|Photo credit: Nadja Hallstrom
Praise for previous James Yorkston releases:
“absolutely breathtaking” – NPR
“teems with wonderful disparities that, through their collisions, creates something near-ineffable; something boldly atypical” – MXDWN
“the songs he sings tell tales that feel passed through the generations, even in their deeply personal nature.” – Treble Zine
“captivating” – Cool Hunting
“No doubt, The Route to the Harmonium is an impressive artistic statement.” – Pop Matters
James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra will release The Wide, Wide River on January 22, 2021. Yorkston’s tenth album for Domino (in addition to his three albums as part of Yorkston / Thorne / Khan, and two books), it blossomed from a long-term friendship between Yorkston and Karl-Jonas Winqvist, the Swedish music producer, leader and conductor of The Second Hand Orchestra.
Alongside the announcement, James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra (JY & TSHO) share a video for new track “Struggle.” With its lyrics “And I hope I can tell you that I love you, when you are too old to be told,” “Struggle” is a tender and beautiful love song to Yorkston’s children. He adds, “It’s me telling my kids that it’s ok to not be ok, and that indeed, sometimes I struggle.”
Watch the video for “Struggle” HERE
Listen to “Struggle” HERE
Yorkston says of recording “Struggle” with TSHO: “The band were sat by in the studio by themselves, looping the verses over and over. I was in the control room, drinking sweet tea. I just had to wait for the right moment and jump on board, like when I’m pushing my kids round on a roundabout in the local park. I love that everyone was singing along so freely when we recorded this. There were vocal mics for everyone, and people would just lean in with a harmony, every now and then. It gives it a very communal feeling.”
That communal feeling is apparent across the entire album. Recorded and mixed in Sweden over the course of three days with a selection of musicians Winqvist had brought together, TSHO includes Peter Morén (Peter, Bjorn & John), Cecilia Österholm (one of Sweden’s best-known nyckelharpa players), Emma Nordenstam (piano & cello) and Ulrika Gyllenberg (violin). The studio approach was completely improvised around Yorkston’s songs, with “Ella Mary Leather” being the only song TSHO had heard in advance.
Yorkston didn’t want to direct anyone too much, instead allowing for a welcoming, instinctive, free-spirited and joyful atmosphere. The result is soothing, warm and sublime, whilst also highlighting Yorkston’s skills for songwriting, collaboration and as a musical conductor. The record takes in past loves, advancing age and friends, now gone, whilst also containing some of the most sanguine songs Yorkston has ever made.
Yorkston has worked with a wealth of talent over his prolific two-decade career including Four Tet, Alexis Taylor, KT Tunstall, Rustin Man, Simon Raymonde, Norma and Mike Waterson, Martin Carthy, Max Cooper, David Wrench and many others.