Beth Orton Re-Emerges On 'Daybreaker'

Beth Orton feature excerpted from the magazine for

Most would probably imagine that as Beth Orton toured Europe and America in support of her sophomore set, the celebrated "Central Reservation," the young British folkie was having the time of her life. After only three years on the music scene and a steady shower of critical acclaim, Orton was indeed having a ball. But, nowadays, when she reflects on that 1999 tour, dominating the conversation are the health problems and promotional chores she juggled along the way.

Already plagued by a non-fatal yet highly painful intestinal disorder known as Chron's disease, Orton -- whose third album, "Daybreaker," arrives July 30 on Astralwerks -- says she found that, after the tour, she considered calling it quits, asking herself, "Which is more important-being healthy or making albums and touring?"

She was so troubled, Orton says, that there was a "clearing of the palette" after she grew tired of touring, interviews, and even the very thing that was making her a star -- her songwriting. "I got full up to the brim with it all -- songwriting, music, words, people, and all this kind of analysis of, like, what it is that I'm doing and all that."

Ironically, by turning her back on her craft for a while, Orton says she has fallen even more deeply in love with what she does. She gets almost giddy talking about the artists with whom she collaborated on "Daybreaker": Ryan Adams (who performs a duet of "Concrete Sky" with Orton on the album), Emmylou Harris, the Chemical Brothers, and Everything But The Girl's Ben Watt.

Perhaps more so than "Central Reservation" and her 1996 debut, "Trailer Park," the new album is equally devoted to her loves for electronica and folk; her voice floats over mellotrons and upright-bass tracks one minute, only to slide across a slyly engineered Chemical Brothers track the next.

Orton will play a handful of East Coast U.S. shows in June, followed by a few U.K. dates in July. She'll return to the U.S. for a Central Park SummerStage concert July 28 in New York.

Here are Beth Orton's upcoming tour dates:

June 10-11: New York (Bowery Ballroom)
June 12: Boston (Paradise Rock Club)
June 14: Philadelphia (Theatre of Living Arts)
June 15: Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
July 6: St. Austell, England (Eden Project)
July 9: London (Electric Ballroom)
July 28: New York (Central Park SummerStage)

Excerpted from the June 15, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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