The hook-filled pop-rock and acoustic balladry on Pete Yorn's first few albums got him pegged as a sensitive singer-songwriter type, albeit one with a tendency to rock out on tunes like his 2001 breakthrough single "Life on a Chain."
To hear Yorn tell it, though, his life offstage was more Keith Richards than coffee shop crooner.
"Being on the road and that lifestyle, it's no surprise a lot of artists turn to drugs or become alcoholics," Yorn says. "When you're younger doing that, or any age doing that, it's hard. It's a weird place to be.
"I lived in that world for a long time, I just lived full-on excess ... At some point, I was like, 'Alright, do you want to live the rest of your life like this, or do you want to do more — have all these other things you might want, too?'"
Pursuing those "other things" is what led to a six-year pause between albums before the March arrival of ArrangingTime, a sonically diverse batch of his strongest songs to date. While that time was spent writing countless tunes and recording 40 before choosing 12 for the album, Yorn also got married and became a father, focusing squarely on his personal life, and "that's been amazing."
Touring as a new dad is going to be far different than the old days of chain-smoking and drinking whiskey all night. Yorn's only hitting the road a couple of weeks at a time because he doesn't want to miss his daughter's first year with months-long excursions. He's also more interested in putting his energy into the shows now that he's 41, rather than saving it for the post-gig party.
Translating the lush orchestration of the new songs via a four-piece band will be a challenge, whether it's the echoing flourishes of the oh-so-catchy "Lost Weekend" or electronic-tinged "Halifax" and "I'm Not The One," but Yorn says his touring crew has "found a great balance of musicianship and representing the record in a cool, fun way."
Balance seems key for Yorn circa 2016. While his new album title could be a nod to the challenges of work/life harmony, or the time-management tricks of fatherhood, he sounds recharged from his sabbatical.
"I almost feel like I did when I put my first record out," Yorn says. "Untarnished from the road, kind of fresh. I worked really hard to get to that place, and that's inspiring.
"And the bigger picture, in life, that you can kind of reset and still be creative and get that stoke you did when you were 25 years old? That's cool. People tend to get jaded as they get older, and get discouraged and all that shit, but it doesn't have to be that way." ♦
Pete Yorn • Sun, April 10, at 8 pm • Sold out • All-ages • The Bartlett • 228 W. Sprague • thebartlettspokane.com • 747-2174