Katie Doherty announces new album

Katie Doherty
Katie Doherty And The Navigators

It is said that a change is as good as a rest, and for Katie Doherty it is both a rest, and a change, that provide the backdrop to her latest album And Then. Back in 2007, Doherty became an award-winning songwriter, and released her debut solo album Bridges to much acclaim – including airplay from BBC Radio 2 – leading her to share stages with the likes of Karine Polwart, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and Ray Davies. Life however – as it has a habit of doing – got in the way, putting the brakes for the moment on a soaring trajectory. New roles as composer for many Northern Stage productions, as well as MD for a Royal Shakespeare Company production, may have slowed her output but they have also broadened her knowledge and love for music.

It perhaps should not be a huge surprise then that much of Doherty’s new album is rooted in her keen observation of the concept of change. Whether the focus be on the changing seasons, life circumstances, the passage of time, or the shifting of social attitudes and behaviour, on And Then we see Doherty shine a light on how it feels to be part of a world that can be hard to keep up with.

‘Yours’ immediately lands as a story of leaving a beloved city behind. ‘Rose In Winter’ conjures imagery of the creeping in of winter, and ‘Tiny Little Shoes’ explores the rollercoaster of first-time parenthood, and the accompanying feelings of overwhelming responsibility. Elsewhere on the record are songs that offer a deep examination of wider-world issues, notably the title track, which spotlights societal pressures in the age of social media, as Doherty explains:

“The pressure to live up to expectation and to portray ‘perfect’ is ridiculous and in the age of social media, it’s constant, relentless and damaging. I think so much time can get lost in this pursuit and it kills creativity and imagination. I suppose it’s the ultimate procrastination…you don’t get much done when you’re so busy trying to live up to the world’s expectations. I’m not sure at what point in childhood we lose our wild abandon in favour of fitting in but it’d be great if we all had the ability to revert back once in a while.”

In turn, ‘Angry Daughter’ is song about resilience in the face of inequality. Doherty continues:

“During many debates on gender inequality I have heard women sounding almost apologetic about what could be viewed as ‘feminine’ qualities – because we don’t shout the loudest, speak up soon enough…push forward their ideas etc. I wrote this song as an anti-apology, a celebration of the measured, considered and dignified approach to standing your ground, which often gets ignored.”

And Then marks the start of a sparkling new chapter for Katie Doherty.

Artist’s website: https://www.katiedoherty.co.uk/

‘Tiny Little Shoes’ – live:

SAOIRSE MHÓR – Ghosts Of Tomorrow (own label)

Ghosts Of TomorrowSaoirse Mhór is an Irish singer-songwriter living and working in Germany. British and Irish folk is big there but Saoirse is barely known in England except as the frontman of Fleadh. Ghosts Of Tomorrow is his third solo studio album and he is supported by, among others, Andy Horn and Andrew Cadie of Germany’s top British folk-rock band Broom Bezzums and their regular guest vocalist Katie Doherty.

There is a vein of melancholy running through Saoirse’s songs together with a feeling for lyrics that it typically Celtic. The opener, ‘Tree Of Oak’ is a simple song laden with the despair of a man fully aware of his own failure but it’s offset in part by ‘Fanore’, a village in County Clare where our man finds refuge from his life but leaves a part of himself there. ‘The Thief’ and ‘White Birds’ make for an interesting pairing. In the first, the writer is escaping from a damaged relationship but in the second he waits for the end of winter to be reunited with his love – two very fine songs.

The author of ‘Sleeping And Working’ is at rock bottom and the song ends bitterly with “Remember…if you work harder then love and good fortune will soon come your way”. Yeah, right. The bankers figure in that song and also in ‘Hill Of Plenty’ which begins optimistically until reality intrudes on what seems to be an ideal life.

Ghosts Of Tomorrow is big on sweeping strings and backing vocals with the fiddles of Andrew Cadie and Marcus Eichenlaub often taking the lead in melodic decoration with Michael Busch’s guitar sitting alongside Saoirse’s. He may live in Germany but Saoirse hasn’t really left Ireland far behind and there is a thread of a simple rural life running through the songs. ‘The Cleggan Bay Disaster’ takes us right back there and the final track, ‘Good Friday’, is an account of that day – a reflection of Saoirse’s Catholicism, perhaps.

His albums are available as downloads from the usual sources but for a physical copy you’ll need to visit his website. It’s worth going to the trouble.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Artist’s website: https://www.saoirsemhor.com/

BROOM BEZZUMS – No Smaller Than The World (Steeplejack Music SJCD017)

Broom BezzumsHere’s one. What’s the difference between Broom Bezzums and Show Of Hands? One is based in Germany and tours the UK relatively infrequently and the other is a band you’ve heard of. Otherwise they are indistinguishable. Broom Bezzums are one of Germany’s biggest folk acts, write the majority of their material and add in a couple of traditional songs and judiciously selected covers, although it has to be conceded that they don’t possess the songwriting prowess of Steve Knightly. But few people do. And both are duos who are trios – Katie Doherty being the third member of Broom Bezzums alongside Mark Bloomer and Andrew Cadie.

No Smaller Than The World is Broom Bezzums’ fifth full-length album and showcases their talents to the full. There is a strong thread of contemporary concerns in the songs. After the listener friendly opener, ‘Cold Winds Blow’, and the faux-shanty ‘Keep Hauling’ (which I really wanted to dislike but couldn’t bring myself to) we come to ‘Here We Go Again’. “The needle’s stuck again” sings Mark and we know what he means. Actually ‘Keep Hauling’ carries a message, too, but it’s wrapped in a rather more discreet package as is that of Cadie’s ‘Fishing In Troubled Waters’.

There is sophistication in the songwriting and the treatment of the traditional songs. ‘High Germany’ is built on Bloomer’s percussion and decorated by Brian Haltz’s whistle   and ‘Bonny At Morn’, often thought of as a woman’s song, is paradoxically not handed over to Katie. I particularly like the ‘Hen In The Pen’ set in which Cadie switches to Northumbrian pipes, a delightful contrast to the domination of strings.

Broom Bezzums will be appearing at Broadstairs Folk Week next month in advance of the release of No Smaller Than The World but that’s your only chance to hear then before their 2017 tour in March. Go on – you can hear Show Of Hands any time.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: http://www.broombezzums.com/

‘Keep Hauling’ – live:

BROOM BEZZUMS – Wine From A Mug and Winterman (Steeplejack Music SJCD 012 and 015)

BROOM BEZZUMS Wine From A MugBlissful (!) is the first word that comes to mind when reviewing anything by Andrew Cadie (vocals, fiddle, guitar, Northumbrian pipes, percussion and viola) and Mark Bloomer (vocals, guitar, mandola and drums) aka Broom Bezzums. In many ways cast from the same mould as Fox & Luckley it’s their musical input coming from an (almost) unique style where the emphasis is placed on band arrangements performed by a duo. No mean task and to me anyway only mastered until now by the previously mentioned Fox & Luckley. OK, so on “Wine From A Mug” they’ve opted to utilise their full-blown skills as musicians (occasional drums and horn section stabs) along with those of guests including vocalist Katie Doherty and Andy May’s piano and now supported very much by the rich source of equally shared lyric writing from both protagonists this CD should really see them heralded as one of Britain’s leading ‘folk’ acts…even though they’re actually based in Germany! The song-writing is very much akin to that of Jez Lowe (who they’ve worked with on occasions) and if you feel comfortable in that modern lyrics coupled with traditional style music proves no barrier to your musical tastes this duo will amply fit the bill. On the “Winterman” recording they extend their repertoire to a Winter themed project that includes traditional fayre such as “The Cherry Tree Carol”, “Good King Wenceslas” and a truly robust version of “A Soulin’” that would undoubtedly have a congregation dancing in the aisles like refugees from a Blues Brothers movie. Trust me when I say that Cadie and Bloomer haven’t put a foot wrong on any of their recordings (of which there are two more available) and, if you’re looking for something substantial to expand your ‘folk’ music collection you really should buy them out of necessity.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist web links: www.broombezzums.com

 

BROOM BEZZUMS – Winterman (Steeplejack Music SJCD019)

Broom BezzumsMark Bloomer and Andrew Cadie are Broom Bezzums, a duo regularly augmented by Katie Doherty’s vocals. In fact the opening track here, ‘Salt Sea And Coal’, is one of Katie’s songs.

Although British, Broom Bezzums are based in Germany where they have released three previous albums, all available from the usual sources in the UK. There is nothing earth-shatteringly new in this seasonal set but, having said that, they have found some interesting tunes with a Christmas connection. ‘The Cherry Tree Carol’, ‘Crow On The Cradle’, ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and ‘Wassail Song’ cover most aspects of the festive season. It’s all done very well, though in a style that doesn’t feel particularly English. I don’t know but I suspect they have tailored their music to the continental audience. There are complexities and show-bizzy twists that you wouldn’t hear in a British folk club – blending Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ with a strathspey is cheeky and it works. Who’s to say that we couldn’t do with a dash of that over here?

Winterman is a perfect accompaniment to stuffing the turkey but probably too lively while reading the Dickens. Merry Christmas Everybody!

Dai Jeffries

Artist web link: www.broombezzums.com

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.