By Tom Haraldsen
The first time I interviewed Rachael Yamagata, the singer/songwriter was touring to celebrate the 10th anniversary of her first album, “Happenstance.” Salt Lake City was one of her destinations, and that was nearly three years ago.
She’s kind of been touring ever since.
“This is my 22nd tour in the last three years,” she told me during a telephone interview from Ashville, North Carolina. “I have not had a break since the last time we talked, and I’m pretty much living out of a suitcase these days. It’s been a mind-bogging endeavor.”
She’s coming back into town this Sunday, playing at the State Room in Salt Lake City. Her show starts at 8 p.m., and a few tickets are still available (www.thestateroom.com).
Her show is titled Songs-Stories-Solo, and it’s the type of performance she loves best: an intimate venue, interaction with the crowd, and limited orchestration. It’s her, an acoustical guitar, and heartfelt music and lyrics.
“I love the big concerts—who wouldn’t—but this is the best of the other side,” she said. “It’s really been challenging for me to see what I’m made of. Could I even pull off a show like this? But it’s been so empowering, audiences are loving it, and I’m having a blast.”
She draws inspiration from those she’s singing to—not only for her concert performances, but for new music.
“People are what fascinates me, their motivations for how they take on their lives and how they connect with one another. We really need some positivity and sharing the endurance, especially with what’s happening politically. It can be overwhelming. So I try to reach out and touch and share those messages of hope when I sing. That’s what I enjoy most about my profession.”
Rachael’s show this weekend will be a bit different than her other Utah performances. She’s added an interactive video than embellishes her soul-baring songs of love lost, perseverance and triumph through the human condition. And as always, there’s a bit of comedy in her performances.
When her touring ends later this year, she’s going to take a long-deserved break, return to her home in upper state New York and begin working on new material. “I don’t expect to go back out on the road again until early 2019,” she told me.
“It always comes back to love and fear—trying to stay as educated as possible and up on current events, and trying not to contribute to anything that’s not constructive. It’s hard to get political if it’s not going to make a difference, so I focus on what I can do to help, to contribute to making the world a better place.”
Visit www.rachaelyamagata.com to learn more. And come see her show Sunday night.