In a few days’ time I will be going into studio with producer Ethan Johns, bass player Jon Thorne and pianist Neil Cowley to make album number 6.
The writing for this album happened in what felt like a frenzy, most of the songs coming through in an intense six-month writing period between December 2022 and May 2023. The songs are each introduced by a spoken-word prologue, which is often the contents of my stream-of-consciousness free writing that preceded the song’s emergence in my morning pages. I delivered 22 of these songs+prologues to Ethan expecting some kind of cull, but at the time of writing there is an intention to record 20 of them (he dropped one, I dropped one). A shared vision begins to coalesce for some kind of extended long-form work. I bridled at this initially, but now I collapse into it with gratitude and joy.
Much depends on what we make, so I pack for studio with an open mind and a never-before-felt trust in the process.
I’m playing two shows on the Isle of Wight, exclusively new material ahead of my recording session in November for album six with Ethan Johns. Jon Thorne and I will experiment with spoken-word passages flowing into songs, and can’t wait to share all the material across two shows, the first at Sounds+ Grounds in Cowes, and the second at Monkton Arts in Ryde. While Jon lives on the Isle, this will be first trip in 30 years and I can’t wait to be there again. I hope you’ll come and share this very special pair of gigs with us.
The Big Sky Tour kicks off in Glasgow on 16 September and finishes in Reading on 15 October. See you there!
Sat 16 Sept GLASGOW Glad Cafe Sun 17 Sept DURHAM Old Cinema Launderette Mon 18 Sept LEEDS Hyde Park Book Club Tue 19 Sept POCKLINGTON Pocklington Arts Centre Thur 21 Sept DEEPDALE, NORFOLK Deepdale Festival Fri 22 Sept CAMBRIDGE Portland Arms Sat 23 Sept WOLVERHAMPTON Newhampton Arts Thur 28 Sept LONDON St Matthius Church Fri 29 Sept HENLEY Christchurch Sat 30 Sept LEAMINGTON SPA Temperance Sun 1 Oct CHESHIRE Thornton Hough Tue 3 Oct MANCHESTER Gulliver’s Wed 4 Oct HEBDEN BRIDGE Trades Club Thu 5 Oct GALASHIELS Mac Arts Fri 6 Oct NEWCASTLE Common Room Wed 11 Oct BIRMINGHAM Kitchen Garden Café Thu 12 Oct NEWPORT Le Pub Fri 13 Oct TOTNES Ashburton Arts Centre Sat 14 Oct WESTON-SUPER-MARE Loves Café Sun 15 Oct READING South Street Arts
As labels buddies on One Little Independent Records, Kath and I met on a songwriting retreat. We have written songs together and tutored songwriting courses at Arvon Foundation. Our friendship developed and strengthened, supporting each other over lockdown. Being fans of each other’s work, it seemed a foregone conclusion that we would get on the road at some point. Finally after many years of talking about our Thelma and Louise tour dreams (hopefully without the killing or the cliff) we have pulled together a beautiful intimate month-long tour up and down the country, both playing headline solo sets and also coming together for a few songs together. Lucky audiences will get two concerts for the price of one.
Kathryn Williams is a Liverpool-born, Mercury Music Prize nominated singer-songwriter with 16 albums under her belt. Before her last release, Night Drives (which entered the official folk album charts straight to number 2), the label OLI celebrated her career thus far with a 20 CD two book box set anthology strewn with her art. She has written a novel “The Ormering Tide” which debuted to critical acclaim, and was listed in The Bookseller as a bestseller for the north and she hosts her own popular podcast “before the light goes out” which was put in the top ten best music podcasts by The Guardian. Kathryn tutors at Arvon, Moniack Mhor, and The Writing Squad and writes songs with many diverse artists around the world including Paul Weller, Ed Harcourt, Beth Neillson Chapman and Michele Stodart.
My shed-recorded debut Scissors In My Pocket received international critical acclaim upon its 2004 release by One Little Independent. I toured the USA, supported Bob Dylan, Jamie Cullum, Divine Comedy and Marianne Faithfull and played Glastonbury. In 2012, I founded Wild Sound, now an OLI folk imprint, and signed nine artists. I completed my PhD in 2020, which informed my eighth album Invisible Music — folk songs that influenced Angela Carter (**** The Guardian) and my academic book on the same subject (Bloomsbury, 2022). I tutor for Arvon, Cambridge and ICMP. My ninth and tenth albums The Pivot Upon Which the World Turns (2022) and its sister When Violent Hot Pitch Words Hurt (2023) were released to critical acclaim; I am now working on a collaboration with double bassist Jon Thorne exploring relationships between song and prose.