Well Connected: Singer-Songwriter Pete Yorn Delves into His Extensive Back Catalog for Solo Acoustic Show

Concert Preview

Thirteen years ago, New Jersey native and budding indie musician Pete Yorn, who established himself on the Los Angeles indie folk scene and signed his first record deal in 1999, was asked to record the soundtrack for the Farrelly brothers' film Me, Myself and Irene. Yorn contributed gems such as "Strange Condition" and "Just Another" to the soundtrack, and those two songs eventually found their way onto Yorn's official debut, the 2001 indie pop gem musicforthemorningafter. The album also yielded the hit single "Life on a Chain," a song distinguished by Yorn's nasally vocals and its brisk melody.

In the nearly decade and a half since that album landed Yorn on Rolling Stone's "10 [artists] to watch" list, the guy has recorded an album with starlet Scarlett Johansson, released a handful of rocking solo albums and taken up playing entirely acoustic sets. This week, Yorn brings his acoustic act to the Beachland Ballroom, promising fans a taste of just about everything that his discography has to offer.

"The last show I did like this was in San Diego in June," Yorn says via phone. "I looked at the set list after the show and I realized I did songs from every single release that I ever did — even duet projects and the old songs, and everything."

Yorn anticipates the set will include some of the material that he's been working on for a new solo record due sometime next year.

"I don't know. I'm not that good at speaking about my own music as far as what direction it takes," Yorn says when asked about the new material. "I kind of figure it out years later and go, 'Oh, that's what I'm doing.' But I'm excited. It feels like a natural progression of what I do."

When asked why he decided on a solo acoustic tour to play his largely electric, alternative rock tunes, Yorn says that the reasoning is pretty simple. He just wanted to.

"I've certainly played a lot of shows and a lot of electric sets with a band behind me, and I really like that, I like that energy. I really wanted to do some solo shows and it had been a long time since I had done any solo shows," he says. "I felt like it would be a fun way to really get into my catalog and kind of have the freedom to jump around and take requests and just connect on a really intimate level with the fans."

Yorn notes that he has been playing songs from his earliest works, musicforthemorningafter and its followup, 2003's Day I Forgot.

"It always felt good to play those songs, and it still feels good to play those songs," he says. "I look at it like I was put here play those songs. I will play them until they don't feel good anymore. It's fun to delve back into my work."

Even though Dorn says he doesn't really feel like it's been more than a decade since he released musicforthemorningafter, he thinks the songs still hold up.

"I never paid much attention, but it has been a long time since I put out my first release in 2001 and when I look back at all the material I've put out since then, it's really wild to me all the different directions I've gone and all the different choices I have that I can pull from to play at these shows," he says.

Yorn notes that playing solo also allows him a certain level of spontaneity that he doesn't get while playing with a band.

"I get a kick out of it when someone requests something that may not have been on the top of my mind but I take a shot at it and pull it out, that's always fun," he says. "But I feel like the songs really work, they work with a band and they work really stripped back as well so they're just extensions of me I guess."

Yorn says that more has changed about him over the past 13 years than the number of records under his belt.

"I'm not the same person I was 15 years ago; there's a lot about me that's the same but you know, you live your life and you grow, hopefully," he says. "I kind of approach the shows from a place more of unity in my mind than I would have years ago. I was a young, kind of shy kid and I think it was always me against the world when I would get up there, and now I've opened up a little bit over the seven or eight years and when I play a show and see the people who come to see me I feel much more connected to everybody than I ever did. For me, it makes the show so much better."

An Evening with Pete Yorn: You & Me Acoustic

9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124. Tickets: $25, beachlandballroom.com.

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