“LIVERPOOL is a place where people love music, so I knew that when I started touring again I had to come and play there,” says Beth Orton, the BRIT Award-winner and two-time Mercury Prize nominee.
She has collaborated with Bert Jansch, Emmylou Harris, Beck, Jim O’Rourke, Terry Callier and Ryan Adams, but took a break to have her children – Nancy and Arthur.
Now she’s back on the road with musician husband Sam Amidon, playing the Kazimier tonight.
“Plus, Sam and I have the children with us so it’s a proper little family tour.
“Liverpool is always a highlight on any tour because of the audience. I’ve always liked Glasgow, Bristol and Norwich too. They are all music cities, and that makes a huge difference.
“I’ve always felt that the crowds there will you to do well. They are up for anything.”
When it comes to picking a setlist, it’s always tricky she says.
“I try to make it like a mixtape I’m making for the crowd,” she explains. “They tend to be songs I feel passionate about.
“I’ll be playing songs from my new record, plus picking out some old songs I’ve not done in a while too.”
For the album, Sugaring Season, she brought together a dream band of new and old friends – keyboardist Rob Burger, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and legendary jazz drummer Brian Blade, along with guitarists Marc Ribot and Ted Barnes and her husband – folksinger Sam Amidon.
“We had such a good time making it,” she smiles. “It was like hanging out with old friends.”
The album was recorded predominantly live as the band reflected Beth’s disparate inspirations, from Roberta Flack’sŠFirst TakeŠalbum to Pentangle’s folk-jazz collisions.
The songs range from deeply soulful to effortless and breezy, with open-tuned guitars and pensive pianos.
It is Beth’s first album in six years. Recorded in Portland, Oregon, with producer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists), the album bears the fruits of her time spent away from the music industry.
“I stretched myself as a singer on this record and used voices I never have before as a writer,” she says. “A lot of the writing on this record happened in the dead of night, when spiders mend their webs, with an infant asleep in the next room – as a result, my writing became a secret again: illicit and my own.”
Beth Orton plays The Kazimier tonight. For details see http://www.beth-orton.net