Ys (pronounced /ˈiːs/) is the second album by Joanna Newsom. It was released by Drag City on November 14, 2006. The album was named for the mythical city of Ys, supposedly built on the coast of Brittany, France, and later swallowed by the ocean.
The album features full orchestra arrangements by Van Dyke Parks on four of the five tracks. Parks also contributes accordion. Newsom's harp and vocals were recorded by Steve Albini and the orchestra was recorded by Tim Boyle. Newsom and Parks produced the album and it was mixed by Jim O'Rourke. The recording process was completely analog, on two 24-track tape recorders. The music was mixed to tape and mastered at Abbey Road Studios.
Bass guitar is contributed by Lee Sklar, and electric guitar by jazz guitarist Grant Geissman. Don Heffington played percussion and Matt Cartsonis played mandolin and banjo. Bill Callahan provides backing vocals on the song "Only Skin", while on "Emily" these are sung by Joanna's sister Emily Newsom, for whom the song is named.
The album, particularly the length of the songs and orchestral arrangements, was inspired by the 1971 Roy Harper album Stormcock. In September 2007, Harper supported Joanna Newsom at her Royal Albert Hall performance, playing Stormcock in its entirety. Newsom was also impressed by Van Dyke Parks' album Song Cycle, and asked him to collaborate on Ys after listening to that 1968 record.
On her fall 2007 tour, Newsom performed the album in its entirety, backed by a 29-piece orchestra.