MARRY WATERSON AND DAVID A JAYCOCK Two Wolves (One Little Indian tplp1284cd)

MARRY WATERSON AND DAVID A JAYCOCK Two WolvesWhen her brother, Oliver Knight, decided to take a break from music, Marry Waterson found herself with something of a quandary. Not playing any instruments herself, while she might have the words, setting them to music was a bit of a problem. However, an unexpected, and frankly unlikely, new ‘musical foil’ presented itself in the form of Jaycock. Described by mutual friend James Yorkston as a “Cornish hermit and underground psychedelic freak-ball”, he’d been impressed when he saw her performing in 2009 and, out of the blue, got back in contact to see if she’d be interested in working together.

Although this mostly took place by e-mail and phone, the pair clearly developed a fruitful rapport, he retaining his experimental approach but tempering this with a more traditional structure, and she finding ways to wrap her words round the melodies. With guitarist Neill MacColl and multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John handling production duties, contributions from the likes of Simon Edwards, Alison Cotton and Kami Thompson and instrumentation that includes piano, oboe, viola, cello, accordion and Weissenborn, the album began to take shape, the songs roaming across a wide range of subjects.

Setting the tone, it opens with the watery guitar and dreamlike pastoral cor anglais and oboe-shaded sound of ‘Sing Me Your Tune’ (a instrumental reprise providing the album’s play out), the line “You were the strange melody that came fully formed to me, the picture you painted filled the space vacated” almost a summation of the working relationship. Musically, it summons up a sort of Arthur Rackham world, a landscape of ferns, dew-hung spider webs and dragonflies hovering over standing waters, an atmosphere that permeates the following ‘Hoping To Be Saved’, a visit to the beach littered with piano arpeggios about Britain’s disappearing village communities, and, indeed, much of the album.

The seaside also finds its way into the acoustic guitar and piano dream world of ‘The Honey And The Seaweed’, the lyrics shaped from the words of her late mother, Lal, found in the same 60s notebook from whence came many of the early songs for the ‘Bright Phoebus’ project. There’s another nod to the family legacy on ‘Velvet Yeller’ which interweaves samples of her late uncle Mike’s recording of the traditional ‘Tam Lin’ between Waterson’s own verses.

With a melody line at times reminiscent of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Stranger Song’, the title track explores the duality of human nature, a fight between ego and empathy, sorrow and serenity, etched with circling acoustic guitar and a wailing Jen-1000 synth that’s mirrored by Waterson’s mournful howl. If that conjures thoughts of late 60s progressive folk, so too do ‘Caught On Coattails’ and the accompanying a capella ‘Ginger Brown & Apple Green’, both of which are redolent of Pink Floyd, the former circa Piper At The Gates Of Dawn while the birdsong on the latter can’t help but recalls ‘Grantchester Meadows’ off Ummagumma. That same air of pastoral psychedelia also hangs over ‘Brighter Thinking’.

Featuring MacColl on marxophone, the dreamily lilting ‘Woolgathering Girl’ is a particular highlight, lyrically underscoring such Waterson influences as Dylan Thomas and Billie Holiday, the ghost of the latter also haunting the jazzy blues ambience of ‘Emotional Vampire,’ while the final stretch also offers the breathy, banjo-dappled intoxication of Mockingbird with its talk of “everyday déjà-vus” and the childhood nostalgia of the music hall coloured ‘Circa ’73’ with its playful Lewis Carroll-like imagery about Wendy houses, telephones made from paper cups. “stilts made from empty tins of powdered milk” and “quick brown frogs jumping over the dogs”.

Ethereal and melancholic, like its shadow play cover illustration, it conjures and transports you to a timeless world that exists just behind the veil of our perceptions, at once mysterious and unsettling, but also alluring and comforting.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Artists’ website: http://marrywaterson.com/

‘The Honey And The Seaweed’ – official video:

Marry Waterson – new album and tour

Marry Waterson - new album and tour

Marry Waterson returns with a brand new album made in collaboration with David A. Jaycock on 20th November. Entitled Two Wolves, it was recorded in May of this year and produced by guitarist Neill MacColl and multi-instrumentalist & arranger Kate St. John.

The seeds for the union were sown in 2013 when David was asked – via mutual friend and collaborator, James Yorkston – to rearrange ‘Yolk Yellow Legged’, a co-write with Yorkston taken from Marry and brother Oliver Knight’s 2011 debut The Days That Shaped Me. David had been struck by the character and warmth of Marry’s singing when he saw her performing with Yorkston in 2009. “It was earthy, dreamlike, warm, powerful and jagged. It had the capacity to be both melancholic and joyful, and it could tell a story – of course Marry Waterson could tell a story!”

When Oliver elected to take a break from music last year, Marry found herself without a musical foil (“I don’t play an instrument, my tunes are sung into existence.”) So she was intrigued when David – described by Yorkston as a “Cornish hermit and underground psychedelic freak-ball” (!) – renewed contact to see if she would be interested in working together.

Hearing David’s music was to prove revelatory.

“I felt like I had entered through a door hanging askew on one twisted hinge into a surreal world of cobwebs, all layered guitars and synths,” recalls Marry. “Sometimes it’s scary in there, but mostly it’s beguiling.” All the more so as Marry discovered that “I could sing anything into David’s tunes, the words just wrapped themselves easily around the melodies, though I had to be quite inventive sometimes to accommodate certain structures – and that gave me a different voice.”

Starting with what became ‘Sing Me Into Your Tune’ – completed in a matter of hours – Marry and David entered into an eager musical correspondence by email and by phone.

“What was coming back from Marry convinced me that we were on the right path. I felt a more tonal, but still dreamlike, surreal and at times dark sound was emerging. It was fascinating and exciting sending ideas and waiting to hear what came back. I could still experiment and be playful but always had an ear on keeping to a more traditional structure. Marry was interpreting the pieces beautifully. The lyrics were complete.  I felt we were working almost telepathically at times. Modern technology making it all possible.”

The match made, Marry went about assembling a team of musicians around her to best service the material. Having previously worked with Neill MacColl and Kate St. John on several projects including Hal Willner’s Rogue’s Gallery at Sydney Opera House, the Bright Phoebus tour and on the forthcoming Ewan MacColl tribute album Joy of Living (contributing ‘The Exile Song’), the pair were the obvious choice to produce the record, in turn enlisting the help of outstanding musicians Kami Thompson (The Rails), Michael Tanner (Plinth), Alison Cotton (The Left Outsides), Simon Edwards (Fairground Attraction) and Emma Black (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).

“Neill is another brilliant musician who really listens and gives you space,” enthuses Marry. “His contributions are so tasteful yet subtle, his playing is awesome, he’s rock solid and I feel safe with him. Kate’s arrangements are so compelling and definitive, vividly bringing these stories to life. They are both inventive and intuitive players.”

The songs themselves cover a wide range of subject material from laments about disappearing village communities (‘Hoping To Be Saved’) to the title track’s reflection on the duality of human nature. Two songs explicitly acknowledge the Waterson legacy: The words to ‘The Honey and the Seaweed’ are fashioned from an original Lal Waterson lyric, written out of love for her friend and co-writer Christine Collins and set down in the late 60’s in a book containing early Bright Phoebus songs. ‘Velvet Yeller’ meanwhile utilizes Mike Waterson’s recording of ‘Tam Lin’ to startling effect. “I got to ‘sing’ with him one more time by weaving him into this tribute, which he read before he died,” says Marry of the song.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s website: http://marrywaterson.com/

Tour Dates

25th November          York                            The Basement

26th November          London                       The Green Note 

29th November          Stroud                        The Convent  

30th November          Brighton                     The Greys 

01st December           Birmingham               Kitchen Garden Cafe 

02nd December          Sheffield                     The Greystones 

03rd December          Halifax                        Arden Road Social Club

The Waterboys – An Appointment with Mr. Yeats

‘An Appointment with Mr Yeats’ sees the words of W B Yeats, one of Ireland’s greatest literary sons, merged with the music of The Waterboys, one of Britain and Ireland’s greatest rock bands, in a truly unique and ambitious musical undertaking. The album features an extended Waterboys line-up including fiddle maestro Steve Wickham, new Irish singer Katie Kim, multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John, Flook flautist Sarah Allen and Catalan trombonist Blaise Margail. ‘An Appointment with Mr Years’ draws on fourteen of Yeats’ poems, spanning both famous and lesser known works, from the wry to the romantic, the political to the mythological, all invigorated with the energy and exuberance of The Waterboys.

The project has long been a passion for Waterboys vocalist Mike Scott, who first delivered a new dimension to Yeats’ poetry in 1988, when he wrote a musical accompaniment for the classic poem The Stolen Child, during the making of the Waterboys seminal album ‘Fisherman’s Blues’.

Five years later he set another Yeats poem to music, Love and Death, which appeared on their ‘Dream Harder’ album. Over the years, Scott has been quietly crafting a wealth of material similarly based on the writings of Yeats. A number of these were performed by him at the Abbey Theatre during the Yeats International Festival in 1991, but most have remained in Scott’s private songbook awaiting the right vehicle. An Appointment with Mr. Yeats is that long-awaited context.

Scott’s love of literature is firmly embedded throughout the work of The Waterboys. He has also put the writings of Robert Burns, James Stephens, Kenneth Grahame and George MacDonald to song. Speaking on his literary influences and loves, Scott explains: “I grew up in a house full of books so literature and language have always been important to me. Working with other peoples’ words is something that comes as natural to me as working with my own. In a way it’s even more immediate; I’ve always found writing music an easier process than the writing of lyrics, and setting words of the quality of Yeats’ to music is an enormous privilege and treat.”

An Appointment with Mr. Yeats is a unique and memorable opportunity for lovers of great music and great literature to celebrate the union of song and word in one spectacular record.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

See the website for more details: http://www.mikescottwaterboys.com/