Kathryn Williams

Old Low Light

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If Manchester's Damon Gough opened the majors up to the profitable pleasures of single songwriters by way of his Badly Drawn alter ego, so Kathryn Williams cemented the genre-crashing the shortlist of the 2000 Mercury Music Awards with Little Black Numbers, her follow-up to the curiously titled Dog Leap Stairs debut, both released through her own self-financed Caw imprint. Critical acclaim resulted in a swathe of sales, a management deal with Alan McGee, and a record contract with East West with Old Low Light, the first new material to appear since. If the successful re-release of the aforementioned Numbers in the fall of 2001 went to Williams' head, it certainly isn't noticeable with this stunning third album rippling with the understated emotion upon which her previous work relied here in all its silver-lined melancholic glory. As familiar as it is enjoyable, the music itself proves a delightful echo of the sentiments of each song -- a lonely piano and cello the only feasible accompaniment to "Tradition," while the backing of "Swimmer" offers a chirpier backing that perfectly captures the spirit of the song. 42 minutes of beautiful bliss.

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