Album Review - My Mind is a Garden - Bethany Spalding - 2020
Bethany Spalding, is a singer-songwriter and multiple instrumentalists from Michigan, USA, known for her Dreamscape Folk with a hint of Pagan Folk included for good measure.
We now have this young artist’s debut album in the form of ‘My Mind is a Garden’ It is due to this release that I first heard Bethany Spalding’s music, all the way over here in the Western Isles, Outer Hebrides.
Bethany stated, in an interview with us (you can read the full interview here), that her fans describe her sound as Ethereal Folk and listening to the opening track ‘We Are Forest People’, I can see why. It’s opens with a drifting, distant harmony, like a mist shrouding an ancient forest on an early Spring morning; beckoning you into Bethany’s handcrafted world.
Bethany Spalding isn’t a one-trick pony either, as you quickly discover with ‘Blur My Lines’. While still as dreamy as the previous tale in terms of her beautiful floating vocals, the album picks up a gear. Yet, with the gentle guitar and tribal drum beat, you never leave the world being laid out before you. Bethany, makes sure you never lose sight of her story as a whole; as both the instruments and words are equal to the synthesis of her overall creation.
The title track ‘My Mind is a Garden’, is a combination of the two previous tracks in terms of limitless stylistic possibilities. I’m not being pretentious here, the way in which Bethany Spalding writes, leaves so many wonderful, colourful threads, that can be woven into countless unique tapestries by those who choose to listen.
‘Smelling Roses’ is another good example of this, a love song at heart, at least in my opinion. Yet a friend of mine, disagrees, he feels it’s a tale of regret, losing the one you love, because you didn’t pay the person the attention they deserved.
‘Wilting’ is a song about change, in Bethany’s words its “a big metaphor, connecting a good cry to the cleansing rains of spring”. ‘Tooth & Nail’ and ‘Bittersweet Cry’ again, not only work in harmony with the greater good that is Bethany’s creation, but continue to morph into different chapters of her complete story.
‘Lullaby’ helps you regain your footing, back on the edge of the mist covered forest from whence you came. Ending with ‘Freedom is a Friend’, a reminder of all the things you hold close to your heart and a warning not to take it all for granted, as once it's gone, it’s too late.
‘My Mind is a Garden’, as a whole album, is a combination of drifting dreams and a surge of passionate emotion, bringing, to me a least, the realisation that I’m not listening to nine individual shorts but a much larger, multi-layered story.
Bethany, hasn’t brought you into her world for a quite chat about common interests, but instead for a conversation on life experiences. The album for me equates to change, an evolution of thought in one manner or another, about all the goings-on in one’s life. It’s this that, seems to me at least, the overarching theme of Bethany’s story.
Simple moments in time, woven together to form a complex quilt; the end result of which, only you will ever know, as the conversation is between you and Bethany. Such is the skill and passion that Bethany Spalding brings to her music.
The whole experience leaves me warm, relaxed and clear headed, ready to face the next chapter of my life with a cleansed soul and a smile on my face.
You can hear Bethany’s peacefully beautiful and moving debut album on all good streaming services now or you can support Bethany, directly by buying it on her Bandcamp page, the link of which is below.
For more information on Bethany Spalding, here are some links for you to take a waltz on over to. Peace & Love.
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