Pete Yorn

Live from New Jersey

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Since making an impressive debut in spring 2001 with the country-rock-flavored Musicforthemorningafter, singer/songwriter Pete Yorn has gained a loyal fan base. The double-disc set Live From New Jersey highlights Yorn's undeniable star power both as a lyricist and as a performer. So what if his second album, 2003's Day I Forgot, didn't fare well with the critics. Yorn has already established himself to be a real artist. His live shows capture the grit and soul that's not as obvious on a studio-produced album, much like Ryan Adams and sometimes Eddie Vedder. His honesty and earnestness is apparent, but Yorn is so much more convincing when he's performing these songs on-stage. A cover of bluesman Junior Kimbrough's "I Feed Good Again" kicks things off, a textured acoustic number that sets a confident tone for the evening. He rummages through the bulk of his only two albums, and songs such as "Black," "Long Way Down," and "Strange Condition" are evenly spread throughout, capturing the simplicity of disc one. His biggest hit, the feel-good rush of "Life on a Chain," maintains the momentum of Yorn's infectious live show for disc two. His backing band -- guitarist Jason Johnson, drummer Luke Adams, pianist Joe Kennedy, and bass player R. Walt Vincent -- have never sounded tighter. Live From New Jersey sweats with their and Yorn's excitement for putting on a solid live show. "For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)" and cover version of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" prove that furthermore. "Bandstand in the Sky," which was written on the day Jeff Buckley died and is a tribute to him, is even revamped for bittersweet country-rock romp compared to its original somber flow. Yorn is personable in concert, too. He laughs and jokes with the crowd. His most charming moment comes prior to delivering "Crystal Village," where he explains that someone accused him of mimicking Cat Stevens. Yorn insists that such an opinion is ridiculous, for he ripped off Wilco on "She's a Jar" instead. The only similarity that Yorn shares with Wilco is that they're both talented musical acts. Yorn and Jeff Tweedy wear their hearts on their sleeves, in turn seducing the pants off anyone who pays attention. Live From New Jersey will surely do the same. If not, Yorn doing a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City," let alone performing the song in the Boss' home state, should do it. [Live From New Jersey was originally available as an exclusive release on Yorn's official website.]

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