Katie Doherty’s new album “And Then” has been a long time coming. It’s taken over ten years for her to follow-up her debut album release (2007’s Bridges) but here it finally is. Having picked up some great support for her earlier release, including airplay from BBC Radio 2, she went on to share stages with leading lights such as Karine Polwart, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and the legendary Ray Davies. As is often the way though, life moves on, circumstances change, and for Katie Doherty that meant working as a composer, collaborating with the Royal Shakespeare Company, starting a family and relocating to enjoy life on a farm. While nourished by her life and work, her own music had to take a backseat.
Fast-forward to 2018 though, and the next chapter is ready to begin for her. “And Then” (released Jan 25 on Steeplejack Music) is an album that in large part is dedicated to the theme of change. Covering a multitude of aspects, from the changing seasons, life circumstances, the passage of time, and the shifting of social attitudes and behaviour, Doherty’s tender and earnest vocal delivery ties everything together on this beautiful record.
It perhaps should not be a huge surprise then that much of Doherty’s new album is rooted in her keen observation of the concept of change. Whether the focus be on the changing seasons, life circumstances, the passage of time, or the shifting of social attitudes and behaviour, on And Then we see Doherty shine a light on how it feels to be part of a world that can be hard to keep up with.
Yours immediately lands as a story of leaving a beloved city behind. Rose In Winter conjures imagery of the creeping in of Winter, and Tiny Little Shoes explores the rollercoaster of first-time parenthood, and the accompanying feelings of overwhelming responsibility. Elsewhere on the record are songs that offer a deep examination of wider-world issues, notably the title track, which spotlights societal pressures in the age of social media, as Doherty explains;
“The pressure to live up to expectation and to portray ‘perfect’ is ridiculous and in the age of social media, it's constant, relentless and damaging. I think so much time can get lost in this pursuit and it kills creativity and imagination. I suppose it’s the ultimate procrastination…you don’t get much done when you’re so busy trying to live up to the world’s expectations. I’m not sure at what point in childhood we lose our wild abandon in favour of ﬁtting in but it’d be great if we all had the ability to revert back once in a while.”
In turn, Angry Daughter is song about resilience in the face of inequality. Doherty continues;
“During many debates on gender inequality I have heard women sounding almost apologetic about what could be viewed as ‘feminine’ qualities - because we don’t shout the loudest, speak up soon enough…push forward their ideas etc. I wrote this song as an anti-apology, a celebration of the measured, considered and digniﬁed approach to standing your ground, which often gets ignored.”
And Then marks the start of a sparkling new chapter for Katie Doherty.