And Then –  Katie Doherty and the Navigators (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

“Good things come to he who waits” is the perfect adage for this the second album from Katie Doherty and the Navigators. More than ten years down the line from Bridges she is no longer the emerging artist breaking through into the folk scene but a stalwart of stages shared with the likes of Karine Polwart, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and the legendary Ray Davies. But as is often the way though, life moved quickly on after that debut release, circumstances changed, 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.

Another useful adage is “A change is as good as a rest” and such shifting and fluid experiences of moving from one role to another, many times over, gave her the perfect perspective to write a suite of songs about change, the core theme of this new album. Change is all around us from the changing seasons, life circumstances, the passage of time, and the shifting of social attitudes and behaviour, all if which are found on this gloriously touching album.

The songs are wonderfully spacious, accordions, strings and pianos, not to mention rich vocal harmonies being the driving forces that weave the platform for the lyrics to dance on, but it is a platform that is delicate, occasionally wafer thin and often leaving spaces for the light and natural atmospherics to pour through into the songs.

A glorious couplet of songs lies at the heart of the album in A Rose In Winter – Polska, the former being an almost a cappella lament encased in chiming minimalism, the latter a Eastern European infused, sultry gypsy jive goes dream-folk, the two together acting as a brilliant calling card for the inventiveness and imagination that drives what might at first seem like a very traditional take on folk. By contrast  Angry Daughter takes a confident stance both musically and lyrically, an anti-apology defending “feminine qualities” and a celebration of the measured, considered and dignified approach to standing your ground, which often gets ignored.

It’s an album that stands with one foot in folk traditions whilst the other steps out into future potentials and it is lyrically mercurial,  both soothing and sensuous whilst often being gently confrontational and wonderfully challenging. In many ways And Then is a lynch-pin in the quiet revolution that has been happening in folk music of late. A revolution that keeps the genre relevant and ensures a bright future whilst simultaneously producing music that has wide appeal and is above all beautiful to behold. One last quote. “The revolution will not be televised, “ perhaps not but it should be available at venue near you very soon.

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