The singer's new Crown Electric collection is a stunning batch of songs, from ballads to classic pop tunes, but she admits modern music seems to value full albums less than ever.
"I think people will take less of a chance on an album than they used to, as they can just download tracks through the evil Spotify," she says, ahead of an Oran Mor appearance on Thursday.
"The general idea in people's minds is that music is now not something to be bought, and that's fundamentally wrong.
"I don't think people should pay over the odds for music, but without any finance it's hard for artists to work without having one eye on getting big commercial success.
"It's a real struggle for people at my sort of level to keep doing it, before you start going maybe I should do a song that goes 'La la la', and will be played on adverts to make money."
The songstress has experienced the other end of the scale too, having spent time on Atlantic Records.
That followed Kathryn's second album, Little Black Numbers, getting a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2000, and since then she has remained one of Britain's most talented songwriters.
Crown Electric, named after the power company where a young Elvis Presley worked, is her best achievement yet, blending sweet melodies with dark lyrics.
In recent years she's focused on her collaborative side-projects like The Pond or The Crayonettes, but at the same time the songs were piling up.
"I'm always writing, because I'm in constant fear that I'll never be able to write again, and it's that fear that made me write," she explains.
"Neil (McCall, who produced the record) sat with me and we worked out what we wanted this record to be, what it should say, and how it would hang together.
"It was a long, arduous process, and it was hard because there were a lot of songs I didn't want to let go of, but they didn't fit the overall feel."
That feel was a record in line with Kathryn's early inspirations, from Joni Mitchell to the Beatles to Neil Young, left, and was achieved by rattling through the songs over just a few days in the studio.
"We had three days with the band," she explains.
"That was amazing, as we just wanted to get the songs down fresh, and if you're playing live you get the essence of the record down quickly.
"It's a bit like giving birth, as you're not totally in control of it all. I don't know about playing bass or drums, but I can move around that and the essence is then there."
The mum of two is juggling her family life with time on the road, but she's eager to return to Glasgow on Thursday.
"I'm really excited, I always love the Scottish dates and I honestly don't say that about everywhere," she says.
"I'm from Liverpool, and Glasgow has got quite a similar feel - I've not played there in quite a while, so I'm looking forward to it."
She'll be joined on these dates by a three-piece backing band, and has come a long way as a performer from her earliest shows, when she struggled badly with her nerves and had difficulty coping with audiences.
"It used to be that I had to sit down onstage or I'd black out with nerves," she says.
"Then it got a bit better, although I would still try and run away sometimes.
"It's so much better now though. What helped was I just realised the world wasn't all about me.
"I'm fine when I'm singing, it's just when I stop singing and realise everyone is staring at me that I go 'Oh my God, I have nothing to say' and some rubbish comes out."
Kathryn is doing her chat a harsh disservice there. She's also got a variety of other projects on the go, from one that will celebrate underappreciated women in history to writing material for pop acts.
"It's an interesting process. It's like being a graphic artist and writing for a specific brief, whereas with my own songs I just write whatever the hell I want," she says.
"It's poppy stuff I'm doing. I constructed this song in my head that I decided was actually a love song to their therapist, not just a love song - that made me it a bit true to me as a writer."
Of course, Crown Electric might yet give her a mainstream boost too, even if wasn't intended that way.
"I wanted to make a pure album that was just about the music," she concludes.
"After hearing it, my record label called me up and said 'Kath, you've accidentally stumbled onto something people might buy…'"
l Kathryn Williams, Oran Mor, Thursday, £18, 7.30pm