Kitty’s come a long way since 2010 when her Bus Song was featured on BBC Radio 4; in 2015 a semi-finalist in BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Awards, then in 2016 releasing a more-than-promising debut EP (Tide And Time).
Her songwriting derives much creative inspiration from her native Somerset, and in particular her observations of the force of nature and on mankind’s relationship with the wild. Namer Of Clouds is bookended with found sounds, opening with the atmospheric murmuration of Starling Song and closing with a reworking of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem Inversnaid, which entreats us to preserve the wilderness for its peace. Between which, on Man, Friendship (written after the 2014 floods on the Somerset Levels and featured on this issue’s fRoots 70 compilation), Kitty expresses her intense empathy with the natural environment, which we need to treat with respect; Glass Eel uses that creature as a metaphor for the phenomenon of enforced migration.
Complementing these reflections are Seventeen and Dawn And Dark, songs with simpler, more personal messages, and haunting settings of traditional songs Morgan’s Pantry and Frozen Charlotte. There’s also a powerful electric revisit of Wrecking Days (a highlight of Kitty’s EP), and two life-story tributes: the title song concerns pharmacist Luke Howard, while Sea Silk tells of Sardinian seamstress Chiara Vigo.
Kitty’s deft fingerpicked guitar and clear, expressive voice are enhanced by the keen production (Sam Kelly, Jacob Stoney) and support from Jacob, Tom Moore and Josh Clark. Namer Of Clouds is an impressively mature record – and Kitty’s still only barely into her mid-’20s.