Cathy Davey

Cathy Davey




According to Cathy Davey, the mercurial Irish singer and songwriter of dreamtime pop music, she was destined to create little else but art and music. She has not, she maintains, the memory for doing anything else. What she means is that from an early age she was unable (or, possibly, unwilling) to enter into conventional modes of expression. Although her parents are creative types (her mother is a sculptor, her father a musician/composer), it’s likely you won’t find Cathy egoistically extolling the virtues of the artiste’s life. Such a carry-on was sucked out of her many years ago due to her dyslexia and more recently by her hard won common sense.

“I was always away with the fairies when I was a kid,” she recalls, “and I would never engage with people. I couldn’t talk in class, and there were all these things that would lead me to doing something else I was better at. I was also secure enough within myself that I wouldn’t bother learning anything I wasn't good at. Perhaps that’s what spurs people on to achieve things academically - maybe that’s what prevented me from embarking on the academic life. I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but that’s how I explain it.”

Davey explains things very well and very coherently. She fully admits that the years spent going to school and growing up were not the easiest for her or her parents. She would bunk off classes at school, for instance (in particular, history), and sneak off to the music room, where she’d spend most of the day playing piano. Sometimes she would remove herself from school completely and spend the time at home drawing pictures. And then there was the occasion when she was chucked out of school for writing dirty poetry, an event that Davey remembers as being a crucial part of her development.

“Getting punished gave it something of an edge,” she states. “I was mortified on being found out, but I wasn't disappointed in myself. And besides, I think they were good poems. The first one – this was when I was in quite a religious school in England; it was horrible – was a drawing of a wall, with graffiti scrawled on it. The words were some that I had heard the boys say - silly things about male organs, which I didn’t understand. A teacher found it in a waste paper basket, pulled it out, and compared it with the writing of the other pupils. A very pathetic thing to do, I thought. The school authorities told me I was handicapped, that I should be going to a special school, and that I should pray for forgiveness.”

Throughout and reaching beyond all of this was the problem of Cathy’s sleeping patterns – or, rather, lack of them. Not sleeping well in the traditional sense, she says, was once a huge part of her life. “It affected every aspect to my life – from the way I could handle situations to talking to people, promoting gigs, expending all that adrenalin and not having it replenished in any way. That’s how I see it, and it was a bad cycle. Now, however, I have a dog that sleeps beside my bed, and I sleep like a baby when he’s there.”

Tales of Silversleeve is Cathy’s second album on Parlophone. Her first – 2004’s Something Ilk – was critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful. Despite the disappointment of the latter (which, wisely, was not balanced out in Cathy’s mind by the former), she has superseded all expectations by delivering a collection of less intense but no less exciting songs. It would be fair to say that the whirlwind of industry pressures swirling around Something Ilk did little to assist Cathy’s erstwhile fragile system.

“I didn't like anything about that time,” she freely admits. “I wasn't ready for what happened around Something Ilk, because it more or less came from nowhere. Also, I had no idea what to do business-wise, and had little idea how to connect with music industry people or what it was like being part of a record company. And money – it was never a part of my life, but then it became so. There was nothing about the experience that was pleasurable, but in retrospect that was only because I wasn't ready for it. Now, it’s become pleasurable because I had everything ready to go – songs, recordings, mindset. Thank God the buzz around Something Ilk backfired, because now I get to do it the right way.”


Something Ilk LP 2003
Tales Of Silversleeve LP 2007
Reuben - CD Single / Download Sept 07