A public appearance from Elizabeth Fraser was seemingly a rare thing up until recently, like when she surprised her fellow countryman Shirley Manson backstage at a Garbage concert, or when she performed live to a tiny selection of guests at a private event.
This changed, however, earlier this year, when Massive Attack re-enlisted Fraser to join them on tour in celebration of their seminal album Mezzanine. This classic trip-hop record featured the collaborative track “Teardrop”—a song which was originally released in 1998, and rumored to have been written by Fraser about the late Jeff Buckley.
Since the dissolution of Cocteau Twins in 1997, fans have long awaited a solo album from Fraser, who made a name for herself as the Scottish band’s legendary soprano throughout the band’s eight studio albums.
In the 22 years since the band’s demise, however, her musical output has been less than a handful of new tracks, and also a bit of soundtrack work—most notably for the score of Peter Jackson’s Lord of Rings Trilogy.
Now, Fraser has emerged again performing a live in-studio performance with British folk singer Sam Lee. Together the pair join Suede veteran Bernard Butler, who masterfully produces the duet at London’s famed RAK Studios.
The result of this collaboration is breathtaking.
Watch “The Moon Shines Bright” below:
Here is Sam Lee’s description of the track:
This adaptation of the ancient traditional folk song The Moon Shines Bright came as a ‘gift’ from Sam’s good friend, the 93-year-old English Gypsy, Freda Black, who offered him a song to take on pilgrimage. It is also influenced by a Zuni prayer for greeting the sunrise and encouraging us to experience wonder in the here and now. This meaningful and pertinent track weaves together ‘messages of devotion from different lands to communicate the impermanence of life and the importance of recognising the sacred’. Elizabeth Fraser’s (Cocteau Twins) vocals inject a haunting reminder into The Moon Shines Bright of the beauty and fragility of life, using a fragment of lyrics from a traditional Scottish folk song ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’. Sam says ‘To me, the song is about the importance of being connected. In a time when religion and faith are in question in our western lives, its simplicity of form brings us back to the bare bones of essential life experience and is a call for us to pay attention to the bigger things in this world; “for our time is not long, time’s an old folksong”.
“The Moon Shines Bright” is featured on Sam Lee’s forthcoming new album ‘Old Wow’ released Jan 31st 2020.
Pre-order here: https://www.samleesong.co.uk
Tickets for Sam Lee’s UK tour in Jan/Feb 2020 here: https://www.samleesong.co.uk/live