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Pete Yorn 

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  • Pete Yorn

Almost three albums into his own career, Columbia Records’ hip-haircut poster boy Pete Yorn still makes moves on the mantles of his idols. Yorn has previously copped the musical stylings of artists like Jeff Buckley, The Smiths, Wilco and The King for his own work. Not to disappoint, he’s now grabbed his acoustic guitar and hit the road sans band only after seeing fellow Garden State rocker Bruce Springsteen perform solo in May 2005.

“I saw Bruce Springsteen play a couple of shows at Pantages Theatre in L.A.,” says Yorn. “I was really impressed with the way one person can really play with dynamics, make things go from a quiet whisper to a loud storm just with a voice and a guitar.”

After all, a large part of Yorn’s charm is his tendency to pay homage to his own musical idols with an aesthetic all his own. With his debut album, 2001’s Musicforthemorningafter, Yorn borrowed the hushed vocals and heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics that defined Jeff Buckley, with some songs heavily referencing the stylized rhythmic guitar riffs of The Smiths. However, his 2003 follow-up, The Day I Forgot, found Yorn cutting his teeth, attempting to find a voice and sound of his own. But the effort was shot down by critics who had embraced his first album. Yorn swiftly retreated to the safety of a formulaic live album, Live from New Jersey. It’s no wonder that, just before playing “Crystal Village,” he admits the song is Wilco emulation. On this solo acoustic tour, he’s often ignoring his own songs for covers. Yorn has hit a plateau, though, with his copycat artistry.

Yorn insists that with Nightcrawler, his upcoming album due out in August, a fresh sound will finally emerge. “People weren’t ready for that second record or to evolve with me. This new record is completely different than both records I put out previously,” he says. “I’ve finally achieved what I wanted to musically.”

It’s high time.

Pete Yorn brings his solo acoustic tour, You & Me, to the Cat’s Cradle at 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 15. Tickets are $18.50-$20. Yorn plays at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh that day at 5 p.m.

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