Marry Waterson – an essential part of the fabric of folk history in England – and Adrian Crowley– one of Ireland’s most acclaimed talents – collaborate for the first time on ‘Cuckoo Storm,’ a distinctive and powerfully lyrical album of 11 original songs produced with Jim Barr (Portishead).


The ‘Cuckoo Storm’ might never have been, were it not for a social media post Crowley wrote on a wintery late-night walk in a quiet neighbourhood of Dublin during lockdown. Struck by Waterson’s previous album ‘Death Had Quicker Wings Than Love’ (co-written with David A Jaycock), he wanted to mark the moment and pressed ‘send’ into the ether with no way of knowing what would follow. Drawn to his voice and seeing a kindred spirit in his poetic lyrics, Waterson was touched by his message and responded by asking if he would be interested in working together. His answer was a resounding ‘yes.’


Initially, they began by building a collection of songs and from that it became clear an album was in the offing and the seeds of ‘Cuckoo Storm’ were sewn. Waterson and Crowley found their voices melded easily to form something rich and intimate. Their creative roles exchanged fluidly, whether lyric and or melody-writer, enjoying the excitement of another colouring in their work: a delightful, dopamine rush, which pushed each artist on to create something that couldn’t exist outside that particular partnership.


‘Cuckoo Storm’ opens with ‘Undear Sphere’ a song written by Waterson but which evolved in the studio when she, Crowley and Jim Barr (on double bass) played it for the first time. It was composed using the ‘blackout’ technique, as was ‘Distant Music’, written by Waterson when skimming the pages of a church jumble sale book (divine inspiration indeed!). Marry blacked out parts of the original text until only certain words or phrases remained, connecting motivational words to create an entirely new work. Crowley had been working independently on a melody that just happened to fit her creation: a happy accident.


Crowley’s deliciously dark ‘Heavy Wings’ was inspired by the story of ‘L’Inconnue de la Seine’ (The unknown woman of the River Seine) – a beautiful woman whose body was pulled from the River Seine in the late 1880s and whose face was cast into a death mask – and features the plaintive sound of trumpet and saxophone evoking the soundtrack to Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Lift to the Scaffold) by Miles Davis. ‘One Foot of Silver, One Foot of Gold’ was a line written by Waterson’s mother to which Marry set her melody. She explains, “My mum Lal (Waterson) wrote the lyrics, ‘One foot of silver one foot of gold’ as a tribute to the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Somehow these magnificent words never made it into song, so I picked up where she left off and wrote a melody. As I sang, a little garden bird came to the windowsill as if listening. I hoped it was a happy augury as a lump came to my throat and I had to stop mid recording to cope with the idea it might be her returning to say ‘what are you doing to my song, you bugger?’”.


‘Lucky Duck for Grown-ups’ came from favoured lyrics Waterson had jotted in notebooks on various train journeys to recording sessions and gigs, to which Crowley now purrs his way through in the final version. ‘Kicking Up The Dust’, a song about hitchhiking, harks back to Crowley’s teenage years growing up in rural west of Ireland. As he reveals, “As a teenager this was how I got around…and sometimes I’d even go across the country this way. Long periods of reflection went hand in hand with these solo journeys…the humming really makes me smile”.


‘Cuckoo Storm’ is a deeply compelling album. A serendipitous collaboration that has resulted in a collection of 11 beautifully crafted songs, sung by two voices that are a powerful match. Waterson’s brilliantly distinctive voice is underpinned by Crowley’s rich baritone and together it’s an intoxicating mix.


Joining Marry Waterson (vocals) and Adrian Crowley (vocals, piano, electric guitar, mellotron, harmonium, music box clarinet, marxophone, synth) on Cuckoo Storm are Jim Barr (Portishead) bass, lap-steel guitar; Pete Judge (Get The Blessing) trumpet, flugelhorn; Jake McMurchie (Get The Blessing) sax; James Gow, cello; Seán Mac Erlaine bass clarinet; Lisa Dowdall viola d’amore and Rob Pemberton on drums.


About Marry Waterson


Marry Waterson comes from an illustrious singing family from the Northeast of England. She made her first appearance when she was just 12 years old on the album ‘A True Hearted Girl’ (Topic Records) with her mother, Lal, and aunt, Norma Waterson. Although there are echoes of her mother’s singular voice, Marry’s is as unique and daring as they come. Often collaborating with various writers, musicians, and producers, she stretches the boundaries not only of folk but of songwriting itself. Waterson has been releasing music on One Little Independent Records since 2010, with her debut album, ‘The Days That Shaped Me’ receiving widespread praise, including a nomination for the 2012 BBC 2 Folk Award.  In partnership with the Barbican in 2013, Waterson curated a tour revisiting Lal & Mike Waterson’s landmark 1972 folk-rock album, ‘Bright Phoebus’, performing alongside family, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley and more. Also a talented artist and filmmaker, Marry designed and produced ‘Teach Me to Be a Summer’s Morning’, a book and CD celebrating the works of Lal, released on Fledg’ling Records. Waterson collaborated with guitarist, David A. Jaycock and producers, Neill MacColl and Kate St. John, and in 2015 released her third album, ‘Two Wolves’, which was nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. This was followed by ‘Death Had Quicker Wings Than Love’, released in 2017 and produced by Portishead’s Adrian Utley. Her fifth album, ‘A Window To The Other Ways’, was co-written with award winning singer Emily Barker in 2019. Most recently, Waterson made up one third of Hack-Poets Guild (with Nathaniel Mann and Lisa Knapp), who in 2022 released ‘Blackletter Garland’, inspired by historic broadside ballads found in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.


About Adrian Crowley


Adrian Crowley’s powerfully emotive, complex and contemplative songs recall the likes of Scott Walker, Ivor Cutler, Lou Reed and Nick Cave, but the potency of Crowley’s rich baritone voice and haunting lyrical narratives, amid settings that alternate sweeping sonic majesty with ghostly starkness, is uniquely his own. To date, he has released nine albums. The most recent, ‘The Watchful Eye Of The Stars’, was produced by John Parish (PJHarvey, Aldous Harding, Sparklehorse) and was met with widespread acclaim. The album saw Crowley touring extensively around Europe and the UK. A song from the album was shortlisted for RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards for best original song. Since the release, he has recorded sessions for New York radio station. WNYC and WFMU. Legendary show New Sounds at WNYC, New York placed ‘The Watchful Eye Of The Stars’ in their top 10 albums of 2021. Crowley has recorded with artists such as Lankum, Brigid Mae Power, Lisa Hannigan, Crash Ensemble and Thomas Bartlett, among others. Adrian Crowley grew up in Galway and now calls Dublin home.


Album credits


Illustrations by Andreea Dumuta

Design by Pete Manley

Recorded by Jim Barr At J & J Studios, Bristol and by Adrian Crowley at home in Dublin

Mixed by Jim Barr

Mastering and additional mixing by Seán Mac Erlaine
Produced by Jim Barr / Marry Waterson / Adrian Crowley




  1. Undear Sphere
  2. The Leviathan
  3. Watching The Starlings
  4. Kicking Up The Dust
  5. Lovers In The Waves
  6. Heavy Wings
  7. Lucky Duck For Grown Ups
  8. One Foot Of Silver, One Foot Of Gold
  9. Distant Music
  10. Cuckoo Storm
  11. The Trembling Cup
25 oktober 2023
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