Few singer-songwriters are able to transition from the stage to behind the scenes and back again. Enter Pete Yorn – the 41-year-old musical Renaissance man. The New Jersey native writes, composes, arranges, sings, and plays everything from the drums to harmonica and analog synthesizer. He got a modest start as a drummer during his college days, but just a few years later he signed with Columbia Records and hit the ground running. His early success stemmed from his score composition and soundtrack contributions to the big screen film Me, Myself & Irene, released in 2000. Since then, he has continued his healthy blend of creating music under his own jurisdiction whilst making more material for the film industry in between projects. Yorn is now on the eve of releasing his sixth studio album ArrangingTime. Having loyally promoted Yorn’s music over the years, KCRW graciously hosted an intimate studio session with him to showcase some of his greatest musical moments and reveal a few of his new ones which are officially due out next month.
The private experience takes place inside Santa Monica’s Apogee Electronics Corp. This sweet nook is tucked into an unassuming industrial area just a few miles from the coast. It is the perfect setting for a more personal interaction between Yorn and KCRW’s special invited guests. His relaxed approach to taking the stage in front of such a small group makes it feel like he is playing directly for each individual in the tight space. He connects further when he tells the crowd an anecdote about how he began this musical journey. Yorn expresses that he originally wanted to be a drummer. So, while attending Syracuse University in New York in the 90s, he answers his now right hand man Joe Kennedy’s want add to join his band. The rest is history. Almost twenty years later, the two are still creating music together, Kennedy acting as Yorn’s backbone at times.
It is easy to see Yorn’s progression from the point of view of a bright-eyed youngster eager to explore to a well-seasoned traveler who can now draw inspiration from experience. The mood stays whimsically light as he goes from story to story in each song, peppering in just enough of the new stuff to keep everyone interested yet satisfied. He triumphantly concludes with a comically titled new song “She Was Weird” and one of his personal favorite mantras “For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is).” Keeping alive the spirit of the old as he confidently unveils the new, Pete Yorn’s forthcoming album seems to measure up to the bar of its predecessors. Though he has only given a small taste of what is yet to come, the previews will suffice until the album officially drops on March11th. Catch the night’s performance and interview with Yorn on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic March 11th.
Summer Was a Day*
Turn of the Century
On Your Side
Life on a Chain
Social Development Dance
She Was Weird*
*from Yorn’s new album ArrangingTime
Photos by Brian Lowe, courtesy of KCRW