mon 04/03/2024

CD: Katie Doherty & The Navigators - And Then | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Katie Doherty & The Navigators - And Then

CD: Katie Doherty & The Navigators - And Then

Award-winning Geordie folk musician returns with long awaited second album

Katie Doherty: beautiful musicianship

It’s more than 10 years since Katie Doherty, a new-minted music grad championed by the Sage-based Folkworks collective, was named Newcomer of the Year and released Bridges, her debut album. And Then is only her second – which is not to suggest she’s been resting on her laurels.

In the intervening years she’s worked as a musical director for the RSC among other stage companies and has appeared alongside Ray Davies and the McGarrigles – and, as “Tiny Little Shoes” suggests, she has had a baby. The album comes elegantly packaged, a gatefold with pull-out lyrics and credits, and the CD contained within is pretty damn good too.

The 10 songs are all originals and, as well as singing, Doherty plays piano and sansula with fellow Newcastle graduates and folk award-winners Shona Mooney on fiddle and Dave Gray on melodeon and vocals, plus a mighty handful of musicians on percussion, cello and fabulous harmony vocals. The album reflects the passage of time, its lyrics consider time itself: the way our own lives change and develop and the changes around us, not always for the better, over which we have no control. Opening track “I’ll Go Out” sounds beautifully traditional but it’s about the 21st century pressures, while “Heartbeat Ballroom” is a charming miniature, a story of teenage romance on the dance floor – the steps might now have changed but “you still take me home”. The arrangement is gorgeous, fiddle, cello and melodeon intertwining above the piano, tonality arrested mid-flight.

“A Rose in Winter”, modal in feel, perfectly conjures up winter’s snow, Doherty’s vocal soaring over a musical arrangement that sounds like a tinkling music box. Then it’s into “Polska”, an instrumental in which fiddle and cello dance around each other, melodeon in pursuit, Doherty vocalising over the top in the closing bars. “Angry Daughter”, in which she urges us to “stand up for what is wrong”, is coiled tight, insistent jazz-inflected motifs driving the song.

“Take a little time/find your own space”, Doherty sings in “Tiny Little Shoes”, which manages to reflect on motherhood and the promise of a bright tomorrow without undue sentimentality, voice and piano in unison in a melody that runs up and down the scale, its simplicity suggesting the innocence of childhood. “We Burn” concludes the album, a simple song that builds to a powerful chorus before dropping away, its final notes on plucked violin. In it, Doherty urging us to sing out, literally and metaphorically.

And Then? Well, play it again. It’s an album of great musicianship to bring you joy, and was well worth waiting for.

Liz Thomson's website

The album reflects the passage of time, its lyrics consider time itself


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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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