Kathryn Williams releases a new single on 20th November. ‘The Mind Has Its Own Place’ taken from her hugely acclaimed ‘Hypoxia’ album – a collection of songs inspired by Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Says Kathryn of the song “This song was written for Dr. Nolan: She was the kind female doctor who seemed to care and show compassion to Esther. Previously to her Esther had had an arrogant self-serving male doctor who had performed electric shock treatment incorrectly. A trust forms between the characters and it is the gentle presence of Dr. Nolan that makes you believe a cure is possible.”
Kathryn has announced tour dates for October & November as below, including a number of co-headlines with The Magic Numbers Michelle Stodart* (who also performs in Kathryn’s band). Kathryn performs the album in full at Manchester Literary Festival, followed by a discussion about the project with The Observer’s Rachel Cooke. At the end of the run, Kathryn appears at the Barbican joining a band that includes Ed Harcourt, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Jim Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds), Romeo Stodart (The Magic Numbers) and Tom Herbert (Polar Bear) in tribute to Lee Hazlewood.
OCT 08 GLASGOW CCA*
OCT 09 BELFAST THE BLACK BOX*
OCT 10 DUBLIN THE WORKMANS CLUB*
OCT 11 DUNDALK THE SPIRT STORE*
OCT 16 ALDERLEY EDGE THE YARD
OCT 17 MANCHESTER HALLE ST PETERS MANCHESTER LITERARY FESTIVAL
OCT 21 COVENTY BIG COMFY BOOKSHOP
OCT 22 HEBDEN BRIDGE TRADES CLUB*
OCT 25 LONDON BARBICAN “Love and Other Crimes: The Songs of Lee Hazlewood”
The ‘Hypoxia’ project’s origins came in 2013 when Kathryn received a call from New Writing North asking if she would accept an open commission to write material inspired by Plath’s work for the Durham Book Festival’s celebration of her life and work last year, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of The Bell Jar’s publication and her death. Kathryn began what was to be a revelatory re-reading of The Bell Jar (which she hadn’t read since her teens): “What I wasn’t prepared for was the muscular writing. The shocking, brutal honesty. The modernness. Thinking about a woman writing like this 50 years ago was astounding.”
In October of last year, Kathryn performed five original songs inspired by The Bell Jar at Durham Town Hall – alongside writer Andrew Wilson reading from his (then forthcoming) book ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song – Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted’. But Kathryn found she was unable to escape the lure of the book’s characters and continued to write songs ‘for’ them over the next year (“This strange little cuckoo that had pushed my other records out of the way was demanding to be fed.”). Finally, with 8 songs ready, Kathryn enlisted the help of friend and collaborator Ed Harcourt who produced and engineered the album, also co-writing a ninth song, ‘Cuckoo’, into the bargain.