After the release of a new LP and a run of dates that included Glasgow’s Oran Mor, James Yorkston performed an unique gig in Johnstone, in their library to be more precise. With Lost Map’s Randolph’s Leap supporting, the singer/songwriter played an a wonderfully acoustic set with the logo for children’s characters Skoobs sitting directly behind him, to an audience of his fans, and library staff, trialing a Get It Loud In Libraries event.
James Yorkston recently released his new album The Route To The Harmonium through Domino Records and he has been plugging that for the most part of his tour but not tonight as he was enjoying performing a set of oldies, including Woozy with Cider and Tender to the Blues on the nyckelharpa, a new instrument which features heavily on the most recent record. Performing newer tracks such as The Blues You Sang from 2014’s Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society, more intense personal songs such as Broken Wave, a track that often breaks me, a tribute to bass player in the Athletes and James Yorkston’s long-regarded friend, Dougie Paul, James offered up his crowd an intimate and heartfelt set. It was rather wonderful to hear the unusual sound of the nyckelharpa, particularly underscoring two of his more lyrical tracks.
Adam Ross, otherwise known as Randolph’s Leap was the support, a troubadour and a gent, performing tracks from most recent album, Worryingly Okay, showcasing his song writing and guitar strumming. Intimately folk, his music was a treat to hear in this room lined with books.
James, admitting he knew not what to expect when performing in a library, performed a fantastic back catalogue of music from various albums, including The Villages I Have Known My Entire Life, from the most recent, The Route to the Harmonium. However, this back catalogue is vast and perhaps too much for standing in a public library. That was evident by the masses sitting down by the front. Finishing his set with a track by The Go-Betweens about a librarian called Karen, there was an extra performer tonight, that being the library, a focal point for the gig.
As is the case with most Yorkston sets, there is much reflection, poignant observation and dry humour in the chat between songs. A delicately intimate set, overshadowed by the discomfort of standing in a library for the love of folk music, and humour with the concluding track, Karen by The Go-Betweens.