A star of 08 no doubt.
Folk music and its related genres have rarely been more popular or vibrant in the UK than they have today and although there are a number of acts who have developed a strong following in recent years, James Yorkston must be regarded as one of the leading lights. Each passing album consolidates and further enhances his reputation and as his latest UK tour came to a halt downstairs in Stereo in Glasgow on a bitterly cold night, the entertainment on show was more than enough to make the patrons forget all about the weather outside.
Yorkston may not be cited as being one of the more upbeat artists of our generation so the request to launch into a happy song was met with some dismay until he launched into ‘The Happy Song’ by The Aliens, another bunch of Fife troubadours and this livened up the crowd considerably, especially one harlot to the far right of the stage. Mind you, this over exuberance was soon halted when a few tracks later; she attempted to clap along with the music. She was so badly interacting that Yorkston actually halted proceedings and jokingly remarked “if you are going to clap along can you at least be in time” which elicited much laughter from the audience and showed Yorkston to be a man who had the crowd in the palm of his hands.
The music may not be uplifting but Yorkston proved himself to be a humorous and chatty front man, regularly interspersing the in between songs with a light hearted and carefree style that would put many more accessible acts to shame. It helps having the confidence of a strong back catalogue and last night of the tour fever was particularly evident amongst the musicians but the mood of the evening was greatly enhanced by the positive tone and attitude.
Forthcoming single ‘Tortoise Regrets Hare’ was warmly received and whilst it wont be a contender for the Christmas number one spot (if only…) it does show the depth of songs contained on Yorkstons latest release ‘When The Haar Rolls In’. ‘Midnight Feat’ was another track from the album which featured and benefited from the additional members on stage. Yorkstons vocals are powerful and more than capable of driving a song but when he interplays with others, a richness comes through and he is comfortable in allowing others to take the spotlight if it benefits the song.
With two big London shows to come before the end of the year, 2008 is not quite finished for James Yorkston but with his last tour of the year drawing to a close, the man can look back on yet another successful time and hopefully look ahead to becoming an even bigger draw in 2009.