)
10. Protect      (3:54)
Copyright: 2012 Bethany Lindsey Weimers T/a 1784 Records

Reviewed by Dai Jeffries / July 9, 2012
If you ever need justification for the technology that allows someone to make an album in their bedroom using a sofa and some sleeping bags for sound-proofing then this is it. Bethany Weimers plays piano and acoustic guitar, gets her drums from Pro-Tools and added some electric guitar from Mark Stow for some extra colour. And that’s all there is to it.
Bethany wrote all the songs and sings them in a voice that is flexible and interesting, strong without being strident. The opening track, ‘Silver Moon’, has been released as a single but my preference would have been for ‘Lucky Day’ which follows it. Then Bethany takes us out of our comfort zone with ‘William And His Ghost’, an upbeat folk-pop song, and ‘The Letter’ which feels vaguely sinister.
The name of her record label comes from another song; ‘1784’ is about a man called John born in Suffolk in that year. The only trouble with Harpsichord Row is that Bethany doesn’t give us lyrics or notes on the songs so it took some work to find that it was inspired by her great-great-grandfather. I have discovered that ‘30000 Days’ is the length of the average human life and I assume that is what is implied. ‘Harpsichord Row’ is a street in Oxford where Bethany lives. At least it was; it is long since built over.
So: intriguing words, and I apologise for going on about the songs but a songwriter has to be judged by what he or she writes, coupled with sometimes spare arrangements and an interesting voice – and I mean that it a good way, too – and you have a rather stunning debut. Dai Jeffries
Fortaken from + video "30.000 Days" (3:51)/audio "Lucky day" (3:06):

For the past few years Bethany has steadily been building a reputation as a stunning live performer who mesmerises audiences with her captivatingly unique voice and beautiful haunting infectious folk-tinged songs about love, life, memories and our connection with the past. Whether playing solo, her voice accompanied only by her trusted acoustic guitar or beloved piano, or with an array of talented musical friends, Bethany’s songs draw you into their story with hooky melodies that belie the darker content, poignantly exploring the human condition whilst remaining uplifting and life affirming.
In the summer of 2010, Bethany set out to record her debut album, a task that as proved to be the ultimate creative journey. What was originally intended as a simple recording of already composed songs has turned into something far deeper and on all levels more epic: nearly a year later the album has born six brand new songs with more on the way each day. A central theme has emerged around the idea of ‘Harpsichord Row’, a now forgotten street in Oxford, the remaining scars of which hundreds of people see everyday without knowing the full story; and the recording itself has taken on a life of its own as Bethany becomes ever more absorbed in the recording process. The album is now on track to be finished some time this year. Fingers crossed.
Alongside working as an artist in her own right, Bethany also writes for other acts. Her songs ‘Won’t You’ and ‘All My Life’ have been recorded by South African girl band La Vuvuzela; both are included on their current album ‘La’ and ‘All My Life’ was included on their album ‘In Stereo’ which was nominated for Best Pop Album at the 2010 SAMAs (South African Music Awards). Lots more exciting songwriting work is in the pipeline so watch this space! She also has a Masters in Composition from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and runs her own business teaching music in nursery schools.
Bethany lives amongst the beautiful dreaming spires of Oxford, England.
* * * 
“…a story-telling song-writer of real talent…”
“…the songs are crisp, clear and fill the space impressively…” “…played with such quiet confidence and such a pure, strong voice…”   Nightshift Magazine, May 2011
“…mesmerising folk tunes…”

Review: Miika Kuusisto, July 1st, 2012 | Rating: 4.0 Excellent
Summary: The Oxford-based musician, Bethany Weimers, succeeds admirably in displaying her talent as a singer-songwriter on her debut album after several years of playing small shows and festivals.
Bethany Weimers is one of the best discoveries I have managed to stumble upon in recent times. Listening to Harpsichord Row for the first time, I actually assumed Weimers to be a fairly established musician considering the high quality of both the compositions and their execution and was therefore rather shocked to discover that I was probably one of the first people in Finland to have even heard of her.
Stylistically we are in melancholic folky territories, but mixed with some pop sentiment that comes through especially in the choruses. It reminds me a bit of classic Joni Mitchell with a touch of PJ Harvey thrown into the mix. Weimers relies mostly on her acoustic guitar and piano to do the instrumentation while her expressive voice is the main focus. To spice up the performance, she also uses multiple tracks of backing vocals and well placed harmonies throughout the album, making the end result rather mesmerising and in part distinguishing her sound from her influences.
Additional electric guitar is provided by Mark Stow on two of the tracks, of which the album closer 'Protect' is also one of the definite highlights with its beautiful layered vocals. Other particularly memorable moments include the opener 'Silver Moon' with its hypnotising keyboard melody, and the dark and dramatic '30000 Days'.
Apparently recorded in a bedroom, the album nevertheless sounds absolutely professional and the stripped down production compliments the haunting atmosphere of the songs very well and represents Bethany's versatile voice with clarity that makes picking up the lyrics just by listening easy. There is still some rawness to be spotted at places, but that perhaps only adds to the charm; folk music is not meant to sound completely sterile after all.
At 35 minutes, Harpsichord Row is not a long album, but it does not contain any filler either. Every track is a tightly arranged package with captivating melodies and vocal hooks evenly spread on all ten pieces making you never feel like skipping a song. There is also a fair amount of variety going on with more up-beat and bright tracks like '1784' balancing the mostly sombre mood.
If you enjoy melodic folk or just well-performed female vocals over acoustic instrumentation, there is no reason not to give this little album a listen. It would be a shame for this very impressive debut to get completely overlooked by its potential audiences, which I am sure could be plentiful.

Bethany Weimers ¤ Harpsichord Row (2012)