Tuesday, December 05, 2006

James Yorkston and the Athletes "Moving Up Country" 2002

In 2002 there was a media interest in new folk music that was primarily driven by the reviews given to this album and that of Cara Dillon. There was a perception in the media of accessibility in this music without losing an ancient, evolving quality in a contemporary setting. In this regard the media had accurately found an album that fused a number of factors quite brilliantly. Yorkston is part of an extended musical community in Scotland that has evolved without recourse to of significant influence from external sources. This has bred a confidence and distinctiveness to the music that is attractive and in a society that voraciously consumes and moves on, something quite unique. Like many modern folk based artists Yorkston has a gentle, enveloping quality to his music and this is supported by a warm production that helps the music appeal to more than just a folk fan. A notable factor in it's appreciation was the legend that a dance music magazine hailed it as a masterpiece and listening to the music the use of accordians, violins and harmonicas in slow, sustained layers gives the music an almost ambient sheen at times. However this is not lifestyle or coffee table music, but personal, crafted songs from an obviously talented artist.

The title 'Moving Up Country' talks of becoming more not less remote, of distancing the artist from external factors, of finding the source. It is perhaps not accident then that the reviewer saw musical comparisons between this album and the first two by The Band, the US rural folk rock band who retired to the country to achieve focus and were in turned influenced by this. The sustained organs and melodic interactions are highly similar as is the careful attention to song writing. James Yorkston isn't a luddite though and technology is used to subtle effect notably within 'Tender To the Blues'. This is a warm, friend of an album that you're always pleased to see. As folk music it is not wild and intense or introspective and personal. Instead it is observational or like reading a diary. The artist will be an interesting one to watch and see how he evolves, subsequent albums could go in many directions. 'I Spy Dogs' for example shows the band capable of rocking out like a folk version of Ray Charles' 'What'd I Say' and final track 'I Know My Love' swells in an epic coda to almost sound like Pink Floyd. The 'Patience Song' highlights a conventional ballad with electronics that could with more conformity be a contender for the Badly Drawn Boy style of authentic pop star credibility. By staying out of the limelight he has thankfully avoided becoming a disposable media darling and has the room to develop. Perhaps being based in Scotland and having a musical community around may help in this respect. For now we can luxuriate in this genuinely rustic and highly enjoyable debut.

Download link in comments.


Anonymous maggie88 said...

Yet another brilliant offering. This blog is an oasis of wonder.

06 December, 2006 02:59  
Blogger patrick said...

thanks lots.

06 December, 2006 03:19  

Post a Comment

<< Home

2006 - - - - - - 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2007 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2008 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2009 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
2015 - - - - - 5 6