Chana Rothman, a folksinger and guitarist, has crafted herself in the tradition of Debbie Friedman, mixing traditional Jewish liturgy with original music and lyrics. Her new album, Beautiful Land, takes verses from Psalms and Proverbs and matches them up with positive lyrics about relationships, the environment, and finding meaning in everyday life–a little bit hippie, but more just common sense and good old-fashioned wisdom.
“If you take, take, take, you gotta give something back,” she sings on the title song. “Beautiful Land” could refer to anything–to Israel, to the environment, or to a state of mind. It’s all about change and exploring new places. The song “Come on Home,” the album’s penultimate track, is the perfect complement to “Land”–it’s a story about rediscovering familiar things.
Sometimes, though, there’s a point where you need to turn off the discovery and just have fun. Rothman knows this–and she closes the album perfectly with a song called “Baby Do That Dance”–“Klezmer, deadheads, disco,” she sings, “baby, just dance.”