Astrid Williamson

Astrid Williamson was the frontperson for Scottish trio Goya Dress in the mid-'90s. After the dissolution of the band in late 1996, Williamson opted to go solo under the alias of her first name. Though a classically trained pianist and confessional-style singer/songwriter with a uniquely haunting and beautiful voice, Astrid's numerous comparisons to Tori Amos were lazy. Distinctive in her own right, Astrid's songwriting was more down-to-earth, subtle, and intricate than that of her redheaded peer; Kristin Hersh and Polly Harvey are better touchstones, but even those positive comparisons do little to bottle her artistry. Having grown up under the influence of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and the Smiths, Astrid's approach to songwriting from the very start was a form of emotional therapy within the realms of introspection, independence, and catharsis. Nude released her classy debut album in 1998, Boy for You, to scant critical acknowledgement, and the turn of the millennium found her between labels. By this time, she had gathered a vast array of feathers in her cap through outside contributions, including vocal work for Electronic and the Hope Blister, and piano work for Tara MacLean. She returned in 2002 with Carnation, which she released on her own Incarnation label. The album was reissued the following year as Astrid. 2006's Day of the Lone Wolf was Williamson's lushest, most eclectic work yet; the album was released in the U.S. in 2007 via One Little Indian. ~ Andy Kellman

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