James Yorkston – I Was A Cat From A Book
Even if you didn’t know its background, I Was a Cat… is an emotionally powerful listen. With context, it near overwhelms: in 2010, James Yorkston’s daughter fell seriously ill, sidelining his musical commitments while he focussed all energies on her recovery. Folk is one of those genres where autobiography is presumed to inform a songwriter’s music in an especially direct manner, and certainly it’s impossible to hear the urgent I Can Take All This or the solemnly candid The Fire & The Flames ('all that I want is for you to be well my love') without the connection producing goose-bumps. But dwelling only on personal circumstances results in an unnecessarily reductive assessment of this remarkable album – Yorkston’s best yet, we’d venture. Further highpoints include Just as Scared’s stunning duet with Jill O’Sullivan, and the agitated, breathless Border Song, which underscore the record’s incisive beauty and fiery passion respectively.