INTRODUCING: TABITHA HOPE
It has been a few weeks since I've introduced you to new up-and-coming artists, so it is with great pleasure that I direct your attention to Tabitha Hope.
Tab's near and dear to my heart, since she's technically my sister, so this blog might just be the teensiest bit biased. It's difficult to critique someone who used to have nightmares over Scooby-Doo cartoons and tried to use my G.I. Joes as boyfriends for her Strawberry Shortcake dolls, but I'll do my best.
One thing I can say about Tabitha, both musically and otherwise, is that she's a daredevil. The crazy girl messed up her back a bit when she was younger by attempting to do a backflip on solid ground for the simple reason that she just wanted to see if she could do it. Musically, she's a bit daring as well, not in the fact that she's pioneering any new musical sound, but lyrically she pretty much dumps her heart and soul into a song, and after listening to it, you're never left in question as to what she was thinking when she wrote it. Tab's music has always been her catharsis, a way to release frustration when life isn't going her way.
Her style can best be described as acoustic folk, though there are scattered influences from other genres throughout each song. She lists Pat Benatar, Acceptance, Ginny Owens, Alabama, Jeremy Camp, Lifehouse, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Guns 'N' Roses, Tim McGraw, Jewel, Alanis, Joan Jett, and Juice Newton as influences. Most of the music consists of her voice and whichever beat up old six string acoustic she happens to pick up. There's a lot of strumming, and it calls to mind a lot of the old beatnik musicians and protest songs.
On her myspace page, you'll find four of her better songs, which are available for streaming via the Myspace Standalone Player or for downloading to play on your mp3 player of choice.
The first song, "Why," is a song about frustration and the eternal question to God about our lives and why any of us are where we are now. The song is a bit more driving than some of her others thanks to the strong guitar presence. There's nothing else behind the strings and the vocal, but the song doesn't really need a percussion backing to get across its point. Personally, I've asked myself and God the same questions many times, and I'm still not sure that I've gotten the answer I was looking for.
The second song, "For Mama," was remixed and re-cut by yours truly. I think it's probably one of the best songs she's done, and that's not just because she let me fiddle with it. The song was written for our mother's birthday, I believe, and I used it and remixed it for a short film I made documenting various aspects of my mom's life. The phone call part of the song was recorded when Tab called from China, all the way around the world, to wish Mom a happy Mother's Day. The song itself is another unplugged tune, but vocally it's more subdued than "Why," and it's quite obvious that Tabitha is completely connecting with the sentiment of the song when she delivers it. It's quite good, and if any of you needs a song to play for your mom, I recommend it.
"Almost Too Late" is a song about a boy that Tabitha wanted to be with in college. I remember the boy, and he was an insufferable snot, but for some reason she was madly in love with him. There were a few other guys who never had a chance with her because of this idiot. Basically the sentiment of the song is about a girl who is in love with a boy, but can't bring herself to let him know. She waits and waits for the boy, who is apparently clueless to her emotions. Fortunately, Tab got over that boy, and now she's marrying someone who actually appreciates her.
The last song, "Guilt," is another one of my favorites. It opens up with some quiet subdued guitar picking that puts you in a somber mood. The first verse speaks to some inner anguish and guilt, and haven't we all felt that way before? Not knowing where we're going, and not showing our best face to the world? The chorus picks things up a little bit and gives a little glimpse of the hope that lies beyond guilt. The second verse switches pace again, gets somber, and talks about a man named Roy, a cousin of mine who lived a sad, sad life, and who eventually lost his life while searching for happiness in the bottom of various containers of alcohol. There's the same pick-up in the chorus, and then it's on to the third verse, which addresses the guilt in all of us and the fact that in some ways, we've all been a little guilty of some bloodshed. The song exhorts us to figure out a way to be just a little bit better than we are now.
Currently, Tabitha doesn't have any shows coming up, since she's over in China until sometime in the summer. She's still writing music, though, and she'll be hitting the Los Angeles scene in 2007, so look for her if she's ever over your way, and in the meantime, go grab a couple of her mp3s and read her myspace blog!