The Waterboys: Appointment With Mr Yeats

The Waterboys
Appointment With Mr Yeats

September 27, 2011
Proper Records UK

“While these are thrillingly alive with Scott’s undaunted belief in rock’s majestic possibilities, he reminds himself to have fun as well.”Uncut

“Like Eddi Reader’s Sings the Songs Of Robert Burns, this is bard bigging-up of note.”Mojo

‘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.

Of this magical project that has been more than twenty years in the making, Scott says: “Since 1991, when I sang a few Yeats interpretations onstage at the Abbey as part of a festival, I’ve had the vision of a whole show and an album using Yeats’ words as song lyrics. Over the years I’ve returned again and again to my book of The Complete Poems and have slowly built up a repertoire. And I should stress these are songs – rock’n’roll, pop, psychedelic and roots songs – not recitations. My purpose isn’t to treat Yeats as a museum piece, but to connect with the soul of the poems – as they appear to me – then go wherever the music in my head suggests; and that means some surprising places.”

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.

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