Some musicians will talk your ear off about their work. British singer-songwriter Beth Orton is not one of those musicians.Â
Orton gives an interview that is not too unlike her musical style itself. Soft-spoken and polite in a charmingly English way, she is reserved and careful with her words. Her songs are known for their stripped, bare-bones acoustic quality; not surprisingly, the writer of those songs is not a woman who embellishes or elaborates her speech.Â
And thatâ€™s just fine. Her music does the talking.Â
Last week Orton released her sixth studio album, "Sugaring Season" after a six-year hiatus from recording. "Sugaring Season" is a compelling collection of works that breathe new life into her signature folksy sound. Several of the tunes â€“ like "Magpie," the second single off the album, and "Call Me the Breeze" â€“ have an uptempo quality that nods to her past dabbles in electronica. Â
Orton will perform tonight at Turner Hall Ballroom, 1034 N. 4th St., with her husband, musician Sam Amidon. The family-centered singer has an infant son, Arthur, and a 5-year-old daughter, Nancy.Â
She caught up with OnMilwaukee.com over the phone last week.Â
OnMilwaukee.com: Â "Sugaring Season" is your sixth album; how has your musical style progressed from "SuperPinkMandy," your first album released in 1993?Â
Beth Orton: I mean â€¦ I, well, how do you think itâ€™s different?Â
OMC: Well, in the beginning you did some work in the electronica style.Â
BO: Mixing those things up you mean â€¦ yeah, Iâ€™ve been known for that in the past. I donâ€™t know, now, I guess Iâ€™m just â€¦ itâ€™s hard to say exactly how itâ€™s different.Â
OMC: How would you describe yourself as an artist at this point in your career?Â
BO: I donâ€™t. (laughs) I try not to think about myself too much.
OMC: Do you feel like that would be labeling yourself?Â
BO: No, I just wouldnâ€™t know how to go, (American accent) "Well, Iâ€™m the kind of artist whoâ€¦" (laughs) It just seems funny.
OMC: What do your children think of your career?Â
BO: My daughterâ€™s five-and-a-half and she doesnâ€™t really get itâ€¦I donâ€™t know, I donâ€™t think she does. She loves singing. (Asks daughter Nancy) What do you think of my music now, that Iâ€™m singing stuff?Â
(Nancy, in background) Good.Â
OMC: Artists always talk about how their personal life impacts their work; how do you think being a mother changed you as a singer and a songwriter?
BO: Itâ€™s hard to say. It just kind of changes everything so it all has an impact. It all just ends up having an impact. Itâ€™s hard to get away from having an impact. Pretty fundamentally, I would say.Â
OMC: Was it strange to be recording again or did you feel like it was a homecoming?
BO:Â Yeah, it felt really good. Really good. It felt lovely. It was fantastic circumstances but it was also â€¦ it was lovely. I loved it.Â
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