Lady Sings The Blues
How Slash and Joe Bonamassa's favourite blues-rock torch singer went through hell and came out the other side
In December 2012, Beth Hart was granted an audience with President Obama. The scene was the annual Kennedy Center Honors, held at the upscale Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, DC, and Hart was there to perform Etta James’s I’d Rather Go Blind with Jeff Beck as part of a tribute to venerable bluesman Buddy Guy.
In fairness, Obama was only watching from the audience. But as far as audiences go, it was a stellar one. As well as the most important man in the Western world, the 2000-strong suited-and-booted crowd featured such VIPs as Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, comedian Tina Fey and chatshow host David Letterman. Equally heartbreaking and life-affirming, I’d Rather Go Blind was a fitting choice for Hart. Pouring her heart out in front of this A-list audience, she brought the song to an emotional climax and received a standing ovation for her efforts.
Watch the YouTube clip now and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Hart’s journey to this elevated position had been smooth. Certainly, her CV would suggest as much: as well as her on-stage hook-up with Jeff Beck, she has been involved in two acclaimed collaborations with Joe Bonamassa to go alongside eight of her own solo albums.