Beth Hart brings the black coffee blues as she heads to Portsmouth Guildhall

Beth Hart. Picture by Liz Aiken
Beth Hart. Picture by Liz Aiken
Simon Kent

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Hot off the back of her sold out show at The Royal Albert Hall, American blues-rock singer-songwriter Beth Hart returns to the UK, including a date at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Beth's most recent album was Black Coffee , recorded with renowned blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa, and she's also worked live with guitar god Jeff Beck back in 2014.

'Both of them are very sensitive and nice to me and they are both so talented,' says Beth. 'It is inspirational to see how humble they both are in what they both do and how hard they work as well. They both put a lot of effort into playing all the time and practicing and working on their craft and I love that. I feel like they don’t take it for granted at all, they really cherish it and that’s a pretty inspirational thing.'

While they now have three joint albums under their belts, unfortunately there are no plans for her and Joe to work together for the moment.

'We talked about it a little bit the other day, but there are no real solid plans.'

Last time over here, Beth performed solo shows, but this time she's back with her full band.

'I enjoy very much playing with my band. Those solo shows, at the beginning it was just terrifying but then I ended up liking it more than any other way I played live. I can’t really say why, maybe I just feel like the most like I am being myself when I don’t have any showbiz stuff going on at all.

'You know, when it’s just me sitting at the instrument, like I did as a little girl, and there is no live show or dancing around or any that kind of stuff. It’s just me sitting there, I guess, being myself as much as I could ever be when it comes to singing and playing.

'Maybe, but I know it was funny because it was something that made me feel so uncomfortable. I hated my manager for putting me in the position to do it and he really was on to me about it and I was just like: "Oh my god, I can’t do this, I am going to embarrass myself so bad," and then after doing a couple of shows, I just fell in love with doing it, I felt really honest, I guess.'

With nine solo albums to choose from, as well as the three with Joe, what can fans look forward to hearing on the new tour? 

'I usually like to play different stuff from different records and try to cover all the records if I can. I don’t know how much stuff from the latest Joe record I will be playing because there is a lot of horns and there’s a lot of background singers and there is a lot of stuff that we didn’t have on our first two records and I can’t really pull that off with my band. There might be a few things we do but I don’t think it will be more than one, two, three songs. Who knows, that could change.'

And Beth's got a soft spot for this side of the Atlantic, particularly compared to recent events in her home country.

'The audiences are really great in the UK and I really enjoyed that, you know. So I really love it over there, I love Europe period.

'Europe has been so wonderful to me and all the architecture and all the history and just to the way people think and live is so different. I love being an American, I love being from ther US and it’s a beautiful country but god, are we a bunch of whack jobs. We've got so much to learn and now we got a Mr Whacko as president who’s making all the whack jobs here think that they are pretty freaking normal. It’s just getting worse.

'We should be getting better but whatever, what do I know?'

With a 25 year career, including chart-topping highs and drug-addiction lows, does she have any words of wisdom for any aspiring artists?

'I’m the worst person to ask advice of. I worked so hard at screwing everything up,' she laughs. 'I always say to people don’t believe the hype, you are never as good as what they say, you are never as bad, and remember that you do it just to make you happy and to enjoy it.'

Portsmouth Guildhall

Tuesday, May 1