So, what treats does the irrepressible SheBeat (Jodie) have in store for the gentle listener in this latest collection of five self-penned songs?
Well, what the EP tries to do is best summed up in Jodie’s own words: “I wanted to bring you a SheBeat-on-the-sofa sound. When I perform live, the energy in the room created between myself and the audience is hard to beat, but James and I tried to make the sound as intimate as possible for the studio recording.” (James Mellor at Motor Museum Studios being her producer).
When we see SheBeat perform live she is that rare thing, she is unapologetically just herself, really herself, no gloss, spin or shimmer – SheBeat is just SheBeat. And most would agree that to know her is to be captivated by her.
Jodie is in equal measures fun, quirky, and sometimes just plain daft, yet she also exudes a self-effacing and disarming frankness, and unguardedly wears her (big, big) heart on her sleeve. She can silence a room with one of her acoustic ballads, and in the next moment have people singing along to her cover of “She Loves You”. Very few Liverpool artists would dare to cover a Beatles song but SheBeat carries it off with bold and unashamed aplomb.
In this latest EP SheBeat yet again stays true to what she is good at. She eschews over-intricate song construction and over-elaborate lyrics, and in her wish for intimacy she avoids over production, over-dubbed instrumental chicanery and flashy layered vocals. Whatever is in the songs is there because it is needed. In my view a little bass or electric guitar, some simple percussion perhaps, wouldn’t have gone amiss in some musical passages to complement the simplicity of the acoustic guitar arrangements, but SheBeat certainly achieved what she set out to achieve – an intimate on-the-sofa feel.
The five tracks take us through different aspects of the SheBeat character.
“Feels Like” finds her in contemplative mood with a tender love song with minimalist, heartfelt lyrics and a so simple acoustic guitar accompaniment. “Rainproof” was inspired by a quote from Dolly Parton who once opined that “you need some rain to make a rainbow”, no doubt in her soft southern drawl. Jodie’s song tips a nicely crafted nod to the great Dolly. “Yours Sincerely” is a song inspired by the film stars of yesteryear, this one harking back to a Marilyn Monroe quote (when perhaps dear Norma Jean had had a rotten day) that it “must be stupid to be sincere in a cynical world”. Feeling stupid for being sincere is something that most of us can relate to, and this kind of sentiment is just SheBeat all over. “Until Now” is a slight diversion from the SheBeat norm, a little more bluesy than usual and featuring some quirky whistle. But with “Hairy Boy Blues” Jodie is well and truly back on track with an endearing and charming ditty about yearning, unrequited love.
The EP launch event is a part of Liverpool’s original beard and moustache contest BeerdFest, being held at Constellations, Liverpool, Saturday September 3rd.
Doors open 2pm other acts playing the course of day include Maddie Sternberg, Joe Kelly, Neildsy, Liz Owen, Benn Helm and Eleanor Nelly. Free entry but charity donation expected for Freshfields Animal Rescue.
Digital release available for download on iTunes, Amazon etc., follow the links from www.shebeat.co.uk
Limited Edition CD available in person or via mail order – you can order via the contact form on www.shebeat.co.uk
The artwork illustration was the handiwork of SheBeat Jodie’s beloved Andy, who also provided illustrations for her debut music video last year.
Plans for the rest of the year include gigs to promote the EP in London, Brighton, Glasgow, Cornwall and Manchester. A video for the title track is likely before Christmas. Bookings being taken already for next summer with Beardmasters Festival booked for August 2017.
Liverpool Acoustic is the only website of its kind in the UK. It was founded by Graham Holland in April 2008 as a central resource for the vibrant and exciting acoustic music scene in Liverpool and the Greater Merseyside area. The website publishes news from the local acoustic music scene, previews of upcoming events, reviews of music releases and gigs, and the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight podcast. This content is available for free via email subscription. The diary lists acoustic events including festivals, theatre concerts, folk clubs, showcases and open mic nights.