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Alternative & Indie - Released February 22, 2019 | Domino Recording Co

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In the five intervening years between 2014's Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society and its follow-up, The Route to the Harmonium, James Yorkston recorded two albums as part of the earthy minimalist trio Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, founded an ambitious folk club in his native Fife, and published his debut novel, 3 Craws. Since debuting in 2002, the Scottish folk singer has consistently maintained a prolific and multifaceted output, and as his career has progressed, his albums have increasingly reflected this sort of all-in-one art form, often bypassing typical folk song structures and coming across as a sort of freewheeling panoply of ideas and layers. Like its predecessor, The Route to the Harmonium, his ninth solo outing, combines a sort of meandering personal journal approach with arrangements that veer from solitary fingerpicking to robust stacks of brass, drums, and an unusual amount of zither. Peppered in between wistful charmers like "The Blue of the Thistle" and "The Villages I Have Known My Entire Life" are miniature epics like "The Irish Wars of Independence" and "My Mouth Ain't No Bible," both of which rely on Yorkston's spoken word narratives and unique orchestrations. To those unfamiliar with his work, the roaming nature of his writing style can take some getting used to, but he's also got a knack for inserting sweet, soaring melodies that keep the story moving along. Recorded in bits and pieces at his rustic home studio in the small fishing village of Cellardyke, Harmonium -- which also features production and mixing from longtime collaborator David Wrench -- feels like a natural continuation of the enduring and hyper-localized chronicle he's promoted since his early days. Much like his former Fence Collective counterpart Kenny Anderson (King Creosote) and others who came up through Fife's close-knit musical community, Yorkston's devotion to regionalism and his own self-mythology remains a central aspect of his presentation, and with this album, he offers another mesmerizing glimpse into that strange but increasingly familiar world. ~ Timothy Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 21, 2019 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 18, 2014 | Domino Recording Co

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Since his debut in 2002, each James Yorkston album has been a semi-structured unspooling of the mind and heart, captained by a host of disparate producers yet threaded together in one lifelong narrative. Each collection is slightly evolved, bearing different sounds, stories, and personnel, but intrinsically connected to his life and personal mythology. As a folksinger, one of Yorkston's talents is to make it sound loose and easy when the truth is that few artists are able to carry on this kind of meaningful and distinctive conversation for so long without wearing out their welcome on the barstool. For his eighth album, the colorfully titled Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society, he recruits Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor to steer the ship with fellow Fife native KT Tunstall weaving her voice throughout this compelling, though quite lengthy, collection. Opening number "Fellow Man" acts as a sort of proclamation, introducing the cast of voices, characters, and even concepts, with the song's refrain "I'm full of love for my fellow man" resurfacing again on the wonderful spoken word depiction of a nosy neighbor, "Guy Fawkes' Signature." Examinations of love, anger, forgiveness, fatherhood, and life in his small Scottish seaside town comprise his lyrical content and are delivered with his typical mix of wit, obscure poeticism, and outright frankness. From the pagan dreamscape of "Red Fox" to the humanity of "The Very Very Best," Yorkston delivers his tales, his problems, his joys, and his observations with an earthy and honest enchantment. As the evocative, Watersons-esque title suggests, Taylor's production presents Cellardyke more as a group recording, with himself and Tunstall providing harmonies and even lead vocals throughout. Fiddles, electric guitar, double bass, percussion, and additional vocals from a crew that includes fellow Fence Collective alum the Pictish Trail and longtime collaborators Jon Thorne and Emma Smith lend to the album's live, familial feeling. Still, this is Yorkston's world and story, and his gently picked guitar and rough-hewn voice provide the heart of yet another fine release. ~ Timothy Monger

Folk/Americana - Released April 23, 2012 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2014 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 22, 2018 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 13, 2019 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 3, 2014 | Domino Recording Co

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 29, 2014 | Domino Recording Co

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