"Surviving is easy, but living is hard," Ken Yates tells us on his new set, Quiet Talkers. We get through, day to day, but being happy with life is a whole different story for most of us. A self-professed Quiet Talker and full-time observer, Yates lets us in on his own thoughts of how to navigate the journey, with lots of stops to battle the internal demons and external demands.
Produced by the nimble Jim Bryson, at times Yates' voice is as soft, sad and soothing as vintage Paul Simon, and loaded with lines just as powerful. "It's the middle of the night, but you're easy to talk to when you're wasted," he sings in the title cut, desperate to feel connected and not lonely. "When We Came Home" is about that trip back to the birthplace you've left and swore you'd never return, "where the streets flow through my memory like some kind of disease."
There's "Disillusion Day," where "We've been watching the TV, wondering who to trust. They make us believe there's somebody fighting for us."
So yeah, Yates is singing what we're all thinking, and perhaps has tapped into this monumental blah we've been feeling, even before Covid days. Luckily he has a voice filled with empathy, so when he sings "I'll keep you safe from yourself," even though its to a troubled partner, we can feel like he's got our backs too.