For immediate release: KEN YATES SHARES SOFTLY RADIANT FOURTH FULL-LENGTH ALBUM, CERULEAN, OUT NOW!

For immediate release: KEN YATES SHARES SOFTLY RADIANT FOURTH FULL-LENG TH ALBUM, CERULEAN, OUT NOW!

 

FEATURING POIGNANT FOCUS TRACK,
“DON’T MEAN TO WAKE YOU”
FEAT. STEPHANIE LAMBRING

SEE KEN YATES LIVE
ACROSS CANADA + THE U.S.
THIS SUMMER

GET TICKETS HERE

PLUS, A SHOW AT THE ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
IN BURLINGTON, ONTARIO WITH KATHLEEN EDWARDS ON AUGUST 9

GET TICKETS HERE

 

Courtesy of Ken Yates | Download hi-res LP artworkCourtesy of Ken Yates | Download hi-res LP artwork

“It’s another lyrical vessel of yearning and emotional reckoning matched up with strummed acoustic guitar, further setting the scene for what Cerulean has in store.”

“Cerulean is more astral than backroads, a soundscape that gives Yates room to ruminate, approaching the concert hall atmospherics of The War on Drugs, Andy Shauf, and Big Thief.”

“An enchanting song of acceptance and resolve, Ken Yates’ “The Big One” is a soothing and stirring apocalyptic lullaby that finds refuge in the face of life’s fragility.”

“Yates has now asserted himself as one of Canada’s most unique folk artists with a true knack for effective songwriting.”

“Ken has earned a strong reputation as a bona-fide composer who combines his emotionally charged storytelling with some incredible and unforgettable melodies.”

Photo credit: Jen Squires

Today, Canadian singer-songwriter Ken Yates shares his fourth full-length album, Cerulean, where the musician emerges from the depths of despair to recognize life’s imperfections and ultimately finds hope and acceptance. The captivating LP is out everywhere now, along with rousing single “Don’t Mean To Wake You” featuring Stephanie Lambring.

In addition to the new album, Yates will be touring this summer across Canada and the U.S. highlighted by new co-bill dates with Stephanie Lambring announced this week. Yates will be supporting recent collaborator Kathleen Edwards at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario on August 9, as well as a festival slot on July 15-17 at the Home County Music and Art Festival in London, Ontario. Multiple dates feature artists like Jadea Kelly, Abigail Lapell, Jenny Berkel and Brian Dunne. Grab Tickets to see Yates and Edwards here, and see the full Home County Festival lineup and learn more about entry here. Tickets to all shows this summer are now available here.

Cerulean meets Yates at his darkest and most vulnerable, as he transforms the pain of grief, fear and loss into an 11-track quest towards hope, light and peace. A crucial vehicle out of the depths of darkness and bitterness for Yates, Cerulean serves as a powerful reemergence filled with his signature remarkable vocal intimacy as well as a profound yet candid peek into the universal human experience. Along with producer and collaborator Jim Bryson, the LP the duo teamed up to create a hard reset, a painful look in the mirror–one that allows Yates the space to come to terms with life’s challenges and heal.

“Over the last 2 years, the songs from ‘Cerulean’ have been a refuge for me during an extremely difficult time in life,” shares Yates. “Around the same time as the pandemic arrived, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, and given 7 months to live. It felt like life changed overnight, and it was a lot to process all at once.”

“The result was a wave of sadness, anger, anxiety and bitterness at a level I hadn’t experienced before, and suddenly there was nothing to distract me from it,” Yates continues. “While I didn’t know it at the time, these songs were my way of moving through the stages of grief. From my fear about the state of the world (The Big One, The Future Is Dead), to the sleepless, anxious nights (Don’t Mean To Wake You), to working through my anger and sadness (Small Doses, Half-Clenched Teeth, Grocery Store), and finally, to recognizing the abundance of good in my life (Best of the Broken Things, Good Things).”

Now, two years later, Yates is able to find peace, calm and refuge when listening back to the body of work that carried him through such extraordinary anguish. “When I listen back to these songs now, I can hear myself processing these feelings in real time, and trying to find small moments of peace. Cerulean as a whole is ultimately about searching for that calm/peace, however fleeting it may be.”

Amidst deep uncertainty and devastating grief, Yates created a body of work that propelled him through the darkness. The culmination of this pain resulted in, Yates says, “A wave of fear, anger, anxiety and bitterness at a level I hadn’t experienced before, and suddenly there was nothing to distract me from it. While I didn’t know it at the time, these songs were my way of moving through the stages of grief.” Specifically referencing moments on the album, Yates explains its central themes, “From my fear about the state of the world (The Big One, The Future Is Dead), to the sleepless, anxious nights (Don’t Mean To Wake You), to working through my bitterness and anger (Small Doses, Half-Clenched Teeth, Grocery Store), and finally, to recognizing the abundance of good in my life (Best of the Broken Things, Good Things).”

Reflecting back on the album now, Yates hears himself heal, putting himself back together as he processes his own grief and makes his way through some of life’s most difficult moments to eventually find a sense of peace. Yates explains, “When I listen back to these songs now, I can hear myself processing these feelings in real time, and trying to find small moments of peace. Cerulean as a whole is ultimately about searching for that calm/peace, however fleeting it may be.”

The third track on the latest album, “Don’t Mean To Wake You,” featuring Stephanie Lambring, puts words to the experience of not being able to quiet one’s brain. The song details the specific, exhausting thoughts that race before finally falling asleep at night and not being able to possibly understand how the person next to you can sleep so soundly. Yates recalls these instances, adding, “You know how as soon as your head hits the pillow, your brain seems to wake up and suddenly starts skimming through your entire life? This song is about that. One of those nights where you can’t fathom falling asleep, or how the person next to you could possibly be asleep while you’re this awake. You don’t want to wake them up, but also you’re totally fucking going to wake them up.”

The full-length release follows its previously-released singles: golden hour soundtrack, “Honest Light,” featuring Caroline Marie Brooks, “Best of the Broken Things,” “Consolation Prize” featuring Katie Pruitt and the apocalyptic lullaby “The Big One” featuring Kathleen Edwards. FLOOD Magazine, who premiered “Consolation Prize” wrote the track features, “downcast energy and confessional lyrics while adding layers to its lush soundscape.” FLOOD also adds that the ski-themed video, also directed by Cook, sees Yates “celebrate last place” and presents “Yates himself on the slopes, distractedly downhill-racing rather than busting out flashy moves.”

Continuing their support of Cerulean as they usher in the newest era of Ken Yates, FLOOD Magazine also recently premiered a new installment of their Neighborhoods live sessions, this time, featuring Ken Yates playing a new track, “Grocery Store,” on a rooftop in the west side of Toronto. FLOOD wrote that the track is a, “It’s another lyrical vessel of yearning and emotional reckoning matched up with strummed acoustic guitar, further setting the scene for what Cerulean has in store.”
In May 2020, Yates released his third album, Quiet Talkers, which was met with high praise from tastemakers like Atwood Magazine, who wrote the album’s track, “Surviving is Easy” is “an earnest, heartfelt rendering of everyday struggle.” Author and host of the popular The Minimalists Podcast, Joshua Fields Millburn said of the album, “That ebullient feeling when you stumble into something special—that’s what I felt when I happened upon this album. A quiet masterpiece—winsome, muscular songwriting, perfect for a late-night drive.” Praise also has come in the form of a co-sign from fellow musician John Mayer, who said, “Want to hear a great song? I mean a REALLY great song? Ken Yates wrote a tune called “I Don’t Wanna Fall In Love” and posted a live video of it on YouTube. This song moved me when I first heard it and it still does today.”
Over the last decade, Ken Yates has solidified himself as a prolific musician, combining heartfelt lyricism, genuine authenticity and hypnotic guitar strums. After studying at the Berklee College of Music, Yates released The Backseat EP in 2011, followed by his full-length debut Twenty-Three in 2013. He won the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award in 2014 for his song “The One That Got Away” and released his second album, Huntsville, in 2016, produced by Jim Bryson. By 2017, Yates was making waves in folk with his poignant songwriting, winning the awards for Canadian Folk Music Award for both Songwriter of the Year and New Artist of the Year. Now, with a fresh perspective and renewed sense of self, Yates brings honesty, growth and profound peace to his latest work, Cerulean. Nonetheless, Cerulean feels like a hard reset on Yates’ art and artistry. Reuniting with producer Jim Bryson, the album firmly steps into indie folk and alternative territories – he cites Big Thief, Andy Shauf, and The War On Drugs as a few of his inspirations.
The long-awaited fourth LP from Ken Yates, Cerulean, is out everywhere now. Through gentle, tranquil guitar strums and intimate lyricism, Ken Yates is able to transform pain into beauty, darkness to light and grief into hope. Over 11 tracks, the singer paves his own path to healing and happiness, inviting all to join him. Hear the new album and the Ken Yates classics live this summer across Ontario, Canada, Michigan, and Londonderry, NH this summer. Tickets are available to see Ken Yates with Kathleen Edwards here, see Yates at the Home County Music Festival here and get tickets to all other dates are on sale here. Connect with Ken Yates on InstagramFacebook and Twitter for more.

Ken Yates Summer 2022 Tour Dates

June 8 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI
June 11 – Pumpstock – East Lansing, MI
June 18 – Bayfield Town Hall – Bayfield, ON w/ Jadea Kelly
June 19 – Bowie’s – Smiths Falls, ON
June 20 – The Red House – Kingston, ON
June 22 – The Cameron House – Toronto, ON
June 23 – Aeolian Hall – London, ON w/ Abigail Lapell
June 25 – Mills Hardware – Hamilton, ON w/ Abigail Lapell and Jenny Berkel
July 15-17 – Home County Festival – London, ON
July 27 – Concerts On The Common – Londonderry, NH w/ Brian Dunne
August 9 – Royal Botanical Gardens – Burlington, ON supporting Kathleen Edwards
September 27 – Southgate House – Newport, KY co-bill with Stephanie Lambring
September 28 – SPACE – Evanston, IL co-bill with Stephanie Lambring
September 29 – 20 Front Street – Lake Orion, MI co-bill with Stephanie Lambring
October 1 – The Timber House – Rochester, NY co-bill with Stephanie Lambring
October 5 – World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA co-bill with Stephanie Lambring
October 6 – The Spire Center – Plymouth, MA co-bill with Stephanie Lambring
October 8 – Cafe 939 The Red Room – Boston, MA co-bill with Stephanie Lambring

Tracklisting: Cerulean (LP)
01. The Big One (feat. Kathleen Edwards)
02. The Future Is Dead
03. Don’t Mean To Wake You (feat. Stephanie Lambring)
04. Consolation Prize (feat. Katie Pruitt)
05. Small Doses
06. Best Of The Broken Things
07. Honest Light (feat. Caroline Marie Brooks)
08. Half Clenched Teeth
09. Good Things (feat. Liz Longley)
10. Grocery Store
11. Cerulean

Ken Yates Bio:

“I used to go searching for the darkness,” Ken Yates says. “With this record, the darkness found me first. This is me finding my way out of it.”

Channeling pain into beauty, Ken Yates’ fourth album is a breathtaking triumph of the human spirit. The cool-hued Cerulean captures the artist’s intimate reckoning as he grieved his dying mother, giving listeners a vivid window into the rollercoaster of intense thoughts and emotions that accompany such a personal, yet universal experience. The result is a transcendent record that surges with tightly held energy and intimate moments. The listener hears the artist growing in real time, moving towards a space of acceptance and peace as he himself moved to the country, began therapy, and wrote the songs he needed to hear.

Cerulean may be born from grief, but it is not musically grieving: its surefooted and softly radiant arrangements shine with the quiet hope of a soul put through the wringer. “This is the first time that I’ve made a record where I feel like the songs were going to be written whether I wanted to release an album or not,” Yates explains. “I was writing because I needed to. I never would have described songwriting as a cathartic process in the past; it was just something I liked to do.”

With three albums under his belt, the Ontario born songwriter spent the past decade establishing himself as a talented folk artist with a penchant for thoughtful lyrics and evocative melodies. He won two Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2017, and supported Passenger on both the European and North American legs of his recent tour.

Nonetheless, Cerulean feels like a hard reset on Yates’ art and artistry. Reuniting with producer Jim Bryson, the album firmly steps into indie folk and alternative territories – he cites Big Thief, Andy Shauf, and The War On Drugs as a few of his inspirations. Thematically, this is Yates at his most honest and raw. “The record begins with a tone of paranoia facing the daily fear of what the world is becoming,” he explains. “As the album progresses, the songs begin to look more and more inward. Moving through the anxiety and bitterness I was feeling. Still, there’s a lot of positivity in it. Maybe I was trying to take a step back to remind myself of all the good things and the full spectrum of color in my life. My wife and I moved out of our apartment in Toronto to the country, got a dog, and found a bigger space where I was able to make a little musical corner for myself. I started seeing a therapist too. That, along with working on this record, helped pull me out of the foggy bitterness I was in.”

“Reflecting back now, I can almost hear myself processing what I was going through in real time, to the point where even the track listing was obvious–an accurate timeline of the feelings and emotions I was dealing with.”

Cerulean opens with “The Big One (ft. Kathleen Edwards),” an achingly poignant song that starts, quite poetically, at the end. “A friend kept talking about The Big One, a high-magnitude earthquake expected to strike the Pacific Northwest. In the last couple of years it feels like we have all developed a slight doomsday mentality, myself included; feeling like the world might be ending. Of course, we’re not really sure how, so that song is reckoning with the ‘armageddon’, and a realization of how trivial a lot of our personal relationships or conflicts can be when we are staring face-to-face with the end. The only thing to do is ride out your last few moments with the people you love.”

Yates dives deeper into himself as Cerulean progresses, searching for meaning in the world and working through everything from insomnia, denial, and nihilism, to hope and appreciation. The artist envelops himself in a blanket of plaintive, somber introspection on “Best of the Broken Things,” a comforting ballad in which he gives a pep talk to his own reflection.

An album standout, he paints a portrait of relatable restlessness on “Don’t Mean to Wake You” (ft. Stephanie Lambring), a warm and driving folk rock reverie. Yates finds himself lost in a pool of thoughts that gnaw at him so much that he has to turn over and wake his partner. It’s as much an attempt to save himself from himself, as it is a gentle cry for help.

The dynamic and driving “Honest Light” similarly finds him reassuring himself, this time from within. “My wife always refers to golden hour as ‘honest light’, when the light illuminates all the dust on your floor and the crumbs on your counter”, Yates explains. “I had the line, ‘life is like a cheap wine, it don’t get any better with time.’ I merged the title and line together as sort of this acceptance that things are not alright, but you’ll be alright.”

This mature recognition of life’s imperfection proves the lifeblood of Cerulean, and every time Yates seems to be on the verge of sinking, he swims – held afloat not only by his own inner strength, but also by his community. Cerulean is a group effort, with features from singer/songwriter contemporaries including Kathleen Edwards, Stephanie Lambring, Katie Pruitt, and more.

“Although these songs were born in a period of isolation, it turned out to be my most collaborative album yet. There are full band arrangements on every song, and a few of my favourite artists lended their voices, which really brought this record to life”.

After forty minutes spent exploring a world of vulnerable depths and soaring sonics, Cerulean closes in a moment of tranquility. “The final song, ‘Cerulean’, is about searching for balance – an equilibrium. We move through this endless colour wheel of emotions every day, but you have to find those small moments of peace and acceptance, and reassure yourself, ‘I’m okay.’

Yates’ mother Beverley passed away in August 2021.

“I’m strangely in a better headspace now than I was a year ago when she was still with us,” he admits. “I may owe that to taking a hard look at myself through the lens of these songs”.

Now that he’s on the other side, Yates says this album proved a transformative experience – allowing him to grow, while giving him some much-needed resolution to the past few years.

“I feel more open than ever, at peace with where I am as an artist,” he reflects. “This is the first time I’ve had a real personal story I wanted to tell. It does feel like I’ve had a moment to reset my life, and now I can start to share that with the rest of the world.”

Loss is a shared human experience. Through Cerulean, Ken Yates not only puts the full scope of his own healing process on display, but he also reminds us that we’re not alone in our pain – and that with time, we may just find our way to acceptance. (Mitch Mosk)

Still from “Honest Light” featuring Caroline Marie Brooks (Official Music Video) dir. Adam Cook

For more information on Ken Yates, please visit:
For all Ken Yates press materials and inquiries, please contact:
Leigh Greaney / leigh@bighassle.com
Romy Bayhack / romy@bighassle.com

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