Beth Orton: Sugaring Season – album review

After expressing doubts as to whether she would make a return to recording, Beth Orton finds inspiration and returns with the outstanding ‘Sugaring Season’

Beth Orton: Sugaring Season (Anti/Epitaph)
Out: Oct 1st

Beth Orton’s latest album is the result of several personal and musical transformations. Retreating from public life for a while, she moved back to Norfolk to raise her young daughter. It was here where she established regular contact with folk icon and guitar virtuoso Bert Jansch (with whom she collaborated on his superb 2006 album ”ËœThe Black Swan’). The two began informally working together and Orton began taking lessons from him. He showed her alternate styles and tunings which she hadn’t used before and which allowed her to approach her songs in an entirely different way.

The revitalisation that came from this new approach was enhanced by her rekindling of old friendships, both musical and otherwise. She developed a regimented approach to her songwriting, oftentimes working through the night as her daughter slept. As her child grew, so did Orton’s canon of new material and before long, she yearned to be back in the studio.

The result is ”ËœSugaring Season’, a sublime and beautiful collection which is arguably the singer’s greatest work in over fifteen years. The levels of production are beautifully authentic and equally breathtaking. They maintain the simplicity of passionate and traditional folk, whilst maintaining innovative and memorable structures which cry out for attention. Her voice has never sounded better, sweeping from the sound of a fragile daydreamer to a passionate, unconstrained vocalist oftentimes within the same song.

Highlights include the opening track ”ËœMagpie’, ”ËœSomething More Beautiful’ and ”ËœCandles’. The version of the latter song which appears on the record is actually a rehearsal take, of which the musicians involved were unaware was recording. This is a prime example of how effortless and true this record sounds. Seek it out.

Beth Orton’s official website can be found HERE. Her Facebook page is HERE and her Twitter is HERE.
Watch: Magpie

Tour dates:

Beth Orton Tour dates:

Sunday, November 25 – Leamington Spa – Assembly Rooms

Monday, November 26 – Birmingham – Glee Club

Tuesday, November 27 – Sheffield – Memorial Hall

Thursday, November 29 – Ashford Kent – St. Mary’s Church

Friday, November 30 – Brighton – St Georges Church

Sunday, December 2 – Norwich – Arts Centre

Monday, December 3 – Milton Keynes – The Stables

Wednesday, December 5 – London – Union Chapel

Thursday, December 6 – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms

Friday, December 7 – Bristol ”“ Thekla

Sunday, December 9 – Manchester ”“ RHCM

Monday, December 10 – Portsmouth – Wedgewood Rooms

Tuesday, December 11 – Cardiff – Glee Club

Thursday, December 13 – Glasgow – Oran Mor

Friday, December 14 – Dublin (IE) – Pepper Canister Church

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more of his Louder Than War articles HERE
He writes about movies HERE and lurks about on Twitter HERE

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Colin McCracken is an Irish writer and cinematic obsessive who writes extensively about movies on a daily basis for his website He is equally passionate about vinyl (he used to run an independent record store), literature, live music and film soundtracks. He can also be found regularly on twitter as @zombiehamster.


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