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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Beth Nielsen Chapman Songs, Creativity & Therapy

Thought for the Day: I hinted yesterday in #FF Friday's Fabulous Finds that I had a treat in store for you on Saturday's Songs for the Soul. I have had the honor of getting to know Beth Nielsen Chapman when she taught at one of the songwriting retreats I organized a about ten years ago. Since then our paths have crossed several times & I consider it a gift to know her personally. On Beth's website they note that in addition to writing hits for other artists, "Beth Nielsen Chapman, Nashville based singer-songwriter,... breast cancer survivor, environmental activist, teacher of workshops & lecturer on the magic of creativity, which she believes is a birthright of everyone." Beth writes straight from her heart & soul.  Her songs usually come to her as melodies to which she adds nonsense syllables. Even though she has no idea what the song will be about, miraculously, the words, when the song is completed, usually match the vowel sounds of the original nonsense syllables. Many of her songs were written when challenged by illness & loss as her own therapy. Her inner strength & spirituality have inspired countless others as they confront life's challenges.

      Her songs have been covered by many top artists in multiple genres including Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, The Indigo Girls, Michael McDonald, Amy Grant, Keb Mo’, Roberta Flack, Waylon Jennings, Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, & many more. 

         I chose three of Beth's songs for your Saturday listening enjoyment & inspiration:
Sand & Water was written following the death of her husband from cancer when her son (who is now grown) was only 12 years old. Elton John covers this song in concerts in honor of Princess Diana. It captures the essence of grief from a time when Beth reports that she thought she would never sing again. It was such a personal song that it was hard for her to make minor changes so that a man could sing it. (This version is live with Kieran Goss)

Happy Girl, which became a Country hit for by Martina Mc Bride, represents coming out of the dark of mourning & back to life.

The melody from Every December Sky came to Beth before she even knew she was diagnosed with Cancer. She speaks about this melody as a gift from a higher power (like many of her songs) that strengthened her & helped her through the process of treatment & recovery.

I encourage you to listen to these & other inspiring songs (there are great love songs, This Kiss, a touching visit with an ailing friend in the hospital, Emily, & a song about a woman with Alzheimers, Child Again)  by Beth. I hope you will come back for Sunday's Comic Strips & Motivational Monday's posts. Next week I will be participating in some exciting events at Capital Hill when I join a nonpartisan group, Moms Demand Action. I will be one of 250 Moms (and dads) from across the USA that will Take the Hill. I will be blogging from Washington DC. So I look forward to sharing some great experiences with you. Have a great weekend!

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