James Yorkston – ‘The Cellardyke Recording & Wassailing Society’

Fife songwriter plies wry humour and folk with sublime results

The time for Fife’s softly spoken James Yorkston to be ranked as one of the country’s great songwriters is long overdue. His honesty, wry humour and rippling folk guitar are on peak form on his collaboration-focused eighth album. ‘The Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society’ includes in its membership former Fence Collective pals KT Tunstall and The Pictish Trail, long-term partners John Thorne and Emma Smith and, bringing a swish of sensitive production tricks, fidgety Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor. Across a leisurely hour, the slow double bass pull of ‘Broken Wave (A Blues For Doogie)’, the deadpan spoken word and pattering steel drums of ‘Guy Fawkes’ Signature’ and the chatty lyricism on cuckolding regret ‘The Very, Very Best’ stand out, but it’s all golden.

Stuart Huggett