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Jamie

James Yorkston & The Athletes

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James Yorkston

Play the Lemon Tree on 21st October, with the 3rd JY album Year of the Leopard released on Domino in late September

James Yorkston

plus support

Saturday 21st October

Doors Open 9pm/Support 9.30pm

9 (6 concessions and Regulars)

Box Office: 01224 642230

www.jamesyorkston.co.uk

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Fair play to you Offramp getting the tickets so soon given I hadn't included the link yet!

It is http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=TCOMUK&organ_val=22345&schedule=list

and here's a preview of the new album

James Yorkston

The Year Of The Leopard

Once youve heard this arresting, intimate and subtle album, you may find yourself wondering how to categorise it. Of course, you may do the sensible thing and not care how it should be categorised - which suits James Yorkston just fine: his first album, the lush and rousing Moving Up Country was often labelled alt-country, his second, the sparse, meditative Just Beyond The River, tended to get corralled under the term new folk, neither appellation seemed accurate. His stunning third album, The Year Of the Leopard, confounds categories once again. Simply, Its an uplifting wee beauty. If theres a traditional side to it, its following the tradition of individual singer-songwriter albums which conjure and inhabit a genre which lasts just as long as the needles in the groove.

Id love it if people had the same response to this album as I do to, say, Johnny Cashs American Recordings III , or Jacques Brel, or Lal Watersons own songs, or that amazing new Scott Walker album - music that stands in its own world music that isnt in a crazed rush to exist solely in one genre says Yorkston. We might add to that list the hushed, ineffable bits of John Martyns One World, Van Morrisons St. Dominics Preview or Talk Talks Spirit of Eden. That last one connects directly with this album, because The Year Of the Leopard was produced by former Talk Talk member Paul Webb, alongside the bands acclaimed engineer, Phill Brown. Yorkston approached the team after hearing their understated but enthralling work on Out Of Season, Webbs Rustin Man album with Beth Gibbons [Portishead].

I really liked how that was modern sounding but not bright, old-school but not old-fashioned, warm but not too cosy, and I knew that would suit these songs, says Yorkston. The Year of the Leopard features Jamess own, very spare arrangements, blending his extreme-close-up vocals with an acoustic guitar, electric piano, clarinets, violin and concertina and a gently thrumming rhythm section, which Webb and Brown captured with some nice old valve mics and analogue tape. Paul brought great enthusiasm to the record. Hes a real believer, says James.

Once again, the music was recorded with his trusty sidekicks Reuben [accordion/concertina], Doogie [double bass], Faisal [percussion/lap steel], and Jon [fiddle] who accompanied James on both his previous albums. Also singing with James is the wonderful HMS Ginafore, from the Fence Collective.

Though the recording of the album was fairly swift, the run-up to it lasted almost a year. It took a year of not panicking, says Yorkston. I put in weeks of turning up to the rehearsal space and just playing guitar, or learning traditional tunes, when suddenly a song or a lyric would emerge. Theres actually a lot of spontaneity about it, because I concentrated on those songs that came to me quickly, unexpectedly, that feel like something you already know.

James Yorkstons musical background has encompassed everything from garage punk to country rock, but he grew up in a small village in Fife, Scotland, and has been a long-time participant in the famed local Fence Collective, where music is cherished but not treated pompously and diversity and cross-fertilisation have always held sway. Yorkstons music retains those qualities, plus a deep seam of rurality.

I consider myself a Fifer and I intend to move back there some day, says James, now a slightly uneasy inhabitant of Edinburgh. Although Edinburgh has its attractions, I dont think I could ever call any city home.

In the past, his music has concentrated on that undercurrent of misplacement, and a sometimes turbulent personal life. But, more settled now, James is making music to match his new mood. Though not without its shadows, this is Yorkstons most optimistic record.

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Just had word that the show is now billed simply as

James Yorkstson+support

(IE no Athletes) hence the edit above - watch this space for further info on the line-up.

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Good....it is good isn't it?

Better than good. 200 people listening in reverential silence. JY plays so effortlessly and makes a HUGE sound for just one man and a guitar.

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JY's guide to the new album.....

The Year Of The Leopard Track by track. Your guide: James Yorkston Summer Song This was the first song I wrote after the last albums sessions. Theres a sense of relief and release to it. I think its optimistic and welcoming. It sounds nothing like the openings of my other albums, but it couldnt have gone anywhere else on the record. This albums very different from my previous two anyhow - Im in a much better frame of mind and wanted this album to reflect that. Steady As She Goes This sounds like a pop song to me. It came really quickly, probably the least trouble out of all the songs to write. I was detuning the guitar and mucking around when I came up with the chords. The next day I ran through it with the band and it sounded really good and I looked in my note book and found a lyric that just fitted all the way through. Again, this couldnt have gone anywhere else on but second. Its the right place for a pop song. The Year Of The Leopard HMS Ginafore from the Fence Collective is singing with me here. Theres a big cat, a puma actually, loose in the vicinity of my parents house near Fife, which has been seen by members of my family at various points in the last year. Theres something about the image of this displaced creature which struck a chord with me The title is also a nod to Lampedusa, whose The Leopard novel I adore. 5 a.m. Its about that time still up at dawn, drinking, talking about everything and nothing. Weve all been there. Paul the producer reckoned there was something French sounding about this track of course Im a huge fan of Leo Ferre, so maybe some of that has come through. Although the chords are quite straight, the melody weaves through them to make it sound slightly different. I think I got that from my love of Lal Watersons melodies. Jon Bews stunning fiddle solo was done in one take.

Woozy With Cider This kind of clears the decks and is at the heart of the album, if you like. The main part was written at some point between my last two albums. Id been at one of those weddings where I hardly knew anyone except my partner - I was hung-over, looking out of the hotel window, and just writing down my thoughts about our future. I guess its also about the lure of the big bad city, the music business and whether I fit at all amongst it. Just dont call it a rap! I Awoke A bit of an odd one for me, this song, in that its not really based around any one specific incident. In another world, this song would be taken to number one by Mariah Carey or some such. I wonder how it feels being stuck on one of my albums! Still, its amongst fine company. The great HMS Ginafore sings on this track. Ill take her over Mariah Carey any day

The Brussels Rambler Im very fond of this one of my favourites of all the songs Ive written. It started with a drum machine and some basic chords and I began adding clarinets, double bass, harmonium and concertina - and then took the drum machine part away and added bouzouki scrapes and dings for the percussive effect. The lyric I had written whilst touring mainland Europe. This is one of those songs that just came together effortlessly and sounds so much the better for it. Its funny, with this album I kind of got obsessed with playing the clarinet whereas with the last album it was the banjo. I remember laughing out loud when Paul the producer said he was glad he got the clarinet album! Orgiva Song I was getting pretty tired with playing my guitar in my rehearsal room, so I set up the Fender Rhodes and came up with this chord sequence and then just wrote a lyric about the first time I went to Orgiva, in Las Alpujarras. This is the original vocal, sung when I first demoed the song. We transferred a lot of our initial demo performances to tape as we made the album, which helped keep the sound consistent throughout, and tape made the mixes very warm. This song wasnt always going to go on the album but every time I played it I really liked its atmosphere. It also has my first recorded drum solo. Now theres a bonus. Dont Let Me Down Easily the bluest song on the record. I played it to the Athletes and thought they might not like it, might think it was too downbeat, but they came up with parts instantly and it sounded great. When we were recording the album this was the song we were most excited about. I love the violin section in the middle. This song sounds as though it could crumble away to nothing at any point. I see that as a positive.

Us Late Travellers Paul Webb [producer] really liked the romanticism of this song. He just thought it was a great love song and arranged and mixed it until we were one hundred per cent happy. He put on some great Hammond and Doogie [bass player] added some Japanese dulcimer. When it came to sequencing the album it just sounded perfect coming after Dont Let Me Down, and felt like the right way to end. Ironically, as I wasnt sure itd suit the record, its now one of my favourite tracks. I guess thats what for producers are for

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Took me a while (actually I found out a while ago but forgot to reply) - it is James Yorkston and the Athletes - apologies for the confusion.

Also been meaning to post this for a while, but the October issue of Mojo has decent alt folk CD with a JY song off the new album. It's called Summer Song and i think it's one of the stand-outs on the compilation.

Mojo also review the album giving it 4/5 and describing it as "his sparsest and most initmate album - the restrained band...sound like faded watercolours".

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