Thursday 9 March 2023

WATCH: Amy May Ellis - 'Wild Geese'

Well, this is completely and utterly delightful! With her debut album Over Ling and Bell (12th May) on the way, Amy May Ellis has shared second single Wild Geese. The track is available via Lost Map Records as part of their PostMap Club postcard subscription (which sounds equally delightful) as well as digitally. This one brings together a couple of my loves - folk music and geese. I'm entirely the target market for this one and I am smitten.  

Amy describes that the track was "inspired by Mary Oliver's poem 'Wild Geese', and a man called William Lishman, and a flock of geese that flew over my house in Bristol. The day I saw the geese I had opened my window to try and hear them calling but they were too far away. Later, when my dad called from Yorkshire, he told me he had also seen a flock, though they had been so close he said he could have reached out and touched their wings. There is an ancient magic to the way geese retain and pass down their migratory routs. The arrow formation in which they fly adds to this magic a sense they are trying to guide us somehow."  

Amy was raised in the North York Moors, and the record is inspired by centuries of human habitation there, and was written in a secluded farmhouse in the Moors, mostly alone but sometimes with friends. Amy shares: "it's named after two types of heather that grow on the Moors. When I started writing for this album I went for walks with my uncle around the dale and unearthed a whole load of history which rooted itself in the songs. I'd always thought of the Moors as wild, but during that time I started to see how they had been tamed by everyone who had lived on them. From the miners, farmers and peat diggers to the Mesolithic hunters who settled on the hilltops.

The history of the Moors led me to think about the taming of the wild things and everything we have done as humans to gain a sense of control over our surroundings and our lives. I wondered what we have lost with this taming. A lot of the songs are about illness, an inevitable product of a world where rest is a privilege and crisis is a constant. During the making and recording of the album, I had periods of feeling very lost and paralysingly scared. I found solace in ideas around navigating rather than taming wildness, and became obsessed with maps. I read Nan Shepherd's 'The Living Mountain', Robert Macfarlane's 'The Old Ways' and dipped a toe into various philosophies. I still feel lost sometimes, but I've started finding things to orientate myself with." 

Over Ling and Bell is due for release on 12th May - pre-order here.

Amy May Ellis is touring the UK through May - tickets and info here.

Follow Amy May Ellis - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

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