James was an integral original member of the much lauded and hugely influential Fence Collective (King Creosote, Pictish Trail, KT Tunstall, Beta Band etc). James’ first steps out of Fife as a solo artist were made in 2001 after he sent a demo cassette to folk-rock legend John Martyn asking for a support slot on the Edinburgh date of John’s upcoming tour, only for John to hear the cassette and offer James all 31 dates of the tour.
Throughout his career, James has released a succession of critically-acclaimed albums. He has toured all over Europe & North America and played at the major UK music festivals: Celtic Connections, Glastonbury, Greenman, End of the Road, Latitude, Bestival, Camp Bestival, T in the Park, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Field Day, Apple Cart, Doune the Rabbit Hole, Homegame, Eye o’ The Dug, Meltdown, BBC Electric Proms, Other Voices (IRL), Trans-Musicale (FRA), A Summer’s Tale (GER), Accelerator (SWE), Soundlabs (ITA) Electric Picnic (IRL) etc.
James has been featured many times on UK television (Including twice on BBC2’s The Culture Show, Newsnight Review, documentaries for Channel 4 and MTV), as well as appearing on TV in Greece, Ireland, Germany, Poland, France, Canada, Italy & America. He has also been regularly played on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6; BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland & BBC Scotland, performing interviews and sessions for John Peel, The Verb, Late Junction, Loose Ends, Lauren Laverne, Marc Riley, Vic Galloway, Janice Forsyth, Tom Morton, Iain Anderson, Dermot O’Leary, Steve Lamaq, Rob Da Bank, Tom Ravenscroft, Jonathan Ross & Janice Long amongst others.
In 2011 his debut book ’It’s Lovely to be Here – The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent‘ was published to great response by The Domino Press / Faber, and his most recent solo album, ‘The Cellardyke Recording and Wassailing Society’ (2014) was similarly well received. This album featured fellow Scots KT Tunstall and The Pictish Trail.
Since 2015, James has programmed his diverse and acclaimed ’Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer‘ club nights in Kirkcaldy which has featured such artists as Dick Gaughan, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Steve Mason, Karine Polwart and Richard Dawson.
In 2016 Freight Press published James’ debut novel. ‘Three Craws’
“THREE CRAWS is the debut novel of James Yorkston, an artist whose music already acclaims a brilliant story-teller, and in these pages he brings those same gifts to the written word. Shining with energy and bittersweet humour, it’s written with a poet’s ear for the language and people and cadence of this singular corner of the country, brought to life in its language, scenery, people and heart. Imagine SUNSET SONG retold by John Michael McDonagh, and you’re something of the way to the place where this novel will take you. It’s a tale of hope and tragedy and regret, and at the same time a hymn of love to the knowes and the shores, the bus-stops and potholes of the East Neuk, THREE CRAWS is a novel of home, and the ties that bind us – indelibly, whether we like it or not – to the places of our birth.” – United Agents