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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

'Spirals' - An Album That Allowed Kate Ellis To Take The Whirlwind In Her Head And Put It To Song

Kate Ellis is an Americana singer-songwriter born in Louisiana, raised in New York and now based in London, England. Kate is excited to announce the release of her spell-binding sophomore album ‘Spirals’ on February 18th, 2022 on River Rose Records; “a collection of songs that came out of a process of soul searching”.

Kate Ellis started writing songs when she decided to put down her law degree and pick up a guitar. This led to her critically acclaimed debut album Carve Me Out, released in 2017. Maverick Magazine called it: “wryly reflective, sweetly melodic, touchingly compassionate and warm-hearted.” RnR Magazine described it as: “delicate, melodic music with the ring of truth to her words and that most elusive

quality, soul.” While Americana UK gave it 8/10 saying: “Quite simply a superb debut album and one that announces the arrival of a genuine talent.”

The title track to the first album was the song that Kate wrote the morning after her mother died, so the record poignantly marked the end of this period of her life. Now Kate Ellis is releasing her second album Spirals which came out of a process of soul searching that followed: “to quiet the thought storms in my head and find my balance in the world," says Kate.

The album was produced by John Reynolds who has recorded and produced some of the most iconic artists in the music world, including Sinéad O’Connor, the Indigo Girls, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, Belinda Carlisle, The Cranberries, and Damian Dempsey. It was recorded in his New Ayr Studios in London and features a stellar line-up of musicians including a trio from Sinéad O’Connor’s band - bass player Clare Kenny, guitarist Graham Kearns and John Reynolds himself on drums - plus Chris Hillman on guitars and mandolin, Thomas Collison on keyboards (both American Music Association UK instrumentalists of the year), acclaimed Irish singer Pauline Scanlon on backing vocals, Joseph Paxton on violin as well as Kate’s long- time collaborator and partner Andy Hobsbawm.

Kate Ellis and John Reynolds connected strongly over a desire to capture the emotional truth in the music. John said: "Miraculously, out of lockdown came this beautiful album by Kate Ellis. She is a unique songwriter and deeply emotional singer.” Kate added: “It was incredible working with John. He is a true artist who had a powerful emotional feel for the songs and an amazing vision of how to bring them to life.”

The theme of Spirals reflects Kate’s attempts “to find a new understanding of ways to cope with the demons and dramas that can take over our minds.” It’s about getting lost in the maze of obstacles and pain we encounter in life – how we go around in circles inside our head, or try to get back things we can’t, or solve a pain there’s no solution to. And it’s about getting out of these spirals to a more peaceful place on the other side.

Like many, Kate has struggled with depression, anxiety and self-doubt at various times in her life. “I think people tend to find greater peace with their psychological demons as they grow older” says Kate. “You can deepen your understanding of your own psychology at any age, but watching your parents die, your children grow up, and experiencing a lifetime of love and pain in relationships perhaps gives you more perspective on these issues.”

Now the issue of mental health is much less taboo and in the public consciousness, it seems like these are universal human challenges many of us face at some point in our lives. “There are many different kinds of songs and moods on this album," says Kate, “and even the melancholy ones come with added life and hope – not just the pain of the human condition but the joy and peace that lies underneath it." She adds: “This is the truth behind the songs that I hope people will be able to connect with and respond to.”

Kate’s southern country-folk roots come from her father, an important early musical influence who once played guitar with Hank Williams on the famous Louisiana Hayride, where Elvis and Johnny Cash started out. Kate’s emotional and seductive vocals take you into a world of private beauty, re- flection and feelings; the music is always intimate and evocative, you listen and want to be there. A journalist for the Observer described hauntingly beautiful songs, while No Depression described her debut album Carve Me Out as: “an album of great warmth and feeling that just makes you press repeat. Definitely worthy of recognition”.


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