KATHRYN JOSEPH-BONES YOU HAVE THROWN ME AND BLOOD I’VE SPILLED.
KATHRYN JOSEPH-BONES YOU HAVE THROWN ME AND BLOOD I’VE SPILLED.
In the history of the Scottish Album Of The Year Award, Kathryn Joseph recently became the first artist to win Scotland’s most prestigious music award with a debut album. That debut album is Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, which was released in January 2015, on Hits The Fan Records.
A few months later, and Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled was one of 147 albums nominated for the Scottish Album Of The Year Award. This was narrowed down to what the judges considered the twenty best Scottish albums of 2015. They were an eclectic selection featuring everything from folk to indie rock and everything in between. The long-list featured some of the biggest names in Scottish music. Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, Errors, King Creosote, The Twilight Sad, The Phantom Band and Withered Hand had all been nominated. This was to be expected. Some names however, were missing.
There was no sign of Lau’s The Bell That Never Raung, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat’s The Most Important Place In The World and Vashti Bunyon’s Heartleap. Somehow, these three albums been passed over. On another day, they could’ve easily found their way onto the long-list. Sadly, it wasn’t to be. However, this meant three other artists would have their moment in the sun.
When 147 became twenty, critics and record buyers studied the long-list with interest. There were what some considered some unexpected names. One of these names was Kathryn Joseph.
She had only released Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled a couple of months earlier. However, it was released to widespread critical acclaim. The Aberdeen born singer, songwriter and pianist had made an impression on music critics, DJs and music lovers. So for those of us who had followed Kathryn’s career with interest, it was no surprise when Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled made the long-list for the 2015 Scottish Album Of The Year Award. Doubters however, thought that Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled wouldn’t make the short-list of ten.
It looked like a close call. Certain albums looked nailed on to make the short-list. Especially, Mogwai’s Rave Tapes, Withered Hand’s New Gods, King Creosote’s From Scotland With Love, Belle and Sebastian’s Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, Errors’ Lease Of Life and The Phantom Band’s Strange Friend. They were almost guaranteed to make the cut. So was The Twilight Sad’s Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave. This left thirteen albums fighting it out for three places.
In the end, it was up to the public and judges to choose the ten albums that would make the short-list. Eventually, the short-list was announced. The record buying public and judges had spoken. Incredibly, King Creosote, Mogwai, The Phantom Band and Withered Hand never made the short-list. To rub salt into the wound, faux soul singer Paolo Nutini did. At times like this, and democracy is flawed. The only small crumb of comfort was that Kathryn Joseph’s debut album is Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled made the short-list.
From the 147 albums nominated, only ten remained. The biggest names on the short-list were Belle and Sebastian and Errors. Worryingly Paolo Nutini was still there. Surely, his poppy brand of lite soul wasn’t going to steal the prize? All would become clear.
The ten who made the short-list, were invited to a glittering gala dinner in late June 2015. It was attended by what the “great and good” of Scottish music. Critics, bloggers, bookers, promoters and DJs eagerly awaited the announcement of the winner of the Scottish Album Of The Year Award for 2015.
When the announcement was made, many within the room were surprised. The winner of Scotland’s most prestigious music award was Kathryn Joseph, who had just released her debut album
Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled in January 2015. Five months later, Kathryn Joseph was clutching the Scottish Album Of The Year Award for 2015 and a cheque for £20,000. Kathryn Joseph had come a long way in a short space of time.
Originally born in Aberdeen, Kathryn now lives in Scotland’s musical capital, Glasgow. That’s where she recorded the award winning Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled.
Kathryn Joseph wrote the ten tracks that became Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled. They were recorded and mixed at The Diving Bell Lounge in Glasgow. Producing Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled was Marcus MacKay. He also plays bass and rhythm guitar. Kathryn played piano and added vocals to the ten tracks. When they were completed, they became Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, which I’ll tell you about.
Opening Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled is The Bird. Just a lone piano plays, while in the distance, “cheep cheep,” can be heard. Quickly, Kathryn’s vocal veers between fragile and vulnerable, to emotive and powerful. Soon, a bass cuts in and accompanies Kathryn and her piano. Sometimes, Kathryn’s vocal quivers. Especially, as she sings: “you do not know me, and never will, Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled.” Meanwhile, the piano and bursts of drums add an element of drama. Then later, there’s an overwhelming sense of sadness as she sings: “you bring dead birds, then you go.” Ruefully and wistfully she delivers the lines to a captivating and dramatic track.
As the piano plays, The Blood takes on a wistful sound. That’s even before Kathryn sings. When her vocal enters, it has an almost otherworldly sound. It has the same vulnerable quality as she delivers a breathy, but urgent vocal. The drama increases when the rhythm section kicks in. Folk veers towards folk rock, and Kathryn seems to have been inspired by Astrid Williamson, Jerry Burns, Liz Fraser and Kate Bush. Especially Kate Bush, as she unleashes a vocal where power and emotion are omnipresent.
Washes of Kathryn’s vocal assail the listener on The Want. Her vocal is truly impassioned and becomes a plea: “hear me out.” Later, her vocal is tinged with regret as she sings: “I can’t be with you, hear me out.” Despite just accompanying herself on the piano, The Want is one of the most moving songs on Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled.
The piano comes close to overpowering Kathryn’s ethereal vocal on The Why What, Baby? As a result, you listen intently as Kathryn delivers her lyrics. Again, her vocal has a vulnerable quality. Not when she delivers the line: “God knows what you are guilty of.” Anger and frustration shines through. Other times though, her vocal veers between tender and impassioned, as she breathes life and meaning into her powerful lyrics.
Just like previous tracks, The Outtakes opens with just Kathryn playing her piano. Her fingers flit nimbly across the piano, playing boldly and confidently. Soon, her tender, ethereal vocal enters. It quivers, before a pounding drum joins is added. Whether it’s needed at that point is debatable? Granted it adds an element of drama. However, so does Kathryn’s expressive vocal. Later, melancholy strings are added. So is a bass. Both add to the mix. It’s better with their inclusion. That’s even the case with drum, but just at that point. Everything falls into place, in what sounds like a homage to Kate Bush.
For the first six bars of The Bone it’s just a lone piano that plays. This isn’t unusual. Most of the songs on Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled open with Kathryn’s piano. She plays unaccompanied, and sets the scene for her vocal. It’s heartfelt and impassioned, and has the same fragility of previous tracks. Another similarity is the use of a lone drum. It’s added at the nineteenth bar. Again, its raison d’être is to add a dramatic backdrop. This time it succeeds. Producer Marcus MacKay doesn’t overuse the drum. Nor does it come close to overpowering Kathryn’s captivating and impassioned vocal.
Slowly, The Crow decides to show its secrets. Lazily, the arrangement meanders slowly along the piano playing. By the fifteenth bar, Kathryn delivers a dreamy, ethereal vocal. Just the piano and plucked guitar accompany her. They play their part in a stark, understated vocal. It’s definitely a case of less is more, as a beautiful, emotive song unfolds.
The Mouth picks up where The Crow left off. Its arrangement is understated. For the time being, less is more. Just the piano, accompanies Kathryn’s vocal, which she almost turns into another instrument. Later, harmonies accompany her. Soon, the drum and guitar are added, as the arrangement swells. Seamlessly, the instruments, harmonies and Kathryn’s vocal intertwine, becoming one, and reach a dramatic crescendo. The instruments, harmonies and Kathryn’s vocal. Then it’s just Kathryn and her trusty piano, as the track reaches its sudden a poignant ending.
Each of Kathryn’s songs take the listener on a journey. The Good is no different. It may only be just over two minutes long, but Kathryn, accompanied by her wistful piano paints pictures. Her vocal is fragile and ethereal. Slowly and thoughtfully, she delivers the lyrics. She doesn’t rush. Instead, she dramatically and sometimes, defiantly delivers the lyrics.
Closing Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled is The Weary, a homecoming song. It’s a fitting way to close Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled is The Weary. Just like previous songs, Kathryn’s accompanied by her piano. One change is Kathryn’s vocal. Her accent is slightly stronger. On other tracks, Kathryn Joseph doesn’t sound Scottish. That’s not the case here. Another difference is the way the arrangement builds. It’s as if Kathryn’s determined to bring her debut album to a dramatic finale, with this homecoming song about The Weary traveller, home “safe and sound.”
Kathryn Joseph’s debut album Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled features ten tracks and lasts less than a forty-five minutes. During this captivating musical journey, the listener is introduced to what many people consider Scottish music’s best kept secret, Kathryn Joseph. However, not any more.
Earlier this year, Kathryn Joseph was nominated for the 2015 Scottish Album Of The Year Award. Incredibly, she beat off competition from another 146 artists. The result was a first in the history of the Scottish Album Of The Year Award. No artist had won the Scottish Album Of The Year Award with their debut album. That was until Kathryn Joseph triumphed with Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled. Winning Scotland’s most prestigious music award was a game-changer for Kathryn Joseph. Suddenly, her music was being heard by a much wider audience. Now she has just embarked upon a European tour, where Kathryn Joseph is sure to win over the hearts and minds of music lovers.
Especially given Kathryn Joseph’s vocal. It’s variously ethereal, haunting, heartfelt, melancholy and otherworldly. On each of the ten tracks on Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, Kathryn Joseph lyrics come to life. That’s down to Kathryn. She’s part singer, part storyteller. Each of her vocals are captivating. Partly, that’s because she tailors her vocal to suit the song. Sonically and stylistically, her vocal is unique. Especially, when she transforms her vocal into another instrument. This adds an extra dimension to the award winning Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled. It’s an enchanting album. However, is it a worthy winner of Scotland’s most prestigious music award?
The fifteen months that the 2015 when the Sottish Album Of The Year Award covered, just so happen to coincide with the release of many critically acclaimed Scottish albums from Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, Errors, King Creosote, The Phantom Band and Withered Hand. They had all been nominated and made the long-list. Some albums, including Lau’s The Bell That Never Raung, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat’s The Most Important Place In The World and Vashti Bunyon’s Heartleap didn’t make the long-list. This just goes to show the strength in depth of the competition Kathryn was up against. However, when the long-list became the shortlist, Kathryn Joseph’s chances improved.
Incredibly, King Creosote, Mogwai, The Phantom Band and Withered Hand all failed to make the shortlist. Any one these albums would’ve been worthy winners. The loss of such high profile albums meant Kathryn Joseph’s odds shortened. Her chances of doing a Hubby improved.
Just like R.H. Hubbard in 2013, Kathryn Joseph snuck up on the rails to win the Sottish Album Of The Year Award by a head. The debutant had beaten veterans of Scottish music like Belle and Sebastian, and innovators and leaf lovers Errors. Just like the last couple of years, the Sottish Album Of The Year Award was won by an outsider.
Whether Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled was the best album released between 1st January 2014 and March 31st 2015 is subjective. A strong case could be made for any one of eight albums on the long-list.
Ultimately, the winning album was the choice of twelve people. They sat in judgement, and eventually came up with Kathryn Joseph’s Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled. Whether it would’ve been the choice of the public is another thing? That’s debatable.
If the Scottish Album Of The Year was chosen by public vote, the result could’ve and would’ve been very different. Any one of Mogwai, Belle and Sebastian, King Creosote, Errors, The Phantom Band or Withered Hand would’ve won. However, allowing the public to choose the winner of the Scottish Album Of The Year could’ve proved risky.
Leaving the record buying public to choose the winner of the Scottish Album Of The Year could’ve turned a prestigious award into a popularity contest? Imagine if populism had triumphed, and Paolo Nutini had won? The Scottish Album Of The Year would’ve lost its credibility. Thankfully, that wasn’t to the case.
Instead, Kathryn Joseph, one of the rising stars of Scottish music triumphed, with what was one of the best debut albums of the last two years. Against all odds, Kathryn Joseph beat off competition from another 146 artists to win Scottish music’s most prestigious price, the Scottish Album Of The Year Award. The winning album was Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, which looks like launching the career of Kathryn Joseph, who previously, was Scottish music’s best kept secret.
KATHRYN JOSEPH-BONES YOU HAVE THROWN ME AND BLOOD I’VE SPILLED.