Beth is back
Brit Award-winner Beth Orton arrives in the county
this week. She tells Andy Welch about the making of her first
record in six years, and reflects on how marriage and having
children has changed her for the better.
In 2006, Beth Orton announced she was pregnant. Later that year,
she cancelled the tour to promote her fourth album The Comfort Of
Strangers on the advice of a doctor, and, aside from the odd, very
low-key show here or there, disappeared from view.
Six years on, she’s back with a new album, Sugaring Season,
perhaps her most direct and confident sounding work.
So what happened in between?
The short answer is “lots”. The long answer is a little more
“Comfort Of Strangers came out in February 2006, and for some
reason I lost so much confidence,” says Beth on her tour bus
between Seattle and Vancouver.
“Not because it didn’t sell well, or this, that and the other, I
just felt very vulnerable at that time. The album changed a lot of
things in my life. Lots of painful stuff came up, and it left me
feeling vulnerable, so the idea of being out in the public was
She says she tried a few performances to test the water, but
they left her “earth-shatteringly frightened” and undid things even
Being pregnant didn’t agree with her either. “I thought it was
the end of the world when I found out I was pregnant,” she says. “I
thought, ‘What am I doing?’ and for so many reasons.
“I was on my own, and I ended up moving to a house in the middle
of nowhere in Norfolk when Nancy was born, just the two of us.”
Fearful she was losing herself in motherhood, Beth started
writing at a frantic pace, desperate to cling on to something of
her own. One of the songs that arrived during that time and made it
onto Sugaring Season is called Last Trees Of Autumn.
“I felt like I was hanging on to the last shred of me, you know,
your last leaves of autumn, but my body was coming on like the
first shoots of spring. It was like I was slowly coming alive
whether I liked it or not.”
Then she met American singer songwriter Sam Amidon, whom she
married last year. They have a son, Arthur, giving Beth the family
she always wanted, but never thought she’d have.
Beth’s confidence has now fully returned, even surpassing
previous levels. For the first time since her career began aged 19,
after being discovered by Madonna collaborator William Orbit, she’s
had time to play with music in a way she never has before.
“A journalist said to me recently that I sound really happy on
Sugaring Season,” says Beth. “And I went on at them for ages saying
it wasn’t that black and white, that there are ups and downs to
being a parent and all that.
“But when I
think about it, I recorded this new album with my four-month-old
son asleep on the sofa next to me and husband and daughter in the
“It was a really happy time. It was lovely, as all this has
been. Creating a family is something I’ve always longed for, you
know, a proper family with a husband and kids.
“It’s not something I ever thought would happen, but it has. And
Beth Orton’s fifth album Sugaring Season is out now. She
will be at St Mary’s Church in Ashford on Thursday, November 29.
Tickets £18.50 in advance or £20.40 on the door. Concessions
available. For advance tickets and for more information, visit
- Click here for more news from across the county...