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Lucky 13, Vol. 2

Yarn

Relix, July 2019. If you’ve been circling the Americana scene for the past decade or so, then you’ve probably run across Yarn. The quartet has been creating “roots music from the shadows of skyscrapers” for some time and, in their infancy, logged countless hours at Kenny’s Castaway in New York’s Greenwich Village. These days, the band is chronicling their time on the road in a monthly “Lucky 13” single series. “The intention was to share the feeling of what it’s like to spend time traveling from city to city, with all the unlikely experiences that can be encountered along the way,” singer and primary songwriter Blake Christiana has said of the project. Here, Yarn has compiled a selection of those tunes into the concert compilation Lucky 13, Vol. 2 , capturing the perfect combination of exhaustion and excitement on tunes like “Weary” and “Livin’ to Die.” The mid-album highlights are sequenced side by side; “Weary” struts forward with a thumping rhythm (from the bass/percussion combo section of Rick Bugel and Robert Bonhomme) and twangy guitar (courtesy Rod Hohl) as Christiana sings, “I’ve been weary, weary for so long/ Ever since you held my heart/ I’ve been out here so long and it’s never been so hard/ So tell me that you want me back and I’ll be coming home.” Sure, he’s probably singing about a companion left behind on tour, but it could also be read as a love letter to those open highways. Indeed, being a touring musician makes you weary, but when you’ve been grinding on the road so long, even the misery becomes your life and your love. “Livin’ to Die” is the hangover to “Weary,” with Christiana fighting to get to Friday night so he can “feel like gold.” Perhaps the most relatable lyric is the opening cry of “Monday morning is a tough pill to swallow.” You’ve got that right, pal. Just keep on workin’ for the weekend.

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Lucky 13, Vol. 1

Yarn

Lucky 13, Vol. 1, the latest release from North Carolina by way of New York City band Yarn, kicks off with a detailed and descriptive barroom scenario and a love-at-first-sight song, the story speaking up with ‘I saw you at the bar, looking like an angel, in a white tube top, tight jeans down to your ankles’. The tale revisits a setting that has been so done before in books and song, and yet the story works particularly well slight rock and twang with “One’s Man Trash” kicking off a record of Roots Rock and groove that nods to songwriters like Willie Nelson and alt-country rock like Old 97’s, where a strong lead guitar is paired with picturesque lyrics.

Guitar leads bounce all around the reflective musings of “Undone” where the singer is self-deprecating and honest in recognizing the world that is beating him down. “Promised Land” is an optimistic number, a hopeful and catchy road song, quickly followed by the woeful and painful reality of “American Dream Dying” and its words, ‘you and me, we can’t agree, and I’ve wasted too much precious time’. “American Dream Dying” works both as a break-up song and a hard look at the relationship between American citizens that share the need belief yet vote on different sides of the fence. “The Road Less Traveled” is a moving train-song brought to life by a bouncy harmonica. Lucky 13, Vol. 1wraps with the contemplative “Old Fool” as Yarn prove they live comfortably in a world of singer-songwriters and bar-room rock.

by Bryant Liggett Alternate Root

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This Is The Year

Yarn

Despite several previous albums and a sound so agreeable it was seemingly made for the mainstream, Yarn has yet to create the bigger buzz needed to bring them the attention they so rightly deserve. Boldly optimistic This Is the Year(out May 15) is a seamless blend of vibrant, inspired, back porch melodies and narrative. Its descriptive lyrics detail the challenges faced when one’s life is jolted off its bearings. Indeed, the record documents in detail the band’s determination to move forward despite uncertain circumstances and internal changes. It’s an album about re-evaluating relationships, making tough choices, and sometimes skirting the rules -- a tack that inevitably finds them emerging more optimistic and fulfilled than ever. “This is the year we’re going to find our way,” the lyrics proclaim on the title track, and given the upbeat appeal imbued in these grooves, there’s every reason to believe Yarn is on the right track.

Indeed, given the group's rugged and resilient sound -- along with its affable and assured delivery -- Yarn’s approach reflects both classic and contemporary leanings. “Carolina Heart” is as endearing an album opener as has been heard recently. But every song that follows -- be it the sprightly “Love/Hate,” the forthright shout-out “I’m the Man,” or the tender ballad “Fallin’” -- rises to the same standard.

The easy sway of “Dolly,” an obvious homage to that beautiful country queen, adds another engaging additive, as does the sweetly reassuring “Easy Road” and the aforementioned title track. Comparisons are inevitable -- Pure Prairie League, Dan Fogelberg, hints of Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers -- but Yarn’s mastery of the country-rock idiom is indisputable.

To call This Is The Year an album for the ages may seem a stretch for those who are unaware, but given these immediately engaging melodies and the sheer skill and savvy invested in each note and every verse, you will likely become a true believer after only a single listen.

No Depression

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Shine The Light On

Yarn

Within this 12-track acoustic collection, all written by lead singer Blake Christiana, listeners witness the poignant emotion and emotive story-telling that has come to define the sextet s sound, which straddles the genres of Americana and alt-country, with a dash of jam-band injected on select tracks. "I really wanted to make another acoustic record, focus on the songs, and revisit the early days of Yarn, says Christiana. Some of the best songs we've written live on this record. It's a pretty dark collection, but we are confident you can find the light shining through." John Oates of Hall and Oates appears on two tracks that he co-wrote with Christiana. Oates says, From the first time I heard Yarn perform at Music City Roots in Nashville I became a fan. They have one foot in the traditional sound of bluegrass and the other foot stepping into the future. It was an honor for me to co-write and collaborate with them on their new record. Great playing, great singing and great songwriting, what more is there?

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Leftovers Vol. 2

Yarn

Americana group, Yarn, has opened up their musical fridge of vintage tracks to give fans a second helping of Leftovers, on sale today, December 4. The compilation record is filled with tracks from studio sessions recorded in 2008 and 2009 atExcello Studios in their hometown of Brooklyn, New York as well as Mix-O -Lydian studios in Layfayette, NJ.

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Almost Home

Yarn

Early into 2012, strong storytelling and accomplished musicianship help to propel Yarn’s Almost Home into the category of the year’s must-hear albums. Sounding like something bred in America’s southern states, these Brooklyn natives have an authentic technique that echoes of America’s country roots with an infusion of rock and promises that those old-style rhythms will continue to evolve, regardless of where they are reborn. A triple threat in the music world, not only is the storytelling and musicianship tighter than the bark on a hickory tree, but the vocal and harmonizing skills of the band’s three singers are equally undeniable.

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Leftovers Vol. 1

Yarn

On the latest release from the band Yarn, you ll hear vintage tracks recorded during the band s first studio sessions back in 2006 and 2007. These are songs that we ve played in concert for years, but the studio recordings have never been available to fans, lead singer Blake Christiana explained during a recent interview during a mid-Atlantic tour, where the band tours heavily and is developing a strong following. Within this retro-collection, titled Leftovers, Volume 1, listeners witness the poignant emotion and emotive story-telling that has come to define the sextet s sound, which straddles the genres of Americana and alt-country, with a dash of jam-band injected on select tracks. Recorded at Excello Studios in the band s hometown of Brooklyn, New York, Yarn recorded more than 40 songs during its first two years as a band, released 15 of them on its self-titled debut, then put the remainder on the shelf - until now.

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Come On In

Yarn

Come On In finds this Brooklyn-based sextet digging ever deeper into the sounds of classic honky-tonk and bluegrass, with a touch of Gram Parsons-style visionary poetics evident as well. The band’s mixture of down-home acoustic charm and urban-folkie intelligence gives Come On In a unique flavor that grows more appealing with repeated listening. Blake Christiana’s soft drawl captures a weary survivor’s spirit, especially on dusty laments like “Abilene,” “Alone On The Weekend” and “These Bars Don’t Look Too Friendly.” In tandem with his bandmates, he escalates easily from easy-going tempos into hellacious solo flights, especially on the galloping “New York City Found.” Yarn leans towards the lonesome side of town — but even melancholy numbers like “Schenectady” are saved from self-pity by elegant melodies and sharp wordplay. “Down On Your Luck” shakes off the blues for some high-energy fun, while “I Wanted To Get High” is a woozy, bluesy number lit up by Andrew Hendryx’s sparkling mandolin.

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Empty Pockets

Yarn

For a bunch of Brooklynites, Yarn sure knows its country music. Empty Pockets, the band’s second release, sees them borrowing from country, folk, and classic rock & roll to knit together a sound that is Americana at its genrebending best. Bluegrass serves as the undercurrent to most of the album’s songs, thanks to mandolinist Andrew Hendryx and guest fiddle player Casey Dreissen (currently a member of Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet), while living legend Tony Trischka adds some wicked banjo to the background, content to let the vocals take center stage.

The band’s frontman and primary songwriter Blake Christiana has a voice reminiscent of Ryan Adams at his drugged out, Pneumonia-era best; thus it’s fitting that several tracks sound like they could be lost Whiskeytown songs, from the steel guitar crying in the background to the heartbreaking lyrics. “5 Guitars” even features bourbon-smooth vocals from ex-Whiskeytowner Caitlin Cary. Even old New Bohemian Edie Brickell joins the band to lend some harmony to the torchy and twangy “I’m Down”. Yarn may be one of the better unknown alt-country bands out there, but if satellite radio gets ahold of Empty Pockets, they won’t be unknown much longer.

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Yarn

Yarn

In a year that is already jammed with exceptional releases, Yarn makes the case for an entry into annual Top 10 lists. This Brooklyn-based band scores the rare triple-header of excellent country-bluegrass musicianship, memorable melodies and honeyed vocals. A little over a year ago Blake Christiana was considering quitting life as a musician but decided to take one last shot. Hopefully, the results have inspired him to stick around for awhile. Inspired by bluegrass workouts of David Grisman and Jerry Garcia and the songwriting of Gram Parsons, Yarn's 15 tracks feature stories of bad men doing unsavory things.

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