This week I’m bringing you more new music, again from Angry Baby Music. Kate Dimbleby’s sixth album is called Songbirds and despite being the sixth, is the first she truly considers to have her own voice. Here’s what Angry Baby had to say about it:
Songbirds is the product of a life explored. From London to Vancouver Island, from riverside benches to forests and hilltops and from break-up to intimacy to self-revelation, Kate’s journeys spill out into lyrics that entice and surprise. Backed by her own voice, looped and layered into technical masterpieces, Kate’s work pretends to be simple, but isn’t. Accessing Americana, blues, jazz, spiritual and folk, Kate redefines her influences through courage sprinkled with genius. Her approach to music has a postmodern twist, as she leaves “room for people to interact by stepping into the space where the instruments would normally be”. The result is an album deserving of the label “groundbreaking”, brought to life via her partnership with producer Lauren Deakin Davies and label boss Helen Meissner.
Ever felt the need to find yourself? Limbo locates the moment where change is inevitable, yet slow to arrive. This is an intensely personal reflection which, for Kate, was triggered by her first real heartbreak. She explains “I sat on a bench by the river in Hammersmith thinking this is a really horrible feeling – this kind of emptiness…I need to move it by singing about it”. Out of that moment of despair came Kate’s first song.
From heartbreak comes joy, so track two reminds us that Love Can Be Easy. Born in a moment of simple pleasure with her daughter, which caused Kate to ponder “why do we never sing about the quiet moments?”, we’re transported to the spaces in life where nothing is happening but contentment. If only we could bottle it, but, as the song says “when we see it clearly, then we’re no longer there”.
Many songs have tried to capture the spirit of happiness, none less than Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 Don’t Worry, Be Happy. Listening to the playful expression in Kate’s Happy, it’s no surprise to find that she had previously worked with the man himself. Kate takes joy to a whole new dimension. Spontaneous and childlike, this is a track to put a smile on your face. Listen at least once a day for maximum benefit.
Describing At Our Best as a “silly marching hymn”, Kate is in danger of undermining her own genius. Blending country/gospel/spiritual vibes with on-point harmonies, this is 1 minute 6 seconds of anthemic perfection. Yes, we could march along, but we’d best be marching for something worthwhile. Let’s hope this little gem finds its cause.
Revealing a softly nurturing side to Kate’s songwriting, Whatever is the story of unconditional support that everyone needs in their life…“When this world seems overcrowded but friendship feels too hard to find…I’ll never be too far behind”. Supported by a jazz of doo-wop, and ending with a snippet of studio chat and a giggle, this track has personality by the bucketload. Love this live performance:
Many can sing the blues, but not many can write a strong, traditional blues refrain. In These Things, They Will Come, Kate reveals her blues credentials. The track, Kate confesses, runs very deep for her, founded in her personal experience of physical pain and psychological displacement. Reminiscent of Sam Cooke’s civil rights anthem A Change Is Gonna Come, Kate wrote it as a personal reassurance that there’s a world of support to be found. But with the end strangely unresolved, listeners are left suspended in a space for their own interpretation.
In an era of instant gratification, the patience required of intimacy can be hard to achieve. Walk Away acknowledges the choice to leave while celebrating the prize to be won if we stay. With effortless vocal control and chorally-precise harmonies, Kate transports us to a hilltop where the song came to her “all in one go, pretty much as recorded”. Sometimes these things are a gift.
Closing the album, Song For A Hill is a quirky, carnivalesque confection, combining captured sound with electronica. Calling to mind automata and strains of Hushabye Mountain, Kate creates a delicious waltz through traditional toyboxes, distant streets and stormy days. A tiny soundscape to hold in your hand and enjoy.
Disruptive and contemporary, Songbirds introduces interpretation that shakes off familiarity and define the edge of a new genre. Kate’s determination to find her own voice – which can’t be easy, given the heritage that attaches to her name – has found fertile ground in the all-female, all-nurturing team that has assembled around her.
What a great review from Angry Baby – click here to get your FREE track from Songbirds.
Songbirds is available here:
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