Local songstress Jillian Isbister got the chance to sing live with Beth Nielsen Chapman in Aberdeen recently on the Scottish leg of the US country star’s Back to Love tour. Jillian was invited by Fiona Kennedy, who she has worked closely with over the last two years. She said: “When Fiona phoned to ask me if I wanted to come down and hear Beth’s concert I was so excited. The crew were all staying with Fiona so she really wanted me to meet Beth and her musicians.”
Jillian has had lots of fabulous opportunities through work with Fiona, including numerous trips to America and ventures to mainland Scotland, but she classes this as one of the highlights.
She said: “When I met Beth and had a peerie informal sing-song with her in Fiona’s living room she asked if we would come up and sing a couple of songs with her at her concert. Needless to say we said yes. There wasn’t a lot of practise time so we just had to go for it – they’re all such amazing performers though, it was no hassle.”
Jillian and Fiona performed the last two songs of the concert with Beth: The Kist, written by Beth and Fiona for the Highland Heartbeat show and This Kiss, also written by Beth, made famous by country superstar Faith Hill.
Jillian said: “I’ve been singing This Kiss around the house since I was peerie so knew it really well. In our one practise at Fiona’s, Beth turned to me and said I should have a solo verse so I got to sing the second verse of the song. The whole experience was just fab.”
Beth Nielsen Chapman, considered by many to be one of the pre-eminent singer/songwriters of her generation, has penned numerous hits and written songs for a wide selection of artists including Emmylou Harris, Bette Midler, Elton John Willie Nelson, and jazz legend Andy Bey.
As an artist she is renowned for her pure, powerful songwriting and clear voice. Her 1997 release of Sand & Water, following the death of her husband to cancer, is a chronicle of her journey through grief, which has brought comfort to so many dealing with loss.
In addition to meeting Beth, Jillian met Marcus Hummon, a talented singer song-writer from Nashville, Tennessee. Marcus opened the concert by singing some songs of his own and then came on with Beth later to accompany her. Marcus has written many well-loved songs for prestigious artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans and Chely Wright.
Jillian said: “Getting to meet such phenomenal musicians was such an experience. We swapped e-mails so we’ll hopefully keep in touch.”