Definitely going against expectations is Kate Ellis with her new single "Hurt". It is the Nine Inch Nails song that was covered so tellingly by Johnny Cash in his later years, The central themes are relentlessly bleak, drug taking and self harm yet while I can accept that Johnny Cash may have dabbled in these things in his past, can I feel the same about Kate Ellis as she sings
"I hurt myself today To see if I still feel I focus on the pain The only thing that’s real"?
In truth it's a peculiar #TEAMw21 thing that surfaces on different songs - We have the same problem with Chris Stapleton's "Whiskey & You" which we have seen various people cover, it is always marvellous to see someone go for it, as it takes a lot of nerve - there is literally nowhere to hide but bizarrely we find ourselves judging the success of it by whether we believe the person singing can credibly sing the line
"I drink because I'm lonesome and I'm lonesome cos I drink"
For all we know Chrs Stapleton could be teetotal and he's a certainly a happily married family man yet somehow we can believe him when he sings those lines. It's not even a rule that we carry across all songs - do we have to believe Sir Tom Jones needs to be a homicidal maniac to credibly sing "Delilah" forinstance?
All of which bring us back to Kate Ellis's "Hurt" which opens with a great Americana sound, Andy Hobsbawm's slide guitar that immediately places you in some dusty American scene
As the chorus kicks in the guitars fade and and are replaced with keyboards and strings and the mood becomes at one with the cover picture, almost choral
"What have I become? My sweetest friend Everyone I know goes away In the end"
Each time Kate comes to these lines she does manage to imbue a real feeling of sadness and regret and
when it comes to the final line - Kate's possibly manages to find a chink of light in the darkness
If I could start again a million miles away - i would keep myself - I will find a way"
"Hurt" is the bonus track of the vinyl edition of "Spirals"
The video for "Hurt" only reinforces the lyrics, the church crumbling yet still clinging on to its beauty in its stained glass windows and also through the plain ones which bathe the surroundings in a magnificent God like light!