S05E08 – Waking the Witch

We’re continuing into the Ninth Wave with the third track on side two. After the tense atmosphere of Under Ice, we enter another nightmare, this time at a witch trial in the truly frightening Waking the Witch. Performed live for the first time in 2014 in the Before the Dawn shows, Waking the Witch incorporates not just massive production, especially when compared with the previous song. There are also flying vocals and the theme of this song: witch trials and the fear of a woman’s power.

To discuss this song, we have Daniel Thomas from Seattle on the line. Daniel is a long-time Kate fan who was last on the show to talk about Pull Out the Pin and who contributed several song insights to some of the previous season’s songs. We talk about the production on this song (Kate’s use of gated vocals), the Before the Dawn version, feminism, and witch trials.

In addition to talking about the Salem witch trials, we also learn about other people who were accused of witchcraft. We discuss the story of Grace Sherwood, a healer and farmer in early 1700s Virginia who has since been nicknamed the Witch of Pungo. Grace was tried and ducked under accusations of being a witch and it’s said that her spirit still haunts the place where she was ducked (and who has a road named after her in Virginia Beach: Witchduck Road). We also talk about depictions of witches often being women who don’t fit the norm and the fear of women having power, the only man who was tried during the Salem witch trials and our host’s connection to him, and what it was like for our host to travel to Salem, Massachusetts during a road trip as a child with her family.

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Song clips included:

Waking the Witch (album version)

Waking the Witch (Before the Dawn version)

Interview clips included:

BBC Classic Albums, Hounds of Love