James Yorkston, Pictish Trail and Seamus Fogarty

19 Mar 2013 in Highland, Moray, Music, Showcase

Tolbooth, Stirling, 16 March 2013, and touring

“WE sacked Seamus (Fogarty),” quipped Pictish Trail Johnny Lynch when he and James Yorkston emerged together following the interval, “he didn’t sell enough merchandise over the break.”

IT WAS a comment which set the tone for an evening of bantering camaraderie and do-it-themselves minimalism in the typical Fence style, with our three hosts having lugged their own assortment of guitars, samplers and (in Yorkston’s case) an elaborate-looking nyckelharpa onstage and assembled them around their feet.

James Yorkston

James Yorkston

Yorkston, Lynch and Fogarty’s styles are all different, but with enough overlap to allow this three-way package tour to work by taking it in turns to be each other’s backing group. Between Yorkston’s rich, pastoral alt.folk style and Fogarty’s similarly earthy balladeering there was most crossover, and the pair employed a trad combination of guitar and voice on songs like the former’s Steady As She Goes (“a song about taking acid with your girlfriend’s sister,” apparently) and Surf Song, it’s lyrics jokily messed around with, or the latter’s John Martyn tribute Song For John.

Lynch’s new album Secret Soundz Vol.2, on the other hand, is a treasure chest of electro-acoustic delights, and his wonderful contributions were more leftfield, including a subdued version of his other band Silver Columns’ song Columns or the dense electronica of Michael Rocket. These were only two of many stand-out moments, including Yorkston’s wistful cover of Erasure’s A Little Respect, the trio’s a cappella harmony on Fogarty’s God Damn You Mountain and Yorkston’s striking closer Queen of Spain, although by the end it might have felt to many as if our appetites for each singer’s music hadn’t been entirely satisfied.

James Yorkston, Pictish Trail and Seamus Fogarty play the Eden Court, Inverness, on Tuesday 19th March and the Universal Hall, Findhorn, on Wednesday 20th March.

© David Pollock, 2013