Beth Waters – This Little Piggy

Beth Waters
This Little Piggy

There is something about the album cover that is part soft and sweet like a lullaby and part eerie like children singing in a horror flick. The image features Beth Waters in front of a background of cotton clouds on strings with half of Waters’ face peeking around the edge of the album. There is nothing specifically creepy about the look on her face but something about the slight forward tilt of her head makes me feel a little uneasy. And then with tracks like “This Little Piggy”, “Dark Road to Hell” and “Not Mad Enough” I wasn’t surprised to hear a voice that had a dark hint to her warmth.

Waters’ intelligent and poetic lyrics are often deep and personal with a certain amount of vulnerability that helps to let the listener in. Her breathy voice can go from being full of wonder and happiness to instantly slipping into a dark, mournful tone all in one line. Her ability to capture many different moods and create relatable characters helps to make this album stand out from those that rely heavily on just having a pretty voice.

An instant attention grabber, “White Dogs in the Moonlight” starts the album on the right foot with a thoughtful yet troubled song about the realization a woman has about her own self while dealing with a less-than-perfect relationship. “Moonlight” is upbeat with an infectious melody that you would likely find yourself singing hours later.

“Get Off this Planet” with its unique harmony and rainy mood caught me off guard and actually reminded me a bit of another debut album I reviewed a few months back from Chicago-based Sub Rosa. If you decide to give this album a spin and like this song, I recommend you also give Jennifer Boeder, leader singer of Sub Rosa, a try.

“Dark Road to Hell” shows off Waters’ sexy side in a track that sounds like Tori Amos doing a slinky, piano-based jazz number with upright bass. The title track is another catchy number, even though the lyrics that stick in your head “I’ve got a little suitcase / full of my dreams / I’m gonna think hard / Of the person I could be” tell of a child wishing to runaway from an abusive home. Closing the album up nicely is a cover of Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away” featuring only Waters’ voice over spare piano notes that turns the song into an emotional ride that will tug firmly at your heartstrings.

While Waters’ may not be the first female to bring singer/songwriter folk music into the modern world, nor is she showing off anything completely unique, she does have intelligently crafted songs and a solid voice with a resemblance to several well-known artists like Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos. There is even a resemblance to the beautiful vocals of Jewel in “Forms of Truth”. This Little Piggy has the potential to hold your attention from beginning to end as it moves through every-changing levels of emotion over hook-filled, high-energy numbers and soulful piano-led ballads. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these songs were soon heard on the radio and other artists were being compared to her in the future.