Stripped Down and Evolved, Pete Yorn Returns to Florida


Pete Yorn has built his career as a witness to the human experience. His music finds solace in ordinary experience and discovers the beauty in life’s mundane details. It’s raw and vulnerable and often times uncomfortable. Yet Yorn doesn’t spit shine the gritty truths. He finds a reflection in them.

When Yorn embarked on his recent tour of solo acoustic dates, it was a vulnerable measure he knew would give him the gut check he needs to stay present and connected with his surroundings. There’s nowhere to hide when it’s just you and a guitar.
Performing a select handful of Southeast dates, Yorn stops in Jacksonville for a Jan. 22 show at Jack Rabbits ( “This is going to be a show that encompasses every record and beyond with some new stuff as well,” he says. “I haven’t been to Florida for a while. The last time was 2011 in Orlando so I’m looking forward to getting back to Jacksonville and reconnecting with everyone.”

With a career spanning over 20 years, Yorn is as familiar as a pair of well-worn jeans. His journey is traced in every stitch, the stories ingrained in the fabric of the songs. Stripping his music down to the bone is his gracious offering to the fans who have traveled alongside him.

“I know that a lot of people have had a lot of different experiences with the songs over the years,” says Yorn. “And to kind of revisit some of these songs that I wrote over 20, 25 years ago and bring them back and share them with the audience feels just real, you know?”

Dipping back into his archives, Yorn admits he might need a refresher in some of his earlier material or hope the audience knows the songs enough to fill in any blanks. “Sometimes I’m like ‘how the hell did I remember how to play that song?’ The funny thing is if I’m going to mess something up, it’s usually on the songs that I know the best. I think they call that a brain fart,” he laughs. “Usually, it doesn’t happen but if it does, it’s kind of a funny moment.”

Much of Yorn’s foundation was built on the trilogy of early records – 2001’s Musicforthemorningafter, 2003’s Day Break and Nightcrawler in 2006. The concept wasn’t a trilogy in the literal sense, but the records represented the linear progression of time with a beginning, middle, and end.

“I think it evolved pretty organically in that I realized the themes that kept interesting me, you know love, the absence of love and time and life and how it moves on, just daily frustrations of being human. You go through life and you see that stuff one way and you keep on living and you start to see it from a different angle,” details Yorn. “I just keep looking at all these human experiences from different angles. The whole morning, day and night thing just seemed to represent moving through time and moving through life and hopefully growing and seeing things from different perspectives.”

Over the years, Yorn has continued to evolve as an artist. He toured in support of Coldplay through summer 2009 following the release of his album Back & Forth. He also collaborated with Scarlett Johansson on the 2010 project Break Up. Yorn released self-titled on Vagrant Records produced by Frank Black of The Pixies.

His 2016 studio album Arranging Time feels very vintage Pete Yorn, armed with a new freedom to explore different musical landscapes. The album features folk, blues and synthy-pop rhythms which frame Yorn’s perspective as the ever-present observer.

“There’s a combination of having made a lot of music and experienced life over the years but at the same time one of the guys is a guy I did my first record who I haven’t worked with in a long time,” remarks Yorn. “So, it was like a reconnection there. I think it was building on some kind of old foundation that we’ve built years ago but bringing a new perspective to the table.”

This year, Yorn released his second project with Johansson on the new EP Apart. The pair has hinted at a third album to complete their trilogy in another 10 years. Yorn says the EP, in contrast with the previous collaboration, offers a unique perspective at how life has changed for him over the last decade.

“For someone who really likes to live in the present moment, especially now, looking back, all of that stuff is really just a blessing the way I see it. Being able to grow up in a small town in Jersey and enjoy playing music just for fun. I didn’t know I would do it for a career. To give it a shot and be able to have some success with that and 20 years later to still play these songs and make new songs, I just look at that as a gift,” notes Yorn.

“All the people I’ve met and continue to meet and hear their stories, there is no other way for me to look at it then as humbling and [with] gratitude. I have continued to stay very creative. This past year has probably been the most prolific year I’ve had in a long, long time. I’m doing these last couple acoustic tours and getting ready to release a lot of new music in the world. I hope to be able to keep playing music and as long as people want to hear it, I’ll keep doing it. I appreciate each new year and taking it day by day.”

About Liza Mitchell