Revising History: Kathryn Williams On Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter, Björk’s Homogenic, More
On her 2004 covers album, Relations, revered British singer/songwriter Kathryn Williams breathed new life into classics such as Nirvana’s “All Apologies,” the Velvet Underground’s “Candy Says” and Pavement’s “Spit on a Stranger.” In commemoration of the release finally reaching U.S. shores on Tuesday (via One Little Indian), the Bad Penny asked the Mercury Prize nominee to christen a new feature: Revising History.
For the feature – which is sort of an inverted version of Cover Me – Williams was asked which albums she most wishes she had created. Surprisingly, only one selection was by an artist whose song she chose for Relations: Leonard Cohen.
Below is her full Revising History docket, followed by a free download of her recent single “Just a Feeling.”
Joni Mitchell – Blue
I think she is one of the best lyricists there is. Every song has a line or a phrase – so natural and flowing, so poetic, but also ringing with a truth and an emotion. This record kills me every time.
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
This is the most organic, feel-your-way piece of brilliance. It changes the air in the room, and if you put it on, you have to listen to the whole thing.
Leonard Cohen – Songs From a Room
This is tied in with all the first steps of adulthood. I remember staying up at someone’s bedsit and playing Scrabble, drinking wine, listening to this by candlelight, and thinking I was a grown-up artist and the possibilities were endless.
Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
The title song is amazing. It’s like a prophecy. My second son, Ted, came into the world to this song.
Laura Veirs – Carbon Glacier
A modern classic. My first son, Louis, came into the world to this.
Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
Because of the quiet, the English-ness, the space inside the songs. How it feels like a warm, melancholic blanket.
John Martyn – Solid Air
For similar reasons to Nick Drake, except I got to sing on his record Glasgow Walker and support him live. Because he was nice to me, even though he was a mess.
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Master and Everyone
Any guise of his – Palace, Palace Brothers, Will Oldham – just makes the world better by being in it. My husband plays it in his café all the time.
Björk – Homogenic
This record hasn’t dated at all. It feels vibrant and fresh and daring. As a woman, I find Björk inspiring, not to mimic but to gain strength in being myself as she follows her path with a freedom that stretches most musical boundaries.
Tom Waits – Closing Time
Because it’s what I want to put on at the DBS of a great night out or in. It suits that heady time, it slowly walks you up to bed wobbling and giddy.
• Bad Penny download: Kathryn Williams’ “Just a Feeling”
Other Bad Penny features:
• Guilty Pleasures: Humanfly On Prince, Blur, Ice Cube, More
• Cover Me: Cassorla
• What You Readin’ For?: Climber On ‘Moby Dick’
• Great Debate: TV Buddhas On Supermarket Lunches Vs. Eating Out
• Memento: Winterlings’ Autumn Harvest
• The New Loud’s Favorite David Lynch Films