Fife-based musician James Yorkston will begin 2020 with the release of a new album.
James has teamed up with Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan for their third album as Yorkston Thorne Khan called ‘Navarasa: Nine Emotions’ with nine songs that fit into centuries-old organising principle.
James said that as the songs were written they realised that they fitted into the idea of the Navarasa: ‘nava’ meaning nine and ‘rasa’ standing for sentiments or emotions.
“There’s kind of an overlying concept around it,” he said, “but it was only as it was coming together and we were discussing the songs that Suhail said they reminded him of the Navarasa because there were so many different style and emotions going onto the album.
“I wasn’t aware of the Navarasa at all and I think it was only towards the end with the song ‘Twa Brothers’ that it all slotted into place very well.
“It was then that we started to choose the songs. ‘Darbari’ fits in well because of that, we saw where it was going and it continued.
“We were about three quarters of the way through before the idea started to form shape, and for me it was good thing because it meant we kept the album at nine songs!
“So it’s not so much a concept, but just sort of finding a nice shoe that fits comfortably.
The trio’s first album ‘Everything Sacred’ was released in 2016 with ‘Neuk Wight Deli All-Stars’ following a year later. James says that he can definitely hear a progression in their work.
“The first one was almost like a rammy. It sounds like a rammy as well, we didn’t really know what we were doing. In fact, I don’t think we know what we’re doing now!
“It was very exploratory the first one and there’s some beautiful things in there.
“It was a coming together and it was a very warm sort of naive sound. We hadn’t really played together.
“With the second one, it’s a great record and it got amazing reviews and I’m not doing it down but, I don’t know, it’s maybe what we thought YTK should be, but with this one we’ve absolutely just relaxed into it.
“We’ve toured together a lot more, we knew each other a lot better and we’re more comfortable with each other as musicians and people.”
Touring the album will begin in March after appearing at January’s Celtic Connections with UK dates in March and other shows in Ireland, Spain and Portugal to follow.
Whilst still enjoying it James says it’s a somewhat more genteel affair today.
“I do like touring but I don’t like it as much as I did when I was 20 years younger! You could really enjoy yourself. There was lots of alcohol and late nights, I was just partying with my pals.
“When it was James Yorkston and The Athletes they were quite a motley bunch – not Motley Crue thankfully.
“Not all the rock n’ roll clichés are true, but we burnt the candle at both ends. We were young men enjoying the situation that we had found ourselves in.
“With YTK it’s a lot calmer Jon and Suhail don’t drink at all and I drink a fraction of what I used to. It’s a lot more relaxed and it’s all about the music and lots of talking.
“It’s like a safe haven for us. I do my solo stuff, my books and the ‘Tae Sup Wi A Fifer’ club so when I get to Yorkston Thorne Khan it has to be a place I can relax in and really love and appreciate the music.
“I’m looking forward to it from that point of view, the bad thing is that it’s still exhausting and I’ll miss my children.”
‘Navarasa: Nine Emotions’ is released on Domino Records on January 24. For tour dates go to www.yorkstonthornekhan.com.