Beth Whitney | “Into the Ground” | Review

Article Contributed by Nicole Lise Feingold | Published on Monday, May 3, 2021

Beth Whitney’s new record, “Into the Ground” set for release May 28th sparked a wave of intense emotions that clearly have been brewing for quite a while now. I hadn’t realized the extent of my feeling as I’ve been cocooning. Whitney’s music helped me to see I’m distracted by a myriad of issues and hence desperately need grounding. To start off, April through June is always marked by the hubbub of the fiscal year’s end, but I’m also preoccupied by the despicable behaviors of a disgruntled colleague. Therefore, I cried listening to “You Leave a Light On” where Whitney emulates Norah Jones in her powerful, but gentle vocals and purposely placed piano riffs. The tune is fundamentally about love, but metaphorically it gave me hope that the light will be left on and therefore this current rough patch will get better. “You leave the light on. When the river’s been run, and the encore has been sung and the last call is done. You leave the light on. You leave the light on.”

Painting by Anna Baer

My phone has been flooded with stories of successful suicides, a few attempts and the overwhelming stressors that come with aging parents. Sadly, friends are struggling, and their misery is deep. “Shelter From the Storm,” an iconic Bob Dylan cover which Whitney transforms into her own, reinforced my place within their woes. The lighthearted banjo is a beautiful contrast from the song’s profound meaning. Whitney also accentuates the tune further by adding her own lyrics to the last verse which summarizes why once completing my part of lending a hand, I must take some time to hide away, protecting myself from their pain. “It’s a never-ending battle for a piece that is always torn. Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

painting by Anna Baer

Finally, I’m grappling with getting back to the me before the pandemic. Perhaps that’s not necessary, and this new version will suffice, but I’m not sure yet. Right now, I’m “In Another Life” struggling as depicted in the explanation of the song within the album’s press release, “between looking forward and letting go and looking back and holding on.” Whitney’s guttural, genius tones that are purely organic push me to embrace I’m just a “Wild Horse” with its mix of personas. “My feet are on the ground, but I wouldn’t know it. I wouldn’t know it. Cause I’m stuck in my head for now, up in my shoulders, up where I told ya. When it’s daytime I’m afraid. I’m a lion in a cage. I’m a puppet on an empty stage. When the day is bright and blue, I’m a shadow of the moon. I’m an echo in an empty room.” The confusion is okay as eventually, hopefully, I’ll integrate the timid with the “wild running thing.” Until then Whitney’s entire album has supported me. (It’s that freaking good.) She has literally put me “Into the Ground.”