Music Notes: Catherine Feeny back on very familiar ground

American singer-songwriter Catherine Feeny, who lived in Norwich before moving back over the Atlantic, is back in the city to play two special show as part of a very short UK tour to promote her new album, America.

During her time in the city, the musician lived in a flat on St Benedict's Street, so its going to be quite a homecoming when she plays two nights at the Bicycle Shop, a fantastically intimate venue to see an artist who usually plays much larger venues.

Now based in Portland, Oregon, she lived in Norwich from 2004 to 2008. She regularly returns to Norfolk with her husband, singer/songwriter/guitarist Sebastian Rogers who was born and raised in Diss.

'I loved being in Norwich. It was such a lovely place to spend time — a beautiful city with such a lot of character,' she recalls.

'Living in Norwich was certainly quite different from LA,' she added. 'I loved it but I live in Portland now, which is interesting because it's somewhere between Norwich and LA — if such a thing is possible!'

Feeny was signed to UK independent Tallgrass Records before landing a deal with EMI. Her second album Hurricane Glass included songs which featured in the Hollywood film 'Running with Scissors, as well as popular television shows The O.C' and One Tree Hill.

America is her fourth album and is produced by her husband. The album is far more politicaklly charged than previous releases and is her response to having spent five weeks at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York in 2011. Thousands of people attended the initially peaceful protest, where tense confrontations with the NYPD culminated in violence.

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Feeny's own experiences climaxed with her arrest in Zuccotti Park.

America is an inspired album that juggles the polar ideologies of a nation — fragile hope along with the menace of arrogance and corruption. 'This is far and away the best album I have made yet,' she said. She'll also be performing material from previous recordings, People in the Hole and the acclaimed Hurricane Glass, which featured the song Mr Blue, a regular favourite on the BBC Radio 2 Bob Harris show.

With recent tours that include support for Martha Wainwright, Suzanne Vega and Dr John among many other legends, these Norwich appearances by the singer are among just a handful this autumn.

In after very different project Feeny was also recently commissioned by Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues, to write a song for the global campaign, One Billion Rising. This emphasises the statistic one in three women worldwide will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.

? Catherine Feeny performs at The Bicycle Shop, Norwich, on November 5-6, �10, bicycleshop

? America is out now.

? Further listening: