In this age of digital singles and music streaming, singer-songwriter Pete Yorn still believes in albums.
“I still have this romantic notion of making a complete album,” the Los Angeles-based New Jersey native said. “I want to tell a whole story, all the way through. And I’m still into sequencing and the way that it will play as a whole.”
Yorn recorded nearly 40 songs for his upcoming album.
“There’s not much I can reveal about it,” he said of his fifth solo studio project. “We’re figuring out which stories I’m going to tell.”
Contrary to the careful planning that goes into making his albums, Yorn’s recent solo touring thrives on spontaneity.
“I had the urge to get out and play the way I started, stripped back, me and my guitar,” he said. “And it seemed like a good opportunity to try out some new material and reconnect with everybody. It had been some time since I toured.”
After his initial “You and Me” touring went well in May, Yorn continued playing solo throughout 2014.
“Now we’re going to do the South a little bit,” he said, referring to the Southern touring that includes his Sunday show at the House of Blues.
Playing solo with just his own guitar accompaniment, Yorn said, “represents freedom to me. No set list. I’m always flying by the seat of my pants. The unknown is scary but at the same time it’s really fulfilling. You never know how the show’s going to go, but somehow it always happens. It seems to be a good experience for everybody. I usually feel like a real connection has been made. Not only the audience to me, but me to the audience. It’s cool to connect on the simplest level.”
Yorn expects his new album to be out later this year. It follows his self-titled 2010 album, produced by Frank Black. Yorn previously hadn’t known that Black, frontman for that classic alternative-rock foursome, the Pixies, worked as a producer.
“We made that record in a week,” Yorn said. “It has a lot of energy. It’s one of my favorites among the albums that I’ve released.”
Yorn’s collaboration with Black followed his duet album, “Break Up,” with actress and singer Scarlett Johansson. Inspired by Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot duet recordings, York and Johansson recorded “Break Up” in 2006.
It wasn’t released until 2009, in part because of Yorn’s other projects.
“And we weren’t sure what to do with it,” he said of the duet album. “But then we found a home for it and it ended up being really successful. It’s probably my second or third most successful record.
“It was really fun promoting it with Scarlett, and it really opened us up to an international audience. It did really well in Europe. France, especially, and South America. It ended up being a great thing even though we made it in a garage. Scarlett came in and sang for a few days. We made the whole record for, maybe, $6,000.”
York sees himself as a loner when it comes to writing new songs but sometimes, as with his collaborations with Black and Johansson, he’ll play well with others. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck contributed to Yorn’s gold-selling 2003 album, “Musicforthemorningafter,” and the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl participated in his 2006 release, “Nightcrawler.”
“There are times when it’s like, ‘You know what? Let’s work with somebody else. Just for fun or to see what it brings.’ Even if nothing comes from it, it’s a learning experience and a mirror back to myself.”
Turning 40 last July gave Yorn some cause to reflect.
“I came to the realization that, as my grandpa, who lived to 103, said, ‘It’s just a number. It means nothing.’ We’re still in the game. Let’s go.”