MF Tomlinson – ‘Mary’

MF Tomlinson covers Big Thief’s ‘Mary’

MF Tomlinson - Mary
MF Tomlinson image via Andrea Zvadova

MF Tomlinson has also announced a special edition vinyl of his universally acclaimed 2023 album We Are Still Wild Horses – limited to 100 copies, each with hand-numbered unique lino cut prints by Alex Mackenzie.

The release of ‘Mary’ follows Tomlinson’s recent run of support tours in the UK and Europe with American heavyweights Geese and TORRES, respectively, and signals the impending follow-up to We Are Still Wild Horses. MF Tomlinson’s reimagining of the Big Thief staple was painstakingly crafted one instrument at a time. Adrianne Lenker’s powerful imagery, delivered through Tomlinson’s singular baritone, weaves through brushed drums and deft piano strokes, building to a cathartic middle section complete with a stunning violin/flute intertwining solo.

Speaking to the beauty of what it means to be alive, this orchestrated new version of ‘Mary’ was born from Tomlinson’s (in his own words) “burning need to create an arrangement that was as big as it made me feel the first time I heard it. I felt it was echoing in a vast and unreal space, the belly of the whale, like being thrown around, carried away – set free, like smashing yourself apart with a sledgehammer.”

Speaking on the inspiration behind recording the cover and its meaning to him, Tomlinson shared:

“Since the first moment I heard ‘Mary,’ I have wanted to make this piece. Over the past year the MFs and I have been recording a new body of work and recording Mary has been a key part of the discovery of what that album is – from its themes of memory and emotional impetus to the production style and sonic landscape we’ve been engaging with.

I first heard Big Thief’s Mary whilst on tour with Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever. Late night driving, hyperfocused on the road appearing and disappearing in the narrow headlights, I was swallowed up by the quiet and immense power of the piece – an enormous turning wheel of emotion that summons your earliest and most fundamental places. It just felt fucking huge and at the same time incredibly close and tender. That feeling never left me, and so here we are with this recording.”

‘Mary’ is out now.

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