Jun 17, 2021
By Celine Teo-Blockey
Scottish singer/songwriter James Yorkston is our next guest on the Under the Radar Podcast. He discusses his childhood in Kingsbarns, Scotland, how he got signed to Domino Records, and some of the recurring themes in his music—of loss, mental health, and his disdain for organized religion.
Earlier this year, Yorkston released his 10th studio album, The Wide, Wide River, as James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra. After two decades of releasing music with friends in his various bands—The Athletes, Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, and collaborations with The Fence Collective—on this album he plays with a collective of Swedish musicians, most of whom he hadn’t met prior to the recordings.
Yorkston had organized the recordings with Swedish musician and producer Karl-Jonas Winqvist after an invitation to play at Winqvist’s club in Stockholm, in 2019. Yorkston explained: “I had met Karl-Jonas a few times, but none of the others, except Cecilia Osterholm, who sourced me my first nyckelharpa. But I’d only met her once before, outside a gig in Stockholm, when she gave me the nyckelharpa in question. My motivation recording that way was just to shake it and see what happened.”
The experiment paid off lending the improvised songs a lightness of touch that suited the gravity of its lyrics.
Each monthly episode of Under the Radar features an interview with a different musician conducted by host and producer Celine Teo-Blockey. Upcoming guests this season will include Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Adrian Younge, Xiu Xiu, Sleaford Mods, London Grammar, and more.
Also check our season 2, episode 1, which is our interview with The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne (plus listen to our bonus mini behind-the-scenes episode on The Flaming Lips). Season 2, episode 2 featured Emmy the Great. Season 2, episode 3 featured Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.
On top of being available on all podcasting platforms the podcast also airs on WLUR, an NPR affiliate based in Lexington, VA (the city where Under the Radar is currently based).