what's the use in regrets? they're just lessons we haven't learned yet
the most recent show i went to was beth orton at the avalon on july 31st. i've been a big fan of ms. orton for a long while now, since her first album trailer park came out in 1996. she would probably be most commonly categorized as a folk artist, but she's also shown an inclination for electronica, as reflected in several songs off her first two albums and her collaborations with the likes of the chemical brothers and william orbit. i think she's at her best though when it's just her, an acoustic guitar, and that voice. although she might not be the most technically proficient singer (not that i would know), she sings with as much emotion as anyone i've heard.
this was the third time i'd seen beth live and the second time this year. she played a show in march, also at the avalon, during which she struggled a bit with her voice on account of a chest cold. this time she was healthy, in great spirits, and her voice was flat-out amazing. she played mostly songs off her most recent album, comfort of strangers, with her band for about an hour, came back with them for one encore, and then came back out by herself with her acoustic guitar for a second encore. she asked for requests from the audience and played songs from all of her albums, including crowd favorites sugar boy, someone's daughter, and stolen car. her personality is a joy, both silly and engaging with a hint of over-gracious shyness. all in all, it was a great show and probably my favorite one so far this year.
the other thing that makes beth such a favorite of mine is her songwriting. heart of soul, off comfort of strangers, has a stanza that just blows me away:
"and you, you look at me in disbelief / like you could teach me God / when all of a sudden i’m consumed by love / and you, are all lighting up / with your heart of gold / and everything we touch just turns to soul"
just beth and her acoustic guitar, feel to believe, off central reservation is one of my favorite songs by anyone. the emotion in her voice at 2:28 is unbelievably raw:
" if i lose you, could you find me? / or would you walk right by me? / the soul and the spirit, each have got their own limit"
"what's the use in regrets? / they're just things we haven't done yet / what are regrets? / they're just lessons we haven't learned yet"