Lori Watson Johnnie Armstrang single cover 2017

I am delighted to share Johnnie Armstrang, the first monthly single of new project Yarrow. I’ll be releasing a new acoustic single every month and other bits and pieces of the evolving Yarrow project. So please get in touch and let me know what you think, or share any memories or ideas that the music sparks off for you. And if you find some value in this work, please pass it on.

The single is available here: www.loriwatson.bandcamp.com and at leading digital music services.




Johnnie Armstrang is the first monthly digital single release of the Yarrow Acoustic Sessions, part of Lori Watson’s latest project Yarrow.

Johnnie Armstrang, border reiver, was hanged in 1530 for theft (without trial). Watson says: “This traditional ballad, Child 169, expresses layers of betrayal: a mark of the system of law in the Borders in those days. The acoustic single is a stripped back version featuring my brother Innes Watson’s brilliant guitar work, it’s similar to one we recorded for the Scotland’s Clans television series.”

Credits: song – traditional arr. Lori Watson and Innes Watson; vocal – Lori Watson; guitar – Innes Watson; recording and mix – Duncan Lyall at Red Deer Studios; mastering – Nick Cooke at Nim Mastering; illustration – Jennifer Austin; video (forthcoming) – Ruth Barrie Vs Red Deer


Dark and brooding, windswept, contoured, joyful, turbulent, sparse: Yarrow is an evolving collection of traditional and original songs and new music by Lori Watson.

Yarrow is an exploration of human connections to nature and one another, through time, inspired by the Yarrow valley in the Scottish Borders. The project centers on the development of a contemporary album that carries these themes beyond conventional folk sounds, and as part of the exploration a series of acoustic singles will be released (Yarrow Acoustic Sessions).“With Yarrow taking place over a couple of years, I can give more time and space to allowing the music to develop towards the final album and share the experience as we go in the monthly acoustic singles: so yeah there’s an element of risk in that I don’t quite know what’s going to evolve.”

“I’m interested in unfinished works and fragments, whether traditional or original. They’ve always been inspiring starting points for me. In Yarrow I’m creating and interpreting fragments; crafting something that expresses the connections between us and our environment spanning hundreds of years: and then it’s filtered by what inspires and resonates with me right now.”


Scots Singer of the Year, Lori Watson is a fiddle player, singer and composer. She has drawn on the rich tradition of the Scottish Borders throughout her artistic life, including experimental works and a PhD thesis and creative folio exploring innovation and contemporary traditional music practice.

A folk musician with considerable pedigree, Lori is touring and recording with Boreas, Iain Morrison and a range of other solo and collaborative projects, and has six albums in circulation, including two critically acclaimed albums with her trio Rule of Three. But this is Lori’s first significant song work and she aims to let us in on the process as well as the finished products.