Gig Reviews

James Yorkston – Workman’s Club – 20-09-14 – Gig Review

James Yorkston - Scottish Folk Singer

James Yorkston played last night in the Workman’s club before a small but very appreciative crowd. James has been visiting Dublin for many years now and his gigs have become like a visiting friend, very far removed from the usual rock star ethos. James creates a feeling of intimacy at his gigs with stories of his life in small town Scotland. He also regaled us with stories of life on the road, which as you would expect do not involve hedonistic madness or drug filled orgies.

He came on stage just before nine thirty and played a very healthy two hour set, ignoring the usual eleven o’clock curfew of some venues. James now has 12 albums, which date back to Moving up Country in 2002, so he has a lengthy back catalogue to call upon. He opened with three a capella songs before telling us that was the end of that self indulgence! From then on he picked up his guitar and never put it down. There was also occasional mouth organ, but this was a stripped down solo show. Some of the best songs in the long set list include St. Patrick, Fellow man and the saddest song of the evening Broken Wave (a blues for Doogie). Doogie played double bass with James for many years, but sadly died recently.

He told a story of his brush with a mega star in Kilkenny. He stayed in Mount Juliet a few days previously, and had just woken up to the news of Scotland saying ‘No’ to independence. He was quite annoyed by it and got talking to an Irish man on the subject. He ended up playing a round of golf with the man. At the end of the round the golfer asked did he really not recognise him. James had thought he was familiar but could not place him. The man revealed that he was Terry Wogan, but looked quite different without his wig! From that point in the evening Terry featured in the lyrics and dedications of the various love songs, to keep the audience and James amused.

Near the end of the evening, we were informed that we were now in the encore! He didn’t bother with the usual conventions. The two songs that followed were Moving up Country and Queen of Spain, with a brief interlude for a John Martyn song from Seamus Fogarty. We will no doubt see James next year with another new album and long may it continue.

Support – Seamus Fogarty was support on the night, who followed a similar style to James Yorkston of one man with his guitar. He played a number of songs, and the one that caught the imagination was a song about missing a bus home after a night out in Carlow, and sleeping in the local church, waking to see mass happening around him.


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