Talkin' New York, Vol. 10 - Yarn
Talkin’ New York is a semi-regular feature I like to include on Pop Headwound that focuses on the wealth of emerging local talent in the Brooklyn and Manhattan area. Some are touring bands getting buzz, others are folks I saw play at an open-mic who blew me away. All are artists who have struck me as incredibly talented musicians and songwriters who deserve to have their music heard on a wider scale.
About a year ago Blake Christiana was growing tired of playing folk rock in Blake & The Family Dog and decided his musical career needed rethinking. So, he and bandmate Shane Spaulding made a change - they started writing acoustic based songs, formed Yarn, and recorded their self-titled debut record. The band has been gaining acclaim in the months since its release. They’ve been consistently moving their way up the AMA Chart, won the IMA award for best alt. country song of the year (“No Future Together”), and placed in the Freeform American Roots reporters Top 20 albums of the year. Not a bad year for a new band.
Yarn is New York in locale, but their sound and spirit ain’t from these parts. Led by the smooth vocals and guitar playing of Christiana, Yarn plays a form of alt. country music that seems born on the outskirts of Nashville, decidedly heavier on the “country” than the “alt”. The 15 songs that comprise the record are just pristine. I haven’t heard production this crisp on a country record in a long time - it reminds me of what M. Ward has achieved on his last few albums. I’m not comparing the 2 artists stylistically, but the crystal clear production here (warm, spacious, inviting) rivals that of Ward for some of the best I’ve heard.
The album itself is marked by fine playing and smart songs. The familiar country music themes and images referenced seem more alive than ever, and Christiana’s sturdy croon is as real as a warm breeze, as knowing as the weathervane. “No Future Together” is a heartbreaking confession of failure, “Madeline” a dusty ballad that sounds like it’s leftover from Stranger’s Almanac, and “Cat and Mouse” a shuffling sing-along worthy of a Hank comparison. The songs cuddle together with the others, seemless in their delivery, and by the rustic sway of “I Love The Way” you’ll be waiting for the CD to end so you can start it over. This is highly recommended music for fans of real country music with an outsider’s edge, and while that’s not always my thing, this is too good to ignore.
MP3 :: Listen Up Sweetheart
(from Yarn. Buy here)
Stream :: The Early Show (and other assorted tracks)
(from Lone Gone Lonesome. Kill Buffalo compilation. Info here)
Previously featured Talkin’ New York artists:
Chris Cubeta & The Liars Club
David Shane Smith