Song of the Day: James Yorkston – Tortoise Regrets Hare

Joe Dilworth

Joe Dilworth

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 – Tortoise Regrets Hare (MP3)

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:

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 16, 2008 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    A beautiful track from an excellent album. Yorkston’s more recent material may be a little less immediately accessible than albums like Year of the Leopard or Moving Up Country but it is well worth investing some time in. To hear him live and stripped back to his vocal and a guitar is a rare pleasure and makes his songs even more engaging and affecting. Do also check out fellow Fence-mate King Creosote for more in this east-coast of Scotland, carefully written and beautifully delivered music

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