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 Post subject: Singer KT Tunstall on finding herself in Arizona (Scotsman)
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:39 am 
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It's a very long article... some highlights:

Quote:
KT Tunstall’s new album has two names, two moods, two seasons, maybe even two lives. It’s sliced clean down the middle like a piece of fruit. Like the year in which she made it.

The first half is called Invisible Empire and was recorded in the spring of last year when Tunstall found herself heading on a whim to the dust-caked desert lands of Tucson, Arizona. Why? To make music amongst the cowboys and cacti with a man she had got to know in Glasgow over a bottle of whisky.


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The session lasted a fortnight and produced some of the greatest songs of her career. She was surprised. She hadn’t even intended to make an album yet here it was; a handful of sad, spare alt-country songs about death and the death of love, falling out of her as though they had always been there. She returned to London and then, in the summer, was suddenly called home to St Andrews, where Tunstall’s life as a musician began 20 years ago in the East Neuk’s coastal villages, green fields, and creaky old pubs. Her father, an eminent physicist and lecturer at St Andrews University, had just died. Those songs about death had suddenly, strangely, come true.

“It was really eerie,” she tells me. “It actually spooked me for a while. I felt like it was some voodoo s***, that I had written songs that were coming true in a way I really hadn’t expected. I had written Carried [a song on the first part of the album], which is basically about the place where you die being different to the place where you are laid to rest and about somebody having to do that final journey for you, carry you there… Three months later I’m carrying my dad’s ashes in a backpack on a train to London. Jesus Christ.” She sighs. “I never thought the song was going to have such a literal meaning for me.”


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“I’m actually taken by surprise to be sitting here talking to you about a new album,” she says with an abrupt laugh in that sweet, low, and still undiluted Fife accent. “How the f*** did I do it? I don’t understand how it happened. It would be easy to say this album is a return to my roots, but for me it feels like the first album I’ve made that’s purely me. I’ve always been a fan of simplicity but it feels like it’s taken me 20 years to write a really good, simple song.”


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Anyway, that was then. Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon, made with alt-country genius Howe Gelb (the one she bonded with over a bottle of whisky) and John ‘PJ Harvey’ Parish on drums, is a whole world away from the persistently mainstream pop of her debut, Eye To The Telescope, which sold more than four million copies, and two subsequent studio albums. And it’s all the better for it. This feels like a completely different KT Tunstall, or rather for the first time it feels like it’s really her. Even her voice sounds different: less gravelly, softer, more textured and pure. It sounds like a proper grown-up country music singer’s voice.

“Howe and I listened to each other’s music for the first time when we were on a bus to Newcastle,” she says. “My albums seemed so fast and busy. You could hardly hear my voice. It all seemed so produced, so overcooked. I’ve always seen myself as a bit of a package deal, thought that the reason people like what I do is because of the singing, writing, guitar, pedal, and rhythm. It’s kind of a one-woman show. Now I have faith in my voice. A year ago if you’d asked me what I did I would never have said I was a singer. I would have said I was a musician. But this time I wanted to make an album that was all about my voice. I guess it has always been there, I just never used it.” How did it feel to sing like that for the first time? “Medicinal,” is her quiet answer. “This whole album has been a healing experience for me.”


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Tunstall is in the offices of her London label. She comes across as relaxed, warm, funny, and very smart, entirely in keeping with her reputation for being one of the nicest pop stars in the business. Presumably that’s what comes of cutting your teeth in the East Neuk’s Fence Collective: the staunchly independent, bearded folk scene from whence she came. Still, it comes as a surprise. It’s only the day after her divorce was finalised and it’s been splashed all over the papers. ‘KT Tunstall’s divorce from husband of four years finalised in just 80 seconds on grounds of her unreasonable behaviour’, bleats one tabloid headline. ‘KT Tunstall “homeless” after divorce’, squeals another.

“I’m still in London and I’m still good,” she says. “Everything’s quite intense at the moment but I’m taking my time and keeping my eyes and my heart open to what’s going on.” Is she being left alone? “I never get any s***,” she says breezily. “I’ve never been doorstepped. I’m just not that person.


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She won’t talk about her relationship, because “there are two people involved and he doesn’t have a chance to speak”. However Tunstall does tell me that she and Bullen will no longer work together. And that he only played on the Invisible Empire half of the album.


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Today, as on the cover of Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon, her image has changed and she is wearing a suit. “I’m not massively into fashion,” she admits. “I like nice clothes but it’s never going to be an important part of my life. It wasn’t like this door opened, everyone gave me free stuff, and I was like oh my god, this is amazing. I was more like oh my god, I’d never wear that.” She laughs. “ I never knew what I wanted to look like. I never had a vision. This album is the first time I’ve had a really clear sense of how I want to look.”

It turns out she wants to look like a cowboy. “It was about embracing androgyny,” she says and then we both start laughing as her phone starts up. Her ringtone is, rather aptly, an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western theme tune. “It was almost about wanting to be a man,” she continues. “I wanted to enjoy my male energy, which has always been very strong when I perform. I’m not some strong-headed warrior-ess all the time but I do feel that way on stage. And it gets you a lot of lesbian fans too.” She chuckles. “With this album I’ve really embraced that image and the irony is that for the first time I now feel like a woman when I play. I’ve grown up.”



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We talk about her father, a tenacious and adventurous man who was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live 20 years ago. The day before he died he walked to the local shop to buy a paper. “A lot of adversity was chucked at him,” she says. “You know, he was an old man and very ill. He lasted a very long time.”

Was she there when he died? “I was able to be with my mum within a couple of hours and I had seen him very recently,” she says. “Everything was said. We knew we loved each other. And the thing is, it’s not bad to die when you’re that ill. When my dad died there was a relief. Of course there was. He couldn’t feed himself. And so I haven’t been crushed by it. In fact, I’ve found it quite liberating to understand that it’s our attitude to death that’s bad, not the thing itself. We are horrendously bad at death in the West.”


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It’s been a monumental year, and out of it has come Tunstall’s best album yet. “The future is an open book for me,” she says. “I’ve no idea what comes next.” Isn’t that scary? “No, it’s liberating,” she replies. “For 20 years I’ve felt completely defined by my music. Ironically, now that I no longer feel that way, I’m churning out the best music I’ve ever made.” She laughs loudly. “That’s the thing. All this time I’ve been trying so hard. Finally, with this album I could let go. I didn’t need to try any more.”



Full article: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/music ... -1-2960167

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 Post subject: Re: Singer KT Tunstall on finding herself in Arizona (Scotsm
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:10 pm 
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Willie Nelson's Martin "Trigger"
Willie Nelson's Martin "Trigger"
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Thanks for sharing! :smt023
KT wanted to make better music and the best album she had ever done. Finally she did it without realising it.
It's when you don't expect things that they happen.

It's good that she feels better now, that she is what she really is.
I love her simplicity!

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