Monday November 8th – Tickets £13.50
Calling Kate Walsh a singer songwriter is like saying Van Gogh was a cartoonist. Kate is, er, different. A 26-year-old from a sailing town in Essex who’s been likened to Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Jane Austen, she’s ferociously independent…in every sense. She adores Debussy, studies cello, listens constantly to Classic FM (and little else), bemoans the demise of vinyl and CDs (she finally got an iPod when iTunes gave her one after her last album ‘Tim’s House’ knocked Take That off the top of the download chart but rarely uses it), is entertainingly scathing about the conventional music industry (“it’s fickle, selfish, impersonal and backstabbing”) – and has established her own cottage industry to do it her way. And when she sits down to write a song you’d better lock up your hearts for you instantly become Kate’s close personal confidante as she bares her soul with shocking candour.
You almost believe her. She’s currently single, lives in Brighton, though ’stupid men,’ do still run amok on her beautiful third album ‘Light and Dark’ (“yes, I do have a light and dark side – we all do, don’t we?”) The title track is particularly poignant, a guilt-ridden reverie on a love triangle that opens enticingly…’I left you for another man and he doesn’t deserve me…’
“It’s the saddest song I’ve ever written. It’s about two men and they both heard it independently and knew it was about them,” she grimaces. “There was a lot of trouble…it was awful going through it, but it’s a great song! I think it’s one of my best songs ever.” One of the first times she sang it in public – at London’s Union Chapel – it upset her so much she barely made it to the end. It happens. “When you’re singing it makes all the sentiments so real again. I sing mainly with my eyes shut and I feel every word. I try to make an instrument of my voice, like playing a wonderful, emotive piano piece, lilting on certain words and phrases…”
Listening to the very real pain and fragility of her music you imagine the author must be a quivering wreck permanently teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Far from it – chattering away ten to the dozen like she’s known you all her life, Kate Walsh is warm, funny and likeably self-deprecating, fully recognising the self-indulgent nature of the confessional songwriter’s art. “Nooooo, I don’t think I’ve had a terrible life at all,” she giggles. “I just mope and wallow more than anyone else. Maybe a part of me deliberately creates havoc so I’ve got something to write about – we like a bit of mayhem us songwriters. But now I’m changing all that and other things are becoming more important to me than some man who’s done the dirty on me. I’m not giving stupid men the time of day any more.”
She insists she’s not ambitious for fame or glory, but is immensely proud of the bigger sounds that characterise ‘Light & Dark’. And, now writing songs on piano rather than guitar, insists that ’stupid men’ will no longer be tolerated in her songs… or personal life. “For the first time, I feel happy about myself. Do you know what? I think I’m growing up…”