When she’s not being The Anchoress, Catherine Anne Davies is a regular collaborator with Manic Street Preachers (it’s her voice you’ll hear on their song Dylan & Caitlin), tours with the legendary Simple Minds and even found time last year to dust down an old recording with Bernard Butler, In Memory Of My Feelings, and turn it into one of the albums of the year. Her day job though is The Anchoress, and she released her debut album Confessions Of A Romance Novelist back in 2016. That album was impressive enough, but the follow-up feels like an event – right from the short piano and cello instrumental sections that bookend and weave through the record, The Art Of Losing feels like a palpable step up for Davies.
However, fully embodying Dylan Thomas' fabled advice, the Welsh singer-songwriter most certainly does not go gentle into that good night. A collection of songs that each sits within the calloused hand of grief, desperately trying to unfurl its infuriatingly homely fingers with an embittered rage, The Art of Losing always feels on the cusp of exploding into something but then pirouetting whichever way it sees fit, sometimes directly into the oncoming bombardment. With her debut, Davies took the place of a modern-day Kate Bush , which can feel like a lazy comparison but it should be held with high esteem given Confessions Of A Romance Novelist perfectly depicted being, and embracing, yourself.
Grief is obviously something we will all experience at some point in our lives, but singer/songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist The Anchoress (aka Catherine Anne Davies) has had more than her (un)fair share of loss and trauma over recent years. Her second album, The Art of Losing, was not the album she'd originally set out to write and came in the aftermath of the untimely death of her father, followed by experiencing repeated baby loss, as well as undergoing treatment for cervical cancer. Which is more than enough heartache for anybody to endure and certainly not what a young woman might expect to be faced with at this stage of her life.
Few modern artists are as outspoken and erudite as Catherine Anne Davis. Over the past five years she has become a familiar presence in the British alternative scene, popping up in unexpected places to host radio shows, release podcasts, pen thoughtful articles about the mental health and sexism issues endemic to the music industry, and collaborate with well-established acts like Bernard Butler, Manic Street Preachers and Simple Minds. She's a member of the Music Producers Guild, teaches songwriting and music production at ICMP, and also, on occasion, releases music under her 'The Anchoress' guise.