Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The news from Night and Day: Budvar is back on sale but alas it is a purse-breaking £3.80 a bottle. But the really important news is that tonight N&D presented the first night of the autumn James Yorkston tour with support from The Pictish Trail and Rozi Plain.

Rozi is from Bristol but aesthetically and musically she is definitely part of the Fence Collective. She sounds like a homely, folksy version of Scout Niblett - but without the confrontation and angst. Mr P was agnostic but I enjoyed the simple, short and affecting songs she played. She nearly lost the crowd with an extending tuning up session but was then pleasantly surprised by how quiet and patient everyone became when she eventually started playing again. Her album on Fence came out last month (see here).

Johnny Lynch aka The Pictish Trail also had an album out recently - which I also haven't heard. His appearance (scruffy sound man slightly out of breath from lugging a heavy PA) doesn't prepare you for his angelic voice. Again simple, sparse songs played with just (this time) acoustic guitar that are incredibly affecting. His set includes a cover of Hot Chip's Boy From School but his own songs (including All I Own with backing vocals from Rozi and James) are the ones I remember.

My initial disappointment that James Yorkston wasn't performing with his backing band The Athletes was quickly put aside when I remembered what a good solo performer he is. As with the other two performers this is simply stroll on stage with guitar, plug in and play approach. James said how tired he was (his wife gave birth to their daughter Esme just six weeks ago), he claimed he smelled of baby sick and there were a few bum notes and false starts along the way but quality will out. He is an incredibly likeable performer - relaxed, affable, bantering with the crowd - but its the songs and their delivery that floors me.
Whereas the earlier songs were simple, his are more intricate affairs but delivered with an astonishing emotional depth. Old songs like A Man With My Skills and Someplace Simple stood out but new songs like When The Haar Rolls In and Queen of Spain were equally moving. For the last few songs he was joined by Johnny and Rozi including a beautiful rendition of Sweet Jesus. The sound man tried to get them off when he told them they were 25 minutes over time but they still managed to squeeze one more song in.

JY was encouraging everyone to buy merchandise from the well-stocked stall at the back - he needs the money for nappies. Happy to oblige I picked up a copy of the live album from Le Poisson Mouille.

Not only does this man need your support to clothe his daughter, all three artists need your support on this tour. Seeing JY live really is a life-enhancing experience. Tour dates here. And finally JY and The Pictish Trail signed my poster to add to The Archive:

The Set List
B's Jig
[Second Song - missed whilst in shock at the bar over Budvar prices]
A Man With My Skills
Steady As She Goes
Someplace Simple
St Patrick
When The Haar Rolls In
Summer Not The Same
This Time Tomorrow
Queen of Spain
Tender To The Blues
The Lang Toun (sung by Rozi)
Tortoise Regrets Hare
Sweet Jesus
Cheating The Game

James Yorkston
Roaring The Gospel [BUY]

James Yorkston
When The Haar Rolls In [BUY]

James Yorkston and the Athletes
Live At Le Poisson Mouille [BUY]

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