Upcoming Release: Yarn – Empty Pockets – Sept 23/2008

Nashville, Tenn.– “I’m two sheets to the wind,” a rejected would-be lover announces on the upbeat title track on Empty Pockets, the second independent recording from Brooklyn-based Americana quintet Yarn, set for release on September 23, 2008, “and I’m callin’ on the bar again.”

Edgy, straightforward, occasionally defiant songs of life’s personal losses, outrages, and embarrassments, warmly delivered with a homey, good-natured, “whatcha gonna do” musical embrace–that’s not a combination commonly heard on many roots rock, alternative country or old school country string band records. But that’s the lyrical heart and textured, skilled instrumentals that mark Yarn’s harmonious, winning new song set. “Yeah, we may be in a sunny groove,” says the band’s lead singer and songwriter Blake Christiana, “but when you pay attention to what we’re actually talking about, it may be kind of heartbreaking.”

Several who’ve been paying attention to the rising band jumped in to join in on the music, often after just one Yarn encounter. Empty Pockets features affecting fiddler and vocalist Caitlin Cary (of Tres Chicas; Whiskeytown), “New Bohemian” Edie Brickell (harmony vocalist on the lazy ballad “I’m Down”), bluegrass and rock fiddle wizard Casey Driessen (of the Sparrow Quartet) and veteran newgrass banjo virtuoso Tony Trischka.

Yarn’s first album, a self-titled record released in 2007, reached #14 on the Americana Music Association’s Top 40 chart. Since the release, the band, which features Trevor MacArthur on guitar and harmony vocals, Andrew Hendryx on mandolin, Rick Bugel on bass, and Jay Frederick on percussion, has developed a passionate following up and down the East Coast, and on some side trips to Nashville. The band formed in the spring of 2006 as both an evolution and a break from Christiana’s long-lived jam-centered electric band, Blake & The Family Dog. Electric instruments sometimes appear in Yarn’s live shows, but this band focuses first on energetic acoustic instrumentation. As the band’s name, which references both the handmade and the saga, reflects on crafted, storytelling songs.

Yarn may be a city band that gelled into the harmonious unit it has become. The process took place in hard-working, regular landmark stands of New York clubs, including Kenny’s Castaways and Hill Country. There’s a lot of Gram Parsons-inspired county soul in the songs they deliver, from the hard honky-tonk of “I Feel So Low” to the Whiskeytown-channeling, alt-country tones of “Christopher Street,” to the exuberant string band pyrotechnics of “Can’t Slow Down.”

Knitting together the band’s distinctive tone are Christiana’s smooth, controlled, and expressive lead vocals, which reflect an unmistakable core toughness for all of their polish. The vocals put Blake right in line with a group of singers he admires and is receiving comparisons to in early reviews – Chris Isaak, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, Rick Nelson – or Jerry Garcia in his Old and In the Way string band vocalist mold. And Andrew Hendryx’s fluid, contemporary mandolin stylings add to the “old and new, flinty but friendly” Yarn tone across their varied song set. The addition of fiddle, dobro and lap steel on Empty Pockets adds instrumental breadth.

“We’re not trying to say anything too deep,” Blake Christiana says, of the yarns spun on Empty Pockets, “though maybe some are deeper than others! Mainly, these are just some easy-to-swallow songs. We mean to entertain people.”

Praise for Yarn’s Empty Pockets:

Empty Pockets — an unusually smooth, low-key collection of heartfelt, bluegrass-tinged alt-country songs.” – T. Ballard Lesemann, Charleston City Paper

“…simply great writers and musicians playing songs that the common man can relate to…” – Jeffrey Kurtis, Today’s Country Magazine

Tour Dates:
September 23 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall
September 25 – New York, NY – National Underground
September 26 – Burlington, VT – Nectars
October 2 – New York, NY – Hill Country
October 3 – Albany, NY – Valentines
October 18 – Chestertown, MD – Andy’s
October 30 – New York, NY – Arlene’s Grocery
November 1 – Charlottesville, VA – Fellini’s
November 2 – Raleigh, NC – Slim’s Downtown
November 5 – Knoxville, TN – Blue Plate Special
November 6 – Johnson City – Cahootenany’s
November 7 – Asheville, NC – Jack Of The Wood
November 8 – Harrisonburg, VA – Clementine Cafe
November 14 – Manchester, CT – Main Pub
December 4 – New York, NY – Arelene’s Grocery

Yarn Website

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