Hello Tolbooth blog readers – Earlier this week I had the great pleasure in speaking to James Yorkston – a singer songwriter belonging to Fence Records. I managed to ask him a few questions about his upcoming show at the Tolbooth, where he’ll be playing alongside some of his Fence label mates. Here are his answers which I’m sure will be of interest ahead of his performance on March 16th.
Are you looking forward to the forthcoming tour with your Fence chums, and are you looking forward to coming back to the Tolbooth?
Most definitely. The Tolbooth is one of my favourite Scottish venues, although once I made the mistake of parking my van full of gear at the bottom of the hill and we had to carry everything up, but that aside, all good. Touring with the Fence boys will be a luxury – Johnny is amazing on stage and I’d cut off my left toenail to have a voice like his. Seamus is a newer prospect on the Fence scene, I’ve probably only seen him playing 5 times or so, so that’ll be interesting. He’s my 2nd favourite Irish songwriter of the last 10 years and a great interpreter of traditional song.
Do you think where you grow up influences your musical style?
Of course, but so do friends, family, etc. I’ve never noticed the Fence “sound” to be particularly Neukian, or even Scottish, but almost every review I’ve had mentions it, so I guess it does. I doubt if I’d grown up in New York I’d be singing songs about the damp Fife coastline, certainly.
You started in Punk outfit Miraclehead . How does that experience
compare to being a solo artist?
It was wonderful and horrible in equal measure. We were a real gang, full of love for one another and the music. But, as ever, it turned sour due to, ahem, musical and personal differences. If we’d ever “made it” I doubt very much we’d still even be talking to one another at this stage. Being solo is a lot more fun as it means I can tour solo, play whatever I like, eat wherever I like, etc, but I also have a pool of musicians I can dip into for shows, so I get the best of both worlds – some shows solo, some with band and pals. Afterall, there are only so many curries you can eat by yourself before you start talking to the naan bread.
And finally if you could do a duet with any artist (DoA) who would it be and why?
I’ve been lucky to do duets with some great folk; it’s mostly a fun experience. Who would I like to? Skip James would be funny, just to see the look of disgust in his eyes as I tried to play along with him. Who else? Bess Cronin would have been fun, though I’d have ruined that duet – I’d have been the whole in the boat, for sure. Anyone alive? Erm… Serafina Steer I like, Natalie Merchant, Lisa O’Neill. A’ sorts o’ barry singers oot there.