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Sugaring Season

Beth Orton

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

A six-year gap between records has given Beth Orton time to soul-search. Allegedly, she contemplated hanging up her career. However, she landed in Portland, Ore., with producer Tucker Martine, who grabbed bassist Sebastian Steinberg, drummer Brian Blade, and even a guest appearance from Marc Ribot (Elvis Costello's and Tom Waits' favored guitarist). Together, they created this understated beauty. No longer entranced with the electronica styles of her early work, Orton now sings like an heir to Sandy Denny. From the opening folk trance of "Magpie" to the light shuffle of "Call Me the Breeze" (a non-electronic collaboration with longtime creative partner Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers), Sugaring Season reveals a grounded Orton, who sings with great modesty and inspired phrasing. The album's deluxe edition includes three bonus covers: The Byrds' Goffin-King tracks "Wasn't Born to Follow" and "Goin' Back" are joined with a delicate take on Jonathan Richman's "That Summer Feeling," to which Orton gives an autumnal read.

Customer Reviews

Beth's Graceful State

The song Magpie introduces Sugaring Season with complexity and immediacy. The folk current is laid down right from that opening track and weaves its way throughout the rest of this album. Flourishes of jazz on the single Something More Beautiful, really do beautify Beth's vocals and as the song swells in its chorus, the result is quite good. Other notable tracks include Call Me the Breeze and Poison Tree. The prior's country tinge and melody stands out on this mostly quiet and short album. The latter's detached quality, subdued folk style, and added male vocals, form a difficult and rewarding track on repeated listens. Beth is at her most vulnerable on the closer Mystery, and her vocals shine. Though one can find quite a few aspects to like on Sugaring Season, the album is a bit bland, vacant, and energy seems hard to summon. Her best still remains Central Reservation from 1999, followed by 2006's Comfort of Strangers.

she is an Orton

Do with what you got spirit just like Van Morrison, ViewOfAKind, Jon Walker, The Verve, Love the work she shares with us!


It has been a long time since I've found an album that pulls me in so deeply. I loved her music years ago with Trailer Park and Central Reservation, but this far exceeds either of those. It is produced beautifully, Orton's voice sounds connected to the earth and the cosmos at the same time, and the songs are playful, soulful, and poetic. I'm just beginning to enjoy it, and want to be able to sing every piece on this.


Born: December, 1970 in Norwich, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter Beth Orton combined the passionate beauty of the acoustic folk tradition with the electronic beats of trip-hop to create a fresh, distinct fusion of roots and rhythm. Born in Norwich, England in December 1970, Orton debuted as one half of the duo Spill, a one-off project with William Orbit which released a cover of John Martyn's "Don't Wanna Know About Evil." She continued working with Orbit on his 1993 LP Strange Cargo 3, co-writing and singing the track "Water From a Vine Leaf"...
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