In late 2015, Marry Waterson, along with guitarist David A. Jaycock, released Two Wolves. It was a Featured Album of the Month on Folk Radio UK and also made our end-of-year ‘Best of’ list.
…a superb album, one of the year’s best, with each of its songs brimming with nuance and depth. Although covering some deeply personal subjects, Marry’s skills as a singer, lyricist and, above all, a story-teller bring a very human touch, enabling the songs to maintain their focus and intensity without overwhelming the listener. David’s compositions are beguiling and inventive, providing the ideal musical foil, both for Marry’s compelling voice and Kate’s subtle arrangements. Read the Full Review Here.
We weren’t alone in those thoughts as the album made two nominations in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for ‘Best Duo’ and ‘Best Original Track’ for ‘Sing Me Into Your Tune.’
For those that missed Marry and David’s earlier tour dates this year you now have a double-chance of catching them as Marry Waterson heads out on tour in the UK supporting her cousin Eliza Carthy throughout November, along with guitarist David A. Jaycock. They have also announced that they will embark upon a headline tour in February next year.
Inheriting the legacy of one of British folk’s most revered families, it took a long time for Marry to step centre stage. Although she had made her recording debut on her mother Lal and aunt Norma Waterson’s A True Hearted Girl back in 1977 and later under the name The Waterdaughters formed an occasional singing partnership with them and Eliza Carthy, appearing on numerous Watersons and Waterson / Carthy recordings to boot – it wasn’t until two crucial shows in 2007 that the idea of making music herself really took hold.
That year Marry and brother Oliver Knight appeared with the Waterson family at a special Royal Albert Hall concert entitled A Mighty River of Song, and again later the same year at the BBC Electric Proms Concert Once in a Blue Moon: A Tribute to Lal Waterson in which they both played key roles as performers and curators.
Encouraged, in 2011 came the pair’s hugely acclaimed debut The Days That Shaped Me (read our review here). Nominated for a BBC Folk Award, the record – born out of circumstance rather than design, and in part homage to mother Lal – was full of beautiful, evocative, mysterious songs that included collaborations with Kathryn Williams, James Yorkston and Eliza.
That album, and it’s 2012 follow-up Hidden (again as Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight) showcased Marry’s highly original and distinctly English performance style, style that owes much to the folk tradition, without being beholden to it.
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.
In his review of David’s 2013 ‘Ten Songs’ (Static Caravan), Thomas opened his Folk Radio UK review with words that backed up that psychedelic reference:
Ten Songs is undoubtedly a psychedelic album. But as far as psychedelia goes, it’s more Edward Lear than Timothy Leary. It is decidedly English and ostensibly gentle, dabbling in the music box Victoriana of Syd Barrett, the Beatles’ Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite and Lewis Carroll’s stories. Read the full review here.
David had been struck by the character and warmth of Marry’s singing when he had seen 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 could tell a story – of course, Marry Waterson could tell a story!”
The match made, Marry & David entered into an eager musical correspondence by email and phone. Says David of the writing process, “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. Marry was interpreting the pieces beautifully. I felt we were working almost telepathically at times.”
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.
In short…we love them…don’t miss’em!
TOUR DATES (with Eliza Carthy):
Nov 03: THE APEX Bury St. Edmunds
Nov 04: St Mary in the Castle, Hastings
Nov 05: Islington Assembly Hall London
Nov 06: Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
Nov 11: Salisbury City Hall, Salisbury
Nov 12: Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
Nov 13: Baths Hall, Scunthorpe
Nov 20: Whitby Pavilion, Whitby
Nov 25: Colston Hall, Bristol
Nov 26: Anvil, Basingstoke
Nov 27: Glee Club, Nottingham
FEB 2017 HEADLINE TOUR:
Feb 15: New Adelphi Club, Hull
Feb 16: The Marwood, Brighton
Feb 17: St Peters by the Waterfront, Ipswich
Feb 18: House Concert, Bristol
Feb 21: Glad Café, Glasgow
Feb 22: Cluny 2, Newcastle
Feb 23: Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Feb 24: Kingskerswell Parish Church, Newton Abbot
Feb 25: Folk House, Bristol
Feb 28: The Lexington, London (with support from Michele Stodart)
Mar 04: The Tin at the Coal Vaults, Coventry