TEXAN singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman will play Pocklington Arts Centre on March 8 and Leeds City Varieties on March 23 on next year's Hearts Of Glass tour.

Beth will be promoting her new studio album of sparse songs that "dig deep into the place within us where vulnerability meets strength", produced by rising talent Sam Ashworth for release on Proper Records on February 9.

Mostly written by Beth alone, the 11 tracks on Hearts Of Glass include such new compositions as the haunting Epitaph For Love, the immediately striking You’re Still My Valentine and the infectious Enough For Me, written with Ashworth.

The only other co-written song, the album-opening Come To Mine, was composed with 10cc's Graham Gouldman and Kevin Montgomery at Chris Difford’s songwriting retreat in Somerset.

"My intention was to do an album of songs 100 per cent written by me, and bring together those kinds of songs that have a certain focus and vibe, but Come To Mine just jumped out and insisted on leading the pack," says Beth.

"It’s timely what with all that’s swirling around in the world right now. The same is true for the closing track, Dancer To The Drum, which provides the perfect bookend."

Hearts Of Glass also features several gems plucked from Beth’s past releases, newly re-recorded with the arrangement moved from piano to pulsing electric guitar with minimal touches of production. Among these re-born numbers are Life Holds On, Rage On Rage, Child Again and the aforementioned Dancer To The Drum.

York Press:

Beth Nielsen Chapman: "Working on taming my inner control freak"

Old Church Hymns & Nursery Rhymes, a song written by Beth for Waylon Jennings' Eagle album, with its imagery of the passage of time, has been recorded by Beth for the first time. Likewise, she presents her version of If My World Didn’t Have You, featuring Rodney Crowell on backing vocals, this song having first appeared on Willie Nelson’s Horse Called Music album in 1990 alongside a Beth composition, the chart-topping Nothing I Can Do About It.

Beth's decision to work with producer Sam Ashworth resulted from a conversation with veteran BBC Radio 2 broadcaster and country-music enthusiast Bob Harris, wherein she mentioned her love of Nashville duo The Civil Wars' recordings and was looking to make her new album with that kind of clarity and space.

Initially, Harris suggested Beth should meet up with producer Charlie Peacock, but when their schedules did not synchronise, Beth met instead with his son Sam Ashworth, a young, talented producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

From their first meeting, 59-year-old Beth was confident that this partnership would work. "I made a decision early on in the process that this time I was going to fully allow myself to be produced and work on taming my inner 'control freak'," she says.

From the selection of the songs to choosing the musicians and the addition of overdubs, Beth deferred to Ashworth. "Creatively, this was very new territory for me. It was such an interesting dynamic to hand over so many of the decisions and trust the process," she says. "I found by not jumping in too quickly and directing that I ended up not only with something I loved, but I learned a lot about myself and the places you can go when you let someone else drive."

Come March, Beth will be supported on her 18-date British tour by Robert Vincent, winner of the Bob Harris – Emerging Artist Award in the Americana Music Association UK awards. Tickets for Pocklington are on sale at £30 on 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk; Leeds, £21 to £29.50 on 0113 243 0808 or at cityvarieties.co.uk. Both shows start at 8pm.