James Yorkston and the Athletes – Moving Up Country

James Yorkston and The AthletesMoving Up Country (Domino Recordings)

Gathering at a farmhouse in his native Scotland with an intimate group of musicians, James Yorkston has created an album of folk melody that glows like embers in a stone fire. With fiddle, mandolin, concertina, accordian, hand drums, Rhodes, lap steel, violin, and whistles rounding out Yorkston’s own acoustic guitar, Going Up Country is the perfect record for sitting in rainy windows while wearing a sweater. With elements of Nick Drake, Belle & Sebastian, Mojave 3, and English and Irish folk music travelling through the album, Yorkston never lets his sometimes obvious influences take over his quietly desperate songs. “St. Patrick” is an immediate favorite, with its pretty, lilting violin melody, as is “Moving Up The Country, Roaring The Gospel,” which evokes the opening credits to some unnamed early 70’s period film featuring men in derbys driving around in Model E’s on country roads. Or maybe I’m just thinking about the video for “Say Say Say.”

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