James Yorkston is a Scottish folk musician.
A native of Fife, James Yorkston was an integral early member of the Fence Collective whose reach across contemporary music continues to lengthen: King Creosote, The Aliens, KT Tunstall, The Beta Band. Yorkston is primarily a singer-songwriter, although he also tackles a variety of traditional songs, learned from singers such as Anne Briggs, Dick Gaughan, Nic Jones, Martin Carthy, Lal Waterson, John Strachan, and Adrian Crowley. His quoted main influences are Anne Briggs, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Michael Hurley, Can, and the Malagasy D'Gary. Yorkston started out as bassist for punk band Miraclehead, which morphed into the band Huckleberry who recorded a number of independently released records.
Yorkston's solo career began when John Peel played a demo of his "Moving Up Country, Roaring the Gospel", proclaiming it had the "song title of the year, no doubt". This led to Bad Jazz Records scrambling for Yorkston's details and releasing that track as Yorkston's debut 7" under the name "J. Wright Presents".
For Yorkston's second album, he asked Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) onboard as producer, and they made Just Beyond the River. This album was extremely well received all round. Pete Paphides of The Times wrote, "Yorkston has reached a state of grace that writers can spend for ever trying to attain: songs that sound not so much written as carefully retrieved from your own subconscious, played with an intuition bordering on telepathy. What more could you ask for?" Yorkston's fan base continued to grow and he was offered tours with Beth Orton, David Gray, Tindersticks, Turin Brakes, Lambchop, Kathryn Williams, as well as a slot on the prestigious Accelerator tour of Sweden.
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