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.
We are very excited to premiere Sing Me Into Your Tune from the album which is also our Song of the Day. They had these words to share on the song:
Marry: “The subject of longing fulfilled without any concessions or coercions. This was the first guitar piece David sent me. I loved it instantly. I sang my words straight into his tune and sent it back within hours. It’s as you hear it on the album with the addition of Neill MacColl’s guitar. David and Neill sound fantastic together on this.”
David: “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 felt we were working almost telepathically at times. Modern technology making it all possible.”
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 & David entered into an eager musical correspondence by email and by phone.
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.
Two Wolves was mixed and mastered by Calum Malcolm (Sandi Thom, Lau, John Tavener) – last but by no means least in a dream team.
Marry Waterson has featured regularly on FRUK both as part of the duo with Oliver Knight mentioned above and more recently as the creator of some most wonderful animated videos which has placed her work in high demand. We have previously featured her animations for the likes of The Furrow Collective, Bill Wells’ The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland, James Yorkston, Kathryn Williams, Emily Portman and more. Marry also curated the wonderful Teach Me To Be A Summer’s Morning, a beautiful tribute to her late mother Lal Waterson which was a Featured Album of the month (read our interview here).
David A. Jaycock has also featured in our pages and on our playlist, both as a member of Big Eye Family Players and solo. His 2013 album ‘Ten Songs‘ featured in our Best Albums of 2013.
Sing Me Into Your Tune is available as a digital download now.