The Waterboys return next week with their first new album in four years, the 14-track An Appointment with Mr. Yeats, which features songs bandleader Mike Scott created from the lyrics of Irish poet W.B. Yeats for the stage show of the same name that he and his bandmates performed in Ireland and Britain in 2010 and earlier this year.
Produced by Scott and Waterboys bassist Marc Arciero, the album is due out on CD, double vinyl and MP3 on Sept. 19 in Europe and will receive a U.S. release in 2012. Joining Scott and Arciero on the album are all the musicians who performed the Mr. Yeats concerts: Steve Wickham (fiddle), Katie Kim (vocals), James Hallawell (keyboards), Kate St John (sax, oboe, cor anglais), Blaise Margail (trombone), Ralph Salmins (drums), Sarah Allen (flute) and Joe Chester (guitar).
In an interview about the project posted on the Waterboys’ site, Scott explains that the genesis of the Mr. Yeats project dates back to the recording of 1988’s Fisherman’s Blues, for which he set Yeats’ poem “The Stolen Child” to music. He explains:
“That proved to me that I could set Yeats to music successfully. I had the fuller concert idea — that came before the album concept — in 1991 when I was one of several artists on the bill of a Yeats tribute at tthe Abbey Theatre in Dublin, which, as you probably know, Yeats had founded in 1904. Specially for the show, I set four more Yeats poems to music expecting the other artists to do the same. I was even worried some of them might have picked the same ones as me. But as it turned out I was the only person who did any Yeats material. I can still remember standing in the wings of the Abbey stage thinking that Yeats deserved a whole show dedicated to his poems. That was the first glimmer of the idea, though I didn’t realise then I’d end up doing it with my own band.”
To preview the album, Scott has posted three full tracks — “Sweet Dancer,” “White Birds” and “September 1913” — that can all be streamed below. The Guardian also will begin streaming the album in its entirety on Friday, and Scott will be online between 3 and 4 p.m. GMT to discuss the project on the newspaper’s streaming page.
UPDATE 9/16/11: You can now stream the full album via The Guardian, and see Mike Scott’s comments on each track, plus a discussion of the album on the page’s comments section.
Tracklist: The Waterboys, An Appointment with Mr. Yeats
1. “The Hosting Of The Shee”
2. “Song Of Wandering Aengus”
3. “News For The Delphic Oracle”
4. “A Full Moon In March”
5. “Sweet Dancer”
6. “White Birds”
7. “The Lake Isle Of Innisfree”
8. “Mad As The Mist And Snow”
9. “Before The World Was Made”
10. “September 1913”
11. “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death”
13. “Let The Earth Bear Witness”
14. “The Faery’s Last Song”
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- Video: The Waterboys’ Mike Scott talks about ‘In a Special Place,’ making ‘This Is the Sea’
- Mike Scott releasing demos of Waterboys’ ‘This Is The Sea’ as ‘In A Special Place’
- Video: Waterboys play ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ live on Irish radio at Electric Picnic
- The Waterboys’ Mike Scott sharing unreleased songs, rarities, new tracks online