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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lori Yates - Untogether (1997)

Lori Yates was raised in Toronto, and began her singing career at 19 in a new wave band. But despite her city upbringing, her heart was more in the prairies and roots country music. She formed the band Rang Tango and was successful with the "cowpunk" sound made famous by k.d. lang in her early years. This got her the attention of Sony Nashville, who signed her on as a solo artist. She relocated to Nashville, and in 1989 released her first album of contemporary country music, Can't Stop The Girl, but it was not a big success and the label dropped her. She moved back to Canada and Virgin Music, who released the album Breaking Point in 1993, which was still country, but also roots rock and soul. This album also met with only minor success and it would seem she took time off to rethink her direction. Apparently looking for a new audience and perhaps pop chart success, she came back with Untogether, which was a total departure from her previous work. This time she chose to hook up with a group of trip hop musicians called Opium Concepts. She was clearly taken with the sounds and success of groups like Portishead, Morcheeba and Sneaker Pimps and attempted to emulate their sound. While she came close, with a poppier and more accessible sound, she could not emulate the success of those groups. While the single "Lost Highway" received minor radio play in Canada, a second single, "Frequency", tanked, as did the album, and the label dropped her. The audience just could not accept that a country thrush could transform into an electronic diva. Realizing her strengths, she formed the band Hey Stella! a couple of years later and returned to country and roots rock. Over the years she played in various venues and with various bands, and in 2007 she independently released another solo album, The Book Of Minerva, which remains in her comfort zone - acoustic country music. Unfortunately, she stands as a sad example of an artist who shouldn't have strayed so far from their niche, even when the results are as good as this album.

Download Untogether

Lost Highway

Free Me





Make You Stay

My Oh My

Sweetest Times

The Future Is Here


  1. There's nothing sad about Lori Yates' story: Juno nominations, Songwriter of the Year & Alt-Country Recording of the Year - HMA's, etc. Considered a pioneer in alt country music in Canada, she is still an active and vital musician and songwriter. This record in particular was quite a departure for her, parallel to Willie Nelson recording his reggae record. Most of her roots fans hated it, she loved it, I loved it, the record company got scared and dropped her like a hot potato. But like a true artist, she continued her craft whether anyone was paying attention or not!

  2. The sad part to me was that her old fans couldn't accept it and any new ones wouldn't have bothered because they associated her with country. It is indeed a good album!

  3. Your comment, Nasty G, is completely true I think.

  4. i remember hearing the song on radio back in 97...not a fan of country but certainly love this album!

  5. She was cold and utterly heartless in the way she abandonned Rang Tango

    1. Rang Tango was a great band.... sassy and energetic. Had they stayed together... who knows?... they could have achieved the acclaim of Blue Rodeo.

    2. Agreed, they were going places but she just had to be the big star. How'd that work out eh?

    3. It was the media that singled her out as the "big star' as did the record company - Sony. Its an old story, conquer and divide. She's a true star, big or otherwise.

  6. Replies
    1. The link has already been reuploaded. Wait for the page to load and there will be 8 links at the bottom. ;)

  7. Could u please reupload the album? All the links are dead!
    Thanx pal :)

  8. Lori is indeed a vibrant and vital link in the Hamilton music chain. She is extremely generous in helping others and in mentoring young artists. She hosts a songwriting class and continues to write and gig regularly. She is a loving wife and mother and a damned fine human being. I'm extremely proud to call her my friend.

  9. One of my favourite CDs from a Canadian artist