Friday 24 January 2020

WATCH: Sam Lee - 'Lay This Body Down'

A press release that cites Cosmo Sheldrake as appearing on the track? Consider me sold already. This is about as good as folk gets. Nest Collective founder, Mercury Prize nominee and renowned song collector Sam Lee is set to release the brand new album Old Wow on January 31st via Cooking Vinyl. He's just shared the single Lay This Body Down, the video for which features choreography from London's Ballet Rambert.

Talking about the origins of the track, Sam explains that "themes of death and renewal are central [...] it has been adapted from the singing of an old ferry boatman in the 1860s, who rowed the collector of this song across the water in Port Royal, a set of islands in South Carolina. It was described in the notes as being in the dead of night, with one hooded oarsmen guided only by a small oil lamp chanting this song as he rowed. The similarity to Charon the ferryman of Hades carrying the dead souls across the Styx in greek mythology was not lost on the collector. This song touches deep into that sense of parting from the realm of the living. It speaks of final journeys, our returning to the soil and the eventual confrontation and acceptance of death that we all one day make." 

The new album was recorded at RAK Studios and Studio 355, produced by Suede's Bernard Butler. Alongside Butler's electric guitar, somewhat a first for a Sam Lee record, the album features vocals from Elizabeth Frazer (Cocteau Twins), Cosmo Sheldrake, Dizraeli and Caoimhin O Raghallaigh (The Gloaming). The record is devoted to the natural world - Sam has extended this dedication to many years as a passionate conservationist and environmental campaigner, having recently collaborated with Extinction Rebellion and Music Declares Emergency, including a contribution to the recent climate anthology Letters To The Earth.

Sam heads out on a UK tour in just over a week, dates below, tickets here!

31st Jan: Cluny, Newcastle
1st Feb: Night and Day Café, Manchester
3rd: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
4th: City Varieties, Leeds
5th: Glee, Birmingham
6th: Phoenix, Exeter
7th: St Petroc's Church, Bodmin
8th: Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
10th: Junction 2, Cambridge
13th: St George's, Brighton
15th: Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury
16th: Open, Norwich
17th: EartH, London
19th: St George's, Bristol
21st: The Gate, Cardiff

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