Kat Healy – Be Still Gentle Kind
A labour of love dating back many months, Kat Healy’s debut album is finally with us. No longer playing as the ‘Kat Healy Music Club‘ (although the supporting cast of album credits, including members of Stanley Odd, Banana Sessions and the Cairn String Quartet, still makes it all sound like a gang of sorts), Ms Healy’s time spent on the album has been worthwhile.
Be Still Gentle Kind is equal parts soulful, sweet and soothing, and rewards repeat listening. Fans of Joni Mitchell and Cat Power really ought to be picking this up and running with it – ideally to your nearest radio station. God knows there are enough artists of a similar nature that get cooed over at Radio 2 and 6 Music.
Kat’s voice is striking and almost always pushed to the fore; On the Haunting, save for the sparse guitar between verses, the music could easily go unnoticed, but even on the bassy stomp of Frozen Smile the voice still comfortably dominates the arrangement.
Broken Bones – an early single – still sounds fresh and Another Way to Fall is unashamedly - and successfully – going for a ‘big sound’. Day Into Night feels a little listless in comparison but Break Down could fit comfortably onto one of Regina Spektor’s recent works and is most pleasing.
There’s no doubting Kat Healy’s talent. Be Still Gentle Kind isn’t your average fare for the Edinburgh indie scene, and is arguably more suited to a smoky jazz club than one of the city’s ever dwindling number of toilet venues but it’s well worth a look.
It was a pleasure to catch up with Kat once again for the now traditional slew of stupid questions!
How does it feel to have an album just about ‘there’?
Amazing! And a huge relief. This one has taken two years, which is a long time to remain focussed and excited. We made a decision three quarters of the way through to re-record the percussion side of things and to record the last three tracks in a different way. It meant it was going to take a lot longer as everyone had other projects on the go – but I am genuinely so happy that we did – the end result was far better for it. Now I just need people to hear it!
Who did you bring in to record it?
Graeme Steel produced and mixed the record and Garry Boyle engineered and mastered it. We recorded it all down at The Depot in Granton and, I have to say, the studio is looking really amazing now and has such brilliant work coming through it. Michael MacLennan’s album was fantastic, as was the Banana Sessions and so much more. It’s a great vibe down there and you will bump into some wonderful people hanging out rehearsing/recording. I’d like to live there. And I’m so grateful for everyone’s invaluable input, their patience, support and good humour.
Are you playing live to support the release?
Lots of live shows, I’ve just supported Eleanor McEvoy and Rae Morris in the last few weeks – both were amazing – very inspiring and at totally different places in their careers. Eleanor was so kind to me afterwards, very encouraging, an old soul; she was very inspiring. Rae is very green still but there’s just something about her which makes her standout, she will be huge over the next few years, it’s definitely a name you will hear in the mainstream.
I’m playing a few shows with Maeve O’Boyle too, and opening two shows for Steve Poltz who I have been ‘crushing’ on since I was 18 years old. He’s one of my most favourite writers, and co-wrote one of my most treasured songs, ‘You Were Meant For Me’ with Jewel Kilcher. Meeting him will be an enormous privilege and I will probably act like a total NERD. I’m also supporting Catherine Feeny – a genius writer with a beautiful voice.
At the end of the year I am finishing with a show at St Marks Art Space, Edinburgh, and my lovely friends at The Cairn String Quartet will be joining me. I’ve never played with a live string section. It will be a make or break situation. I’ll need to keep my shit together… !!!! [Full dates below - Ed]
So what happens next?
I’ve already got a stack of new tunes ready to record! I cannot believe I am saying that. I thought this album would be the END of me. Apparently it has just spurred me on to do an even better one.
Those lives dates are below. The album’s due for a full release later this month – for more info head here.
October 3 Aberdeen Tunnels (with the 1930s)
October 5 Edinburgh Third Door (w/Royal Wood, Maeve O’Boyle)
October 6 Glasgow Berrit & Brown (w/Royal Wood, Maeve O’Boyle)
October 13 Glasgow Berrit & Brown (w/Steve Poltz)
October London Troubadour (w/Success Express)
October 19 Edinburgh Third Door (w/Steve Poltz)
November 11 Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms (w/Catherine Feeny)
December 3 Edinburgh Third Door, Edinburgh (w/Paper Aeroplanes and Jess Morgan)
December 8 Edinburgh St Mark’s Art Space, (featuring live strings from the Cairn String Quartet)