Folkadelphia Session: Richard Youngs

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What impresses me about British musician Richard Youngs is his ability to craft compelling songs regardless of structure, form, or medium. Since about 1990, Youngs, under his own name, has been working in a world of pure artistic vision and possibility. It is because of this adventurous musical spirit that his releases are often referred to as “unclassifiable,” existing beyond the normal genre pidgeonholes. It might be better to say that Youngs has a supreme love and enthusiasm for music and music-making of all shapes and sizes. This is where we find Richard in 2013; with a new release entitled Summer Through My Mind, Youngs was challenged by the Ba Da Bing label to record an American country record. Of course, with Youngs distinctive musical thumbprint, I don’t think you can quite call this a country record in the American sense, or perhaps even in any earthly sense. This could instead be a country record for the cosmos, for deep space, for a solitary black hole. What we hear is Youngs at possibly his most stripped down, stripped back, and earnest. Country record aside, this might be Youngs’ most “singer-songwriter” record – much of it is acoustic guitar and voice, peppered with wayward harmonica and vocal manipulation. What new uncharted musical territory will Richard Youngs explore next?

Youngs has released over 40 “Richard Youngs” albums and has collaborated, contributed, and compiled many more recordings over the years (just take a gander at his Wiki page – crazy!) His latest record is a great place to start to dig into his music, as well as the Jagjaguwar releases, but go crazy and investigate!

We were lucky enough to record our session with Richard Youngs during his rare stateside appearances, before his show at the Old First Reformed United Church of Christ on September 22nd.

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