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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Artist of the Day: Pete Yorn


To many, Pete Yorn may be just another young dude with a guitar.  But, he may also be one of those artists who you think you’ve never heard of, but then you hear a song like “Strange Condition” or “Just Another” and realize that you heard that song in the 2000 Jim Carey flick Me, Myself and Irene (the film in which he also scored) or maybe you recognize the songs from teen dramas like Smallville or Veronica Mars. 

But it's understandable if you don’t recognize him, with the unlimited amount of singer-songwriters out in the music scene these days, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish one from another.  You go from guys like Ryan Adams to David Gray to Damien Rice and sometimes the lines get blurred.  One way these artists have tried to distance themselves from other acts similar to themselves is to pair with a famous actress with a knack for country twang and ‘50s doo wop.  We’ve seen it with M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel, and now New Jersey native Pete Yorn is trying his hand at this formula—with none other than A-list actress Scarlett Johansson.


The result is the duo’s debut album Break Up, which was inspired by French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot duets back in the late ‘60s, that mixes country ballads with catchy acoustic rhythms by Yorn.  It’s hard not to notice the similarities between Johansson and Yorn and 2008’s breakthrough artist She & Him, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The new actress/guitarist pairing is good, but where Pete Yorn has always been strongest is in his solo ventures.

He gave his fans a taste of both this year, releasing his fourth studio album, Back and Forth on June 23 and a few months later releasing Break Up on September 15.

Back and Forth is full of what most Yorn fans expect of him; light piano, strong acoustics and Yorn’s airy vocal style.  The album hit #32 on the Billboard 200, which is his second highest ranking on the charts, behind 2003’s Day I Forgot which hit #18 on the Billboard charts. 

On top of releasing two albums, Yorn also spent a large part of the year opening for Coldplay’s Viv la Vida tour as well as headlining a tour for Back and Forth.

The second leg of this tour has just been announced and luckily for those buried in books at the University of Georgia, a much needed study-break could be spent catching Yorn at the 40 Watt Club on November 10. 

Those of you who want to get a taste of what the new album has to offer can head to Pete Yorn’s official website where you can listen to Back and Forth in its entirety. 

-          Jessica Cole 

Currently Listening to:  “Paradise Cove” by Pete Yorn

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