“Why so long?”
KCRW DJ Jason Bentley directed the question to singer/songwriter Pete Yorn before a recent live performance at Apogee studios, the private recording studio of producer/mixer Bob Clearmountain in Santa Monica. Bentley was referring to the six year gap between Yorn’s last project (2010’s Pete Yorn) and his new solo album, ArrangingTime, out March 11. Yorn thought for a moment and shrugged; he didn’t seem to think the hiatus was that long—life has way of separating events in a normal fashion, he explained, the way it always does.
Since the release of Yorn (the album), Yorn (the man) has not only gotten married but welcomed a new baby. On top of that, Bentley mentioned Yorn’s other projects and collaborations—an album with Scarlett Johansson, called Break Up, that was huge in France; a self-titled album and shows as part of a band called The Olms—have made him realize he wanted to do an album the way he used to: playing most of the instruments, recording in a casual and comfortable way in friends’ studios. It’s how he recorded his debut album, 2001’s musicforthemorningafter, which was released to fanfare and critical acclaim and solidly launched his career. The album went gold, and the lead single, “Life on a Chain,” was ubiquitous.
After a few more questions and a relaxed chat with Bentley, Yorn and his band performed ten songs. They started out with “Summer Was a Day” and “Lost Weekend” from the new album followed by two tunes from other solo records, closing things out with several from his debut full-length, including “Strange Condition” and “Life on a Chain.” There were only four people playing, but the sonic layers of guitars and strings and catchy melodies on the tunes from ArrangingTime filled the room.
Speaking as someone who played musicforthemorningafter to death when it came out, I find it strange that I lost track of Yorn. But when I first heard “Lost Weekend,” it took me back to the way I felt when I first heard “Life on a Chain” in 2001. And it felt good. Hear for yourself on March 11 when KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic airs a recording of the intimate performance.