Celebrated folk singer Marry Waterson is heading out on tour in the UK supporting her cousin Eliza Carthy throughout November, along with guitarist David A. Jaycock whom with she collaborated to write and release 2015’s critically acclaimed album Two Wolves. The pair have also announced that they will embark upon a headline tour in February next year.

Having enjoyed roaring success with Two Wolves, which was produced by guitarist Neil MacColl and Kate St. John, the duo toured extensively at the beginning of this year supporting Richard Hawley. The album garnered praise from The Guardian, The Independent, Q, Mojo, Metro, fROOTS, R2 and Songlines, and was nominated for two folk awards from BBC Radio 2.

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. 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.

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.

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 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

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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