Helena guitarist/songwriter Steve Betz has cut a new CD featuring his trademark “feel-good Americana with Christian threads.” All the songs are his, save Ray Golden’s “Have You.”
Betz’s fine cast of music-makers includes co-producer Dan Nichols on percussion, Mike Killeen on acoustic and electric guitars and background vocals, and Terry O’Hare on bass and electric and acoustic guitars. There’s also a bunch of guest pickers and a female chorus that sings some answering “hallelujahs” to Betz’s lead on “Letting Go.”
“Dance with Me” wafts through the air like a tropical breeze; it’s got a solid Nichols drum track that should get those pinkies wigglin’. “Safe in the Arms” is a waltz with a Sixties nuance; it’s a devout duet with Kaitlynn Skoog that seeks solace from the Lord. In fact, Betz shows unabashed reverence for the deity in just about every composition, and is good at combining the divine and temporal in music you can dance to.
“The Bright Side” is a bluesy rock song, and “I Know” is another prayerful spoonful with a squiggly guitar riff on the intro. Betz pleads and growls as he sings, “I’m on a sunken ship in Nowhere Bay …,” knowing his Lord will answer.
A slow jitterbugger, “Dancin’ School,” closes out the album. It’s a humorous, gentle tune about someone learning how to hoof it. Our clumsy protagonist buys some shoes that are “special order, no delay, bright and shiny, they fit O.K. It’s pretty cool, they both point the same way!” This one ought to do the trick if you’re still sitting down.
– Mariss McTucker