Betsy Badwater | In Spades

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Country: Alt-Country Blues: Soul-Blues Moods: Type: Lyrical
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In Spades

by Betsy Badwater

A stout distillation of stomp-and-holler, honkytonk, blues, soul, and rockabilly, with guts-out gritty vocals and rich, passionate storytelling. The kind of music that'll make your teeth itch.
Genre: Country: Alt-Country
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  Song Share Time Download
1. These Signs Shall Follow
3:30 $0.99
2. Railroad Man
4:06 $0.99
3. Bye Bye, Baby
3:22 $0.99
4. Low Shame Time
3:35 $0.99
5. Hill County Blues
5:14 $0.99
6. Tall Dark Stranger
4:35 $0.99
7. Shovel & Hammer
4:33 $0.99
8. Uncle
4:20 $0.99
9. Snake Eye Blues
3:39 $0.99
10. Heard Me Cry
3:55 $0.99
11. Left-Hand Side
3:34 $0.99
12. Dear Delilah
3:03 $0.99
13. I Got Fired Today
3:10 $0.99
14. Scenes from Pontiac Primitive Baptist Church, 1983
0:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Betsy Badwater hammers down a stout distillation of rockabilly, country, blues, soul and high-lonesome. Betsy writes the songs, sings, plays guitar, and a tambourine-topped bass drum all at the same time. The Americana bandleader insists on organic instrumentation, guts-out-gospel vocalization, and rich, passionate, storytelling, performing as a one-man-band or as a one-man-band-with a band.

The "Firm Foundation"
Betsy is a quite a "character". Her life story is so charmed and unique that even the stone-cold-facts sound made-up. She claims to have come up out of the Suwannee River.... We’ve heard her tell that she was born in the mouth of an alligator, wearing red high-heels and singin’ the blues. She says a lot of things.

Whether or not her tall tales and story songs have any basis in reality, we do know that she is, in fact, is a former 6-12th grade teacher and mental health counselor in residential facilities for adjudicated male youth. Funding cuts for mental health in the state of Florida shut down the facility where she worked for many years. Betsy took losing her job as a sign and turned to her hearts desire to play music and create art as permanent way of life. The same formal education and work ethic that made Betsy successful in her academic and counseling career still serves to keep her unsinkable in her new life. The struggles never had a chance to squash her soul.

Betsy Badwater has been some kind of musician/singer for all of her teenage and adult life, but in 2005, Badwater began performing as a one-man-band as well as with what she called her “Hillbilly Chrome”: a group of friendly guest musicians from coast to coast that, “like silver Duck Tape, held it together in a pinch.” The band was literally made up of Betsy’s musician-friends who were local to whatever town the show was scheduled, from Los Angeles to Miami. Even during those early times, Betsy was getting around. She has performed coast-to-coast, with as many as 8-10 members of “The Chrome” on stage at once, right on down to extended tours of up to 58 dates at once across 9 states touring as a One-Woman-Band. Betsy sings, plays guitar, stomps on a tambourine-topped bass drum with one foot, and adds other strange percussion (autoparts, washboards, a sink) with the other, all at the same time.

She's also, proudly, the daughter of a long line of Primitive Baptist preachers, church founders, and singers. Betsy's been writing songs since she was a very little girl in the backwoods of Taylor County, Florida and learned most of what she knows about music from church. Like Ralph Stanley, Betsy learned, from infancy, to sing in the Appalachian High-Lonesome and acapella ”song lining” singing style heard almost exclusively in Primitive Baptist churches. She picked up her percussive cadence and pacing from the unique preaching style of her father, uncles, and grandfathers. "They had a sort of a hiccup and a stagger step that lulled babies to sleep at the same time as activating the amen pew". Betsy’s gigantic voice came out of a family of gigantic voices- when there’s no music in church, you have to sing loud... or “out," as they say in the country, and the sound can be as frightening as it is beautiful.

Betsy's songwriting and storytelling is often (but not always) harsh and dark, in the “southern gothic,” southern grotesque, Appalachian, and Irish folk tradition. What's unique, though, is that Betsy offers grace to the listener through her songs in a well-read, worldly, loving way. She inspires introspection and forgiveness through tales of scoundrels and lushes. Our pint-sized preacher's daughter sings as many unique but relatable tales of mischief and humor ("Left-Hand Side", "I Got Fired Today," "Coon Hill Mary" & "The Trouble With Women in Hooker Flatt, ARK") as murder ballads ("Tall Dark Stranger", "Dear Delilah" & "Dead Man Walkin'") and morally-questionable, anti-gospel thought provokers ("Jesus & Wine", "Hill County Blues" & "Uncle"). Her first two albums, 'Tall Tales' (2008) and 'Tales of the Wayward' (2009) are gritty, self produced collections that include the rawest, most honest live recordings available, beloved by fans as well as critics. 'Hometown Money' (2013), (self-produced, with a few songs produced by Chris Thomas King), is the third release, and most lighthearted collection of songs produced by Badwater to date. The album includes a range of textures and cultural influences, but there is a distinct Louisiana flavor: zydeco, second-line, antebellum gospel, and swamp-blues all feature prominently throughout.

The newest release by Betsy Badwater, aptly titled 'IN SPADES' (2018), is quite a step out from the self-produced albums of the past ten years. 'IN SPADES,' engineered and produced by Ben Lorio (with two songs produced by Chris Thomas King), and mastered by Pete Lyman, features a cast of globally and regionally acclaimed studo musicians (including Chris Thomas King, Shane Theriot, Clarence Johnson, Jerry Pentecost, Michael Skinkus, Joe Krown, Myles Weeks, Jordan Kimsey and Paul Buller), along with Betsy's band, all hailing from New Orleans and surrounding areas. The album ranges in texture from gritty murder ballads and tales of cheating misfortune, to scalding hot love stories, to jangled-and-rowdy road adventures, all with rich atmosphere and palpable humidity. The record in its entirety is perfect for long haul road trips, with each song being completely different from the next, there is definitely something for everybody. Betsy is going to make you feel something.

On the calendar for the next year Betsy has plans for a 100% solo self-made recording project, as well as 2 different collaborative recording projects. Betsy is a daytime illustrator of children's books and a professional custom tattoo artist and owner of Sweet Betsy Tattoos tattoo studio in Pensacola, Florida. She is the mother of one beautiful and talented son who is also an artist, musician, and aspiring chef, and a sweet ole burnt-marshmallow colored mutt dog. And yes, it is really true that Betsy only owns RED shoes...



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