Part of Oxford’s illustrious Bennett family of musicians (her brothers being Joe and Robin of variously The Dreaming Spires, Co-Pilgrim and Bennett, Wilson & Poole), formerly trading as KTB, based in Birmingham Katy’s released five solo albums to increasing critical acclaim, but, for those not yet familiar with her work, Where Does It Hurt? serves as a useful introduction in gathering together a selection of past material alongside the all-new title track.
She made her debut back in 2002 with All Calm In Dreamland, from whence comes dreamy, strings-stroked album closer lullaby ‘End Of The Day’. The follow-up, Bluebird, is skipped, however, to alight on 2008’s Indelible Ink for ‘I Like You Like Me’ which offers folk blues colours to a familiar frisky song about the lure of forbidden love and the scampering guitar notes of ‘Girl With The Sad Shoes’ which deals with the ambiguous emotions of wanting to fit it and also be yourself as she sings “if you don’t try to walk you’ll never learn how to run”.
The recent In The Meantime offers the poignantly lovely, piano accompanied ‘Did You See?’ greeting the dawn after a dark night of the soul as she sings of “the hardest, hardest thing I’ve ever had to do”, a song about the uniformed judgement of others over the making of difficult personal choices.
The remainder of the previously released material comes from Songs Of The River Rea, the title referring to the river, well stream, really, that runs through Birmingham. The first being album opener, the skitteringly infectious Gracelands-ish ‘One Day’ with its cowbells and shakers and movie reference to Fried Green Tomatoes. Then comes the rippling song of remembrance ‘Cold November Day’”, the lines “you’re still here in the air around us, still here, in the earth beneath us, the lettuces we grow” a tribute to her late grandmother.
Another related to real people, ‘Jack & Ivy’ is a gentle waltzing song of love, memory and loneliness about elderly neighbours as Ivy remembers her late husband who used to chauffeur the local postmaster around Birmingham for 25 years, while fourth choice is the hymnal-like close harmony, piano ballad ‘One More Time’, a forever love song despite the spats.
The title track is an all new number, a softly sung, slowly waltzing and violin coloured strummed acoustic ballad written after listening to an interview with veteran American civil rights campaigner Ruby Sales, the title reflecting on her belief of empathy and understanding as a way of getting to the heart of an issue, as well as Brené Brown who researches and writes about shame and vulnerability, and her own work as a music therapist. On a personal note, I’d have included the jaunty country ‘Rusted Ring’ from River Rea too, but if, for some inexplicable reason, you’ve yet to discover her, this is a perfect launch pad.
Artist’s website: www.katyrosebennett.com
‘Where Does It Hurt?’ – official video:
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