Kathryn Williams Albums

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Kathryn Williams

Kathryn Williams Biography

Often compared to Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake -- quite favorably, no less -- singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams was born in Liverpool in 1974. Her father was a folksinger and, as a child, she studied piano and guitar and enjoyed listening to the cla**ic rock of the 1960s. Although she studied art while in college at Newcastle, that was where and when her interest in songwriting flourished. As influences, she has claimed a diverse array of artists, including Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, the Velvet Underground, and Nick Cave (whose "Into My Arms" played at her wedding). br /br /In 1999, Williams released her debut, Dog Leap Stairs, on her own Caw Records. Co-produced by P.J. Harvey a**ociate Head, it's been said that it only cost 80 pounds to record (although some sources say as little as 75). As Mitchell has done with many of her album covers, Williams designed the arresting image on the front of hers. The album received praise for her clear voice and spare arrangements. That September, she played before her biggest audience yet (2,500) when she appeared as part of "English Originals," the Nick Drake Tribute Night at London's Barbican. Her performance of "Saturday Sun" was considered one of the highlights of the charity event and led to an invitation to provide backing vocals to Drake friend John Martyn's 2000 release, Glasgow Walker. br /br /Williams poured even more of her own money (3000 pounds) into 2000's Little Black Numbers, which was again co-produced by Head and released by Caw. It garnered her best reviews yet from the notoriously fickle British press and would go on to secure a prestigious Mercury Music Prize nomination (an award won that year by Badly Drawn Boy). The resulting sales got her out of debt and led to a licensing arrangement with East West (a subsidiary of AOL/TimeWarner), which re-released it in 2001. br /br /Williams continued to branch out beyond the confines of folk when she contributed "Day by Day" to Signs (2000) by the Indian-born electronica duo Badmarsh and Shri (it also appears on the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation soundtrack). Another surprising collaboration was "Demons in Cases," a 2002 single with electronica act Pedro (aka James Rutledge). br /br /Williams recorded her third full-length, Old Low Light, with Head in South Wales and Newcastle. Released by East West in 2002, the cover features a family photograph (of Williams and her father at the beach). By this time, her backing band had solidified around Laura Reid on cello, Jonny Bridgewood on ba**, David Scott on guitar, and Alex Tustin on percussion. Later that year, she contributed "Easy and Me" to Total Lee! The Songs of Lee Hazlewood. Over the years, Williams has also released a number of singles; an unusual move for a folk artist, but also a sign that she has -- or is perceived to have -- "crossover potential." And that she does, hence the occasional comparison to more pop-oriented artists like Beth Orton, Turin Breaks, and Belle and Sebastian. ~ Kathleen C. Fennessy, All Music Guide

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