"Open Your Eyes" by Bethany DysonReview
Did you enjoy the sumptuous, popular & acclaimed track "Just You & Me" on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Three'? If, like me, you did, you'll be delighted to learn that Bethany Dyson has managed to release a new single "Open Your Eyes", beating lockdown to record it.
As a follow up to "Just You & Me" (which was her last single as well as appearing on our local showcase of the finest talent in Coventry & Warwickshire), the new song (written by Bethany with guitarist/keyboard player Chris Hague) also features Joel White on piano, Style Councillor Steve White on drums & bass player David Glover and was produced by Chris and David, the mastering being courtesy of Simon Francis.
As "Just You & Me" turned its gaze upon issues of mental well being, "Open Your Eyes" inhabits a similarly compassionate world and at this point it is worth saying that Bethany's words in this respect are greatly enhanced by her choice of delivery style. A few too many singers with obvious natural ability choose to use songs as showcase vehicles for their range, power & tricks (I'm sorry but in my experience the term "diva" was far from being some sort of compliment necessarily): Bethany is emphatically not one of these. I'm not quite sure I'd go with the "raw" description of her work (her writing is as polished as her warm vocal tones) but I'd most definitely agree with "straight talking" and "honest" and such virtues as I say are as inherent in how she sings this song as what she says in it.
As with the previous single, you can't really ignore the pedigree of the musicians she is fortunate enough to work with (and I'm sure they would not choose to work with Bethany unless they admired and respected her work as I do) but the result is not some sort of high end professional piece, all gloss & little substance, but the work of players who have also played with artists of the unquestionable integrity of Paul Weller, Pulp, Finlay Quaye etc. Let's hope Bethany's eventual commercial success matches some of those.
As before, I'm glad that we can use "cross genre" about her work as this song is styled to its own meaning & not a rigid stylistic classification. Elements of blues & jazz lurk agreeably but I'd say that in this instance soul possibly has the upper hand with strong echoes of early 1970s versions of that style.
It all works very well as "an irresistible piece of dreamy and soulful pop" yet I think that it is so much more than that & I'm sure Bethany intends it to be so. It exhorts us to rise to the challenges around us and to use a pathway of honesty & truth to do so. Clearly viewing the world in such a way is vital to this, but we should not forget that we are part of that world & we should examine ourselves just as objectively.
As I say, it's not just what Bethany writes & sings, however beautiful & uplifting a first listen might be. Listen again (and again) please and really take onboard her deeper meanings & the spirit in which she performs the song. Then go out and live your way as she recommends. It's for the best.
Check out also the charming video Bethany again just managed to get completed with Paul Newbold of Lightspark Music Photography while such things were still possible: it's at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puYGxBYreNY&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR28IkNlOYzG95IqEc3eA52GxRT7JlA9DyRMJFxKXdtxJxmcXtn7UvrwKMY