Posted: December 29, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra share new song "Ella Mary Leather"

We got our first glimpse of the forthcoming collaboration between Scottish singer/songwriter James Yorkston and Sweden’s genre-hopping Second Hand Orchestra last month, when they released the single “Struggle.” Now, with the album The Wide, Wide River just a month away, they’ve released a new single and video. “Ella Mary Leather” is an improbable-sounding name, but she was a real person – an English folk song collector of the early 20th century. Yorkston clearly likes the way the name sounds (“Ella Mary Leather I regret ya”), since the actual Leather is not the subject of the song. Instead we get a story of mixed emotions – most clearly, regret and nostalgia – and a tale driven by insistent piano and acoustic guitar, with just the right mix of emotions in the strings. “Ella Mary Leather” was a Herefordshire based folk song collector in the early 20th Century, but James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra (JY and TSHO)’s song is not about her. Yorkston explains: “No, it’s not about Ella Mary Leather. I am just using her lyrical name as a mask, to protect the innocent…” Over a wealth of percussion, violin, nyckelharpa, Yorkston plays buoyant piano as he sings us a story about a friend from many years ago.

The video was shot in Stockholm; the album comes out on January 22nd. Watch for Yorkston and the band doing a remote live set for our Soundcheck series around that time.  The Wide, Wide River is a soothing, warm and sublime listen, whilst also highlighting Yorkston’s skills for song writing, collaboration and as a musical conductor. The album takes in past loves, advancing age and friends, now gone, whilst also containing some of the most sanguine songs Yorkston has ever made.

James Yorkston & The Second Hand Orchestra – “Ella Mary Leather,” taken from forthcoming album ‘The Wide, Wide River,’ out 22nd January 2021 on Domino Record Co.

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