Ken Yates shares single + video, “Honest Light,” ft. Caroline Marie Brooks ahead of LP out June 3

Courtesy of Ken Yates | Download hi-res LP artwork
[“Consolation Prize”] [features] downcast energy and confessional lyrics while adding layers to its lush soundscape”
“Yates has now asserted himself as one of Canada’s most unique folk artists with a true knack for effective songwriting.”
“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.”
“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 | Download hi-res here
Canadian singer-songwriter Ken Yates releases his fourth single today, “Honest Light,” featuring Caroline Marie Brooks, a tune that makes room for both Yates’ perfections and imperfections to shine, along with its warm video set in his quiet hometown. Cerulean, Yates’ forthcoming full-length album, is due out June 3 and is available for pre-order now.
In addition to the new music, Yates will be touring this summer across Ontario, Canada, as well as two dates in Michigan, and concluding with a date in Londonderry, NH. Multiple dates feature artists like Jadea Kelly, Abigail Lapell, Jenny Berkel and Brian Dunne. Plus, Yates has added new dates, as he’ll 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. Grab tickets to see Yates and Edwards here, and see the full Home County festival lineup and learn about entry here. Tickets to all shows this summer are available now here.
Yates will also have an official showcase at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday, May 19 at 7:45 PM CT. Registration for the 2022 Folk Alliance event is available here.
“Honest Light,” is a golden hour soundtrack–a tune perfect for watching the sun fall into place as everything the light touches–perfections and imperfections–are illuminated in its glow. “There’s a certain kind of light during “golden hour” when the sun comes through your window and suddenly everything looks different,” Yates explains. “You notice the dust on your table, the dirt on your floor, the crumbs on your counter. I tried to capture that moment in song form. For a long time I only had the line, “Life is like a cheap wine, it don’t get any better with time” and I kind of built the song slowly around that one line.” Yates adds that Brooks happened to be on her album around the same time with Yates’ frequent collaborator and producer Jim Bryson, and “graciously lent her lovely voice” to the track.
The accompanying video for “Honest Light,” marks the third recent collaboration between Yates and director Adam Cook, with Cook being behind Yates’ previous two videos as well. Shot across Yates’ hometown in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, the video brings viewers into Yates’ quiet, serene world. The video, much like Yates’ previous work, radiates a particular profound warmth that can be felt even on Ontario’s coldest day.
Between stunning drone shots, some visual distortion and playing with the lighting throughout, the video manages to elevate the track and cleverly demonstrate its meaning. Describing the thought behind the video, Yates says, “Our idea was to capture a dark versus light theme between the verses and the chorus. We filmed in multiple locations around the Collingwood area, including an abandoned drive-in right at dawn.” Yates continues, “Co-producer and editor, Nick Marinelli distorted a few of the frames, which really helped to capture the dizzy, anxiousness of this song. I wanted it to feel like I was moving in and out of this warped reality in the verses, then grounding myself in the darkness of the choruses.”
Today’s release follows previous singles, “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.”
Yates’ forthcoming album 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.
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.
“Honest Light,” featuring Caroline Marie Brooks, is out everywhere now, and sheds light on both the beauty and the pain that come with a life well-lived. Find Ken Yates on InstagramFacebook and Twitter and stay tuned for Cerulean, due out June 3, 2022 and available for pre-order now. Hear “The Big One,” “Consolation Prize,” “Best of the Broken Things,” “Honest Light,” and lots more 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. Tickets to all other dates are on sale here, and register to see Yates’ performance at Kansas City’s Folk Alliance here.
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