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Cathy gets the cream
She fell out of love with music having toured her debut album incessantly. But now Cathy Davey is back with a new sound, and a new attitude.
Craig Fitzsimons, 04 Oct 2007
Three years after she first exploded onto the public consciousness, Cathy Davey has followed up with Tales Of Silversleeve, a beguiling, dreamy collection of mostly downbeat songs which occupy some strange other world vaguely redolent of a pop-conscious Tom Waits or PJ Harvey, replete with melancholic jazz inflections and driving, insistent rhythms. En route, she’s discovered a way to enjoy it, but it’s clear that this wasn’t always the case.
“When I was first touring,” professes Cathy, “I felt this pressure to replicate the album, and I really didn’t enjoy myself playing live at all. I used to get nervous. It isn’t a problem now – something’s changed, I don’t know what it is. I’m not embarrassed about the songs, and when I look back, I think I was a bit embarrassed about a lot of the stuff on the first one. A lot of it comes across as silly teenage-angst poetry, quite horrific. I was very young when I wrote some of them. I’m a different person now. I wasn’t ashamed of all the songs, but I wasn’t thrilled about playing them to a room full of people, and very self-conscious. I thought people were judging me more harshly than they actually were. I still do some songs from the first album, but they’re jigged about to make them a bit more bearable for me, and I can enjoy them now.”
Even the dreaded term ‘singer-songwriter’ sits more comfortably than it once did: “I used to hate the term because of all the connotations it implied, and I thought the two should be separated. I don’t mind the term now cause I accept it’s technically accurate, if you sing and you write songs, and I don’t really care what I’m described as.”
Accompanied almost everywhere she goes by a magnificent friendly canine named Rex, who sits in on the interview, Davey adores animals and is especially besotted with parrots: “I’d love to have a parrot. I wanted one, but I’m away too much of the time and they get so upset when they’re left on their own. They’re all really damaged mentally, cause they’re like five-year-old children dealing with separation anxiety and real sadness. They’re prone to taking chunks out of their own feathers. It’s a bit distressing.”