Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Morning Show host John Richards, is “Tortoise Regrets Hare” by James Yorkston from the 2008 album When the Haar Rolls In on Domino Records.
James Yorkston is a Scottish musician with an interesting past. He’s one of these extremely talented musicians who seems to fall under the radar of many listeners, but is also beloved by many others. Maybe it’s fate, talent, or whatever, but from all accounts, James has done as much to luck into the industry as he has to persevere by executing perfectly crafted folk songs. His first real exposure came after John Peel was impressed enough by his music to play one of his demo tapes (Moving Up Country, Roaring The Gospel) which subsequently led to his first 7″ release. That first release led to a full UK Tour with fellow Scottish folk singer John Martyn and then a chance meeting with Laurence Bell of Domino Records, which would shape the direction of the band for many years to come. Since that meeting, Yorkston has recorded three more albums, usually with the help of some great producers and his band of musician friends he calls The Athletes. From all accounts, his latest album, When the Harr Rolls In, was entirely self-produced and it’s obvious he enjoyed taking full reigns of his beautifully orchestrated sound. “Tortoise Regrets Hare” is a simple song that showcases Yorkston’s signature sound: acoustic guitar, stripped down instruments (pianos and accordions), and most of all, well written lyrics. It’s a formula that’s done well for him.
James Yorkston just got done playing BBC2’s Culture Show and has a handful of upcoming dates in Ireland. Check his MySpace page for more information. Through the years, Yorkston has been associated with the Fence Collective, a group of new folk revivalists rising out of Fife. Here’s an interesting expose of the scene growing out of this quiet fishing town and prominently featuring Yorkston himself: