It was a little over 10 years ago that I picked up on Kathryn Williams’ trail, when I heard her track “Jasmine Hoop,” pouring over a CMJ magzine when it wasn’t pamphlet-sized.
The song was from her distractingly beautiful “Little Black Numbers,” a record which got her nominated for a Mercury in 2000. When I lived in Scotland, I remember being dumbstruck by the way she lunged her way around her guitar, and the power and emotion her tiny voice can cull from even the stoniest of hearts. Damien Rice was opening those shows then, though at the time she and her delicate orchestra of players blew the night away.
Williams has for years been working toward earning an audience in America, with no distribution, at first, then no label home until “Two” last year on hard-working indie Cheap Lullaby. And now, the big news is that she’s signed with One Little Indian, who’s getting her new album “The Quickening” out in North America on July 6.
One Little Indian has been home to some of the most innovative and unique voices in experimental, roots-based and electronic music, from Bjork to the Pernice Brothers to one of my personal faves, The Twilight Singers (no, not that “Twilight”). It’s a great home to this impressive folk singer, who has been incorporating samples and loops into her finger-picking and lightly-arranged compositions.
Her business plan has been simple, and hopefully will carry on here in the States. “I’m just used to people buying the record and liking it and buying more,” she told me in 2005. Hint: It’s working.
Below is “Little Lesson,” which has a bassline and refrain eager to stick.
One Little Indian is also re-releasing “Relatives,” a collection of covers Williams did of her favorite influencers, on the same day.