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Beth Nielsen Chapman Celebrates Life On Latest Album

of the Oakland Press

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Beth Nielsen Chapman says her latest album, “Back To Love,” “was really a fun record to make — aside from a brain tumor.”

The benign growth was detected in 2008, in the left frontal lobe which is the brain’s language center. And when it was removed, Chapman — a breast cancer survivor whose husband, Ernest Chapman, died from cancer in 1994 — says she noticed an immediate difference.

“I had a lot of songs that were very close, but I couldn’t get them totally dialed in,” recalls Chapman, 53, who in addition to her own music writes songs for others, including the Faith Hill hit “This Kiss.” “It was very strange feeling. Then when I found out where (the tumor) was pressing, I was like, ‘Oh, no wonder I can’t get these songs done.’

“So it was amazing waking up in the hospital and having the third verse to ‘How We Love,’ floating in my consciousness. It was like ‘Give me a pencil ... ’ It was an amazing thing to have a song you couldn’t finish the night before and then to be able to finish the next night.”

“Back to Love” also takes Chapman back to a more familiar musical place after 2007’s ambitious “Prism,” a two-disc world music set which found her singing in nine languages and working with exotic instruments and song constructions. Chapman is “totally glad” she did it but is equally happy to “go back to my roots and write songs about love and life and stuff I was really comfortable with.

“That was really nice, like going on a journey and coming back to something I knew how to do, comfortably — and to have the ability to do it again.”

Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Speace perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $17.50. Call 734-761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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