Album Review: The Listening Heart by Betsy Grant


Album Name: The Listening Heart
Artist: Betsy Grant
Year/Label: 2009 / Independent

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Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

What strikes me at first on this record is the sound quality. The production is a bit tinny, so rather than sounding lush, it sounds like I’m sitting in on a practice session on a concrete floor. Husband, who knows more about production than I do, says it’s compression. All I know is that when it’s on shuffle with other songs, it sounds like it’s playing in the next room instead of from my speakers that are 8 inches from my ears. It also sounds muffled at times. How something can sound muffled and tinny is beyond me, but that’s what I hear; and perhaps it’s just me. I am not an audiophile so I have no idea what’s going on, I just know how it sounds to my ears.

Production aside, this is really pretty new agey music. Piano is my favorite instrument and the playing here is lovely. It’s all instrumental which is always hard for me to write about since it’s mostly the female voice that draws me to music. However, I certainly can appreciate a well-composed piece and this album is filled with them.

There are a lot of tracks on this record, but they’re each pretty short. They’re all under three minutes, many of them under two. And when listening to this album alone (without other albums’ songs playing before or after for comparison) it sounds better since one can adjust the volume but it still has a muffled quality. Like I’m listening through gauze.

I want to make clear that the music is very beautiful. The songwriting is complicated and interesting; the instrumentation is stellar. Betsy Grant is clearly a very talented artist. It’s just that the production of the album that made it hard for me to enjoy it 100% and give it a perfect review.

This album is great for mind-drifting or lazy Sunday reading or half napping.

Track Listing

1 Water of Life
2 Nature’s Bounty
3 God’s Gift
4 Sweet Moment
5 Necessities
6 A Heart is Sacred
7 Meeting with the Master
8 The River
9 A Friendly Place
10 Beach
11 Healing
12 Blessings
13 Waves
14 Love of A Friend
15 Reflecting
16 The Continuous Journey
17 When the Ordinary Sparkles
18 Happy to Be
19 Behind the Symbols
20 Together Forever
21 The Human Dilemma
22 Living Moment
23 A World
24 New Life
25 Place of Love
26 The Opening Heart

[Betsy Grant Official Site]

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