Stephen Yerkey

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Stephen Yerkey
Stephen Yerkey 2016.jpg
Yerkey in 2016
Background information
Born (1950-12-15) December 15, 1950 (age 67)
West Virginia, U.S.
Origin San Francisco, CA, U.S.
Genres Alternative country
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar

Stephen Yerkey (born December 15, 1950) is a singer-songwriter and performer of soulful Americana and rock currently living in northern California, playing solo and with his band, Nonfiction, around Sacramento and San Francisco; he developed a following while based in the Bay Area during the early part of his career.

Early life[edit]

Yerkey was born in Welch, West Virginia and grew up in, among other places, St. Louis, Missouri, Covington, Kentucky, and Detroit, Michigan.[1][2] He began playing guitar at the age of 14, at which time he discovered Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, and started developing his own unique style.[3]


Yerkey was the frontman of the band Nonfiction, 1977-1987, which released one eponymous album on Demon Records.[1] In 1990, he contributed the song "The Final Word" to Acoustic Music Project, an AIDS benefit album on Alias Records.[4] His solo debut album, Confidence, Man, was released in 1995 on Heyday Records and was produced by, among others, Pere Ubu's Eric Drew Feldman.[1] Yerkey's recording of the Ted Hawkins song "Stay Close to Me" from Confidence, Man was featured in the soundtrack of the 1997 movie "Lewis & Clark & George." His next album, Up From Mo's, was independently released in 2002. His most recent album, Metaneonatureboy was released in 2006 on Echo Records and, like Confidence Man, was produced by Eric Drew Feldman.[2][5] Metaneonatureboy included the song "Translated from Love", which Kelly Willis later covered on her album of the same name.[6] In 2016, with Yerkey again at the helm, Nonfiction reunited for a single performance at The Hotel Utah in San Francisco.[7]


Confidence, Man has been described as "...a lost classic waiting to be rediscovered by fans of Richard Buckner and Townes Van Zandt."[8] Other critics have praised the album's tracks "Cocksucking Blonde" and "Maker's Mark,"[8][9][10] and have written that its music depicts the gritty aspect of life in San Francisco.[11][12] Yerkey has also been called the "Elvis Costello of country."[12] A review in the San Francisco Chronicle described his music as "barroom laments, howled prayers and fiery indictments that burned with the intensity of a real person with real soul."[13]

Up From Mo's is described on at least one website as "Solo voice, acoustic guitar and harmonica, fusing country, jazz, folk and blues, rich storytelling and the eccentric West-Virginia-born baritone singing tales of railroad workers, robber barons, short pants, love, despair, Algiers and lighthouse keeping."[14]



  • Confidence Man (Heyday, 1994)
  • Metaneonatureboy (Echo, 2006)

With Nonfiction[edit]

  • Nonfiction (Demon, 1986)


  1. ^ a b c Gettelman, Parry (9 June 1995). "Stephen Yerkey". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b Kelly, Jennifer (13 April 2006). "Stephen Yerkey's Wandering Songs". Neumu.
  3. ^ Kunzler, Hans Peter (9 October 2006). "Ein Genie, lebenslang auf Jobsuche" [A genius, live long on job search]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Indies". Spin. December 1990. p. 111. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Metaneonatureboy Releases". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  6. ^ Tucker, Ken. "Kelly Willis, Working in Translation". NPR. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  7. ^ "Nonfiction, Tom Heyman, Waldo Mack". Hotel Utah. 17 September 2016.
  8. ^ a b Cornell, Rick (21 June 2006). "Otis Gibbs and Stephen Yerkey". Indy Week. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  9. ^ Cromelin, Richard (11 March 1995). "Pop Music Reviews : He's Got All the Goods--Except One". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Stephen Yerkey". Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  11. ^ Cook, Stephen. "Confidence, Man". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Stephen Yerkey". IUMA. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  13. ^ Lisick, Beth (17 March 2004). "Amazing evenings with songwriter Stephen Yerkey and comic Doug Holsclaw, plus Hotel Utah news". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Up from Mo's". CDBaby.