Beth Orton has recently released 'Sugaring Season,' her first album in six years and her Anti- Records debut. Recorded in Portland, Oregon, with producer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists), the album bears the fruits of a period of introspection & renewal: deeply lyrical songwriting, a newfound expression of voice, and, more than ever before, a daring synthesis of her broad musical influences into a powerfully individual artistic vision. "I stretched myself as a singer on this record and used voices I never have before as a writer," she explains. "A lot of the writing on this record happened in the dead of night, when spiders mend their webs, with an infant asleep in the next room...as a result, my writing became a secret again: illicit and my own."
For 'Sugaring Season,' Orton and Martine have brought together a dream band of new and old friends: keyboardist Rob Burger, bassist Sebastian Steinberg, and legendary jazz drummer Brian Blade, with guitarists Marc Ribot and Ted Barnes and folksinger Sam Amidon. The album was recorded predominantly live on the floor as the band reflected and internalized Beth's disparate inspirations, from Roberta Flack's 'First Take' album to Pentangle's folk-jazz collisions. The songs range across styles from deeply soulful to effortless and breezy, with open-tuned guitars, pensive pianos, and modal grooves underpinning her emotional weathervane of a voice.
While Orton has shifted away from the electronic textures that dominated her early work, her music is still built upon an implicit groove, even if it emanates from her acoustic guitar rather than from a sequencer. "It may not be a 'dance' beat," she says, "but it's definitely there and it's earthed and primal and insistent."
Beth Orton is a BRIT Award-winner and two-time Mercury Prize nominee who has collaborated with Bert Jansch, Emmylou Harris, Beck, Jim O'Rourke, Terry Callier, and Ryan Adams among others. Her last album, 2006's 'Comfort of Strangers,' was called "unerringly lovely" by SPIN and "her most accomplished record to date" by Uncut.
Tune-in Friday at noon to hear the full CD.