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James Yorkston

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James Yorkston born James Patrick Yorkston Wright, 21 December 1971 is a Scottish folk musician, singer-songwriter and author


  • 1 Music career
  • 2 Discography
    • 21 Albums
    • 22 Singles
    • 23 Other contributions
  • 3 References
  • 4 Further reading
  • 5 External links

Music career

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 and The Pictish Trail 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"

At this time Yorkston had started to play solo gigs in Edinburgh – his debut supporting Bert Jansch in the Café Royal Seeking more shows, Yorkston sent a copy of the single to John Martyn, asking Martyn for a support slot on his forthcoming Edinburgh date, and John Martyn responded by offering Yorkston all 27 dates on his UK and Ireland tour While on this tour, Yorkston was seen by Laurence Bell of Domino Records, who was so impressed he had a recording contract sent to Yorkston's lawyer the following week Subsequently he signed to Domino Records, recording music with a number of friends and associates credited as The Athletes on his records Yorkston recorded and co-produced his debut album for Domino Moving Up Country, alongside Simon Raymonde of the Cocteau Twins, which became Rough Trade Record Shops Album of the Year for 2002

Yorkston also played at the inaugural Green Man Festival

For Yorkston's second album, he asked Kieran Hebden Four Tet on board 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 and Kathryn Williams, as well as a slot on the prestigious Accelerator tour of Sweden

The follow-up, The Year of the Leopard, was produced by Rustin Man, who had recently worked with Beth Gibbons lead singer with the band Portishead on their Out of Season record While promoting this, Yorkston was given the chance to play with Bert Jansch once more, this time in Paris Yorkston also invited Martin Carthy to play and share a stage with him at London's Union Chapel on 24 May 2007 In 2007, Domino Records released Roaring the Gospel, a collection of unreleased songs, which led NME to say "Yorkston has talent as deep as a mine shaft"

Yorkston was invited to work as Musical Director with Oliver Knight and the Waterson–Carthy clan for the BBC Electric Proms tribute to Lal Waterson This was broadcast by the Mike Harding Show as well as by BBC Three Alongside Waterson–Carthy, the acts involved included Alasdair Roberts, Kathryn Williams and Lisa Knapp Yorkston's involvement with the Fence Collective is also very much alive: he has toured extensively with King Creosote and contributes every year to the Fence Collective's legendary Homegames—mini-festivals featuring guest performances by artists such as The Concretes and Hot Chip Yorkston also plays in the Fence Collective bands The 3 Craws, Pictish Trail and UNPOC

His fifth album, When the Haar Rolls In, was released through Domino Records on 1 September 2008 Guests included Nancy Elizabeth Cunliffe, Norma Waterson and Mike Waterson A special edition was released featuring an album of remixes and an album of James Yorkston covers by artists such as King Creosote, UNPOC and Cathal Coughlan

In August 2009, Yorkston released his sixth album on Domino Records, entitled Folk Songs This is an album of traditional songs, arranged and performed by James Yorkston and The Big Eyes Family Players

In March 2011 The Domino Press published Yorkston's debut book, "It's Lovely to be Here: The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent"

In 2011, Yorkston collaborated with The Fruit Tree Foundation, appearing on its debut album, First Edition

In August 2012, Domino Records release Yorkston's seventh album, I Was a Cat from a Book which had very favourable reviewsI Was a Cat from a Book debuted on the Official Record Store Chart at number 6

Double-bassist Doogie Paul Douglas Paul, one of The Athletes, died on 3 November 2012 in Edinburgh, from cancer aged 40

In August 2014, Domino Records released their 8th album with Yorkston - The Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society, released in August 2014 The album featured special guests KT Tunstall and The Pictish Trail amongst others In total, KT Tunstall appears on 13 of the 16 songs on TCRAWS - making a baker's dozen The album was produced by Alexis Taylor of synth-pop band Hot Chip TCRAWS was met well and received very good reviews

In 2015 Domino Records released 'The Demonstrations of the Craws', a vinyl only release, featuring a compilation of demos from 'The Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society' and 'I was a Cat from a Book' Yorkston also began running his folk club 'Tae Sup wi' a Fifer', in Kirkcaldy, Fife, which has thus far had such diverse guests as Martin Carthy, Alexis Taylor, Dick Gaughan, Richard Dawson, Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, Karine Polwart, Lisa O'Neill, Steve Mason, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Malcolm Middleton

In 2016 Yorkston released a trio album 'Everything Sacred' with Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan Jon Thorne is a double bass player in the Jazz stylee best known for his work with electro outfit Lamb Suhail Yusuf Khan is an 8th generation Sarangi player from New Delhi, India

In early 2016, Freight Books published James' second book, his debut novel '3 Craws'



  • J Wright Presents – 2001, Fence Records
  • Moving Up Country – 2002, Domino Records
  • Just Beyond the River – 2004, Domino Records – UK No 155
  • The Year of the Leopard' – 2006, Domino Records
  • Live at Le Poisson Mouillé – 2006, Self released, concert only release
  • Roaring the Gospel – 2007, Domino Records compilation of B-sides, etc
  • 'Lang Cat, Crooked Cat, Spider Cat – 2007, Instrumental release for Fence Records
  • 30 – 2004, Fence Records release – one 30-minute track
  • When the Haar Rolls In – 2008, Domino Records – UK No 178
  • Folk Songs – 2009, Domino Records, Traditionals
  • I Was A Cat From A Book – 2012, Domino Records
  • The Invaders Salute Captain America - The Songs of Daniel Johnston – 2013, Chemikal Underground - With Adrian Crowley
  • The Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society – 2014, Domino Records
  • Demonstrations of the CRAWS - 2015, Domino Records
  • Everything Sacred - 2016, Domino Records as Yorkston Thorne Khan
  • Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars - 2017 - James Yorkston with Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan


  • "Shipwreckers" Domino 14 February 2005 – UK No 88
  • "Surf Song" Domino 5 June 2005: UK No 241


  • 'It's lovely to be here - The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent' Faber 2011
  • '3 Craws' - Freight 2016

Other contributions

  • Acoustic 07 2007, V2 Records – "Steady as She Goes"
  • Ballads of the Book 2007, Chemikal Underground – "A Calvinist Narrowly Avoids Pleasure"


  1. ^ a b c Galloway, Vic 8 July 2013 "Songs in the Key of Fife: The Intertwining Stories of The Beta Band, King Creosote, KT Tunstall, James Yorkston and the Fence Collective" Birlinn – via Google Books 
  2. ^ "James Yorkston: I Don't Muck Around" Thisisfakediycouk Retrieved 19 September 2014 
  3. ^ "Domino Announce James Yorkston The Athletes' 10th anniversary edition of Moving up Country" 
  4. ^ "J Wright presents Moving up Country ltd ed 7" single" 
  5. ^ "Finger Magazine - Interviews - James Yorkston" Fingermagcom Retrieved 19 September 2014 
  6. ^ "Moving Up Country 10th Anniversary Edition" Jamesyorkstoncouk Retrieved 19 September 2014 
  7. ^ "NME Reviews - James Yorkston - NMECOM" Nmecom 16 May 2007 Retrieved 19 September 2014 
  8. ^ James Yorkston "CAT Reviews" Domino Records Retrieved 30 August 2014 
  9. ^ Bothy Hero http://wwwofficialchartscom/chart-news/spector-top-the-official-record-store-chart__2318/  Missing or empty |title= help
  10. ^ James Yorkston "RIP Doogie Paul" Domino Records Retrieved 6 November 2012 
  11. ^ James Yorkston "CRAWS" Domino Records Retrieved 30 August 2014 
  12. ^ James Yorkston "CRAWS Reviews" Domino Records Retrieved 30 August 2014 
  13. ^ "James Yorkston presents Tae Sup Wi' A Fifer" Tae Sup Wi' A Fifer Retrieved 2016-03-06 
  14. ^ "Three Craws by James Yorkston - Freight Books" wwwfreightbookscouk Archived from the original on 4 April 2016 Retrieved 6 March 2016 
  15. ^ Zobbel 16 June 2007 "Chart Log UK" Zobbel Retrieved 10 September 2008 
  16. ^ "The Official Album Chart for the week ending 13 September 2008" ChartsPlus Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd 368: 5–8 
  17. ^ "The Demonstrations of the Craws by James Yorkston Album: Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list - Rate Your Music" rateyourmusiccom Retrieved 2016-03-06 
  18. ^ "Yorkston/Thorne/Khan" Domino Retrieved 2016-03-06 
  19. ^ "Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars" 
  20. ^ a b Zobbel 16 June 2007 "Chart Log UK" Zobbel Retrieved 10 September 2008 
  21. ^ "It's Lovely To Be Here - The Touring Diaries Of A Scottish Gent" Domino Retrieved 2016-03-06 
  22. ^ "Three Craws by James Yorkston - Freight Books" wwwfreightbookscouk Archived from the original on 4 April 2016 Retrieved 6 March 2016 

Further reading

  • Galloway, Vic 1 September 2013 Songs in the Key of Fife: the Intertwining Stories of the Beta Band, King Creosote, KT Tunstall, James Yorkston and the Fence Collective Birlinn Ltd ISBN 9781846972355

External links

  • Official website

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