Hot diggety, this is one cool, swingin', bluegrassy, country, honky-tonked quintet! Lead singer Blake Christiana is dead-nuts molded in a hoots-n-hollers timbre and when he sharps out while squeezing the lines for that last drop of countrified tang, it sends shivers up the spine. The shuffly smoothness to songs like Empty Pockets recall Gordon Lightfoot in a less wistful mood, though there's melancholy aplenty to go around in…until the solos kick in on More and it's time to boot scoot.
Edie Brickell likes these characters and sat in on I'm Down, a cry-in-yer beer croon made all the more bittersweet by her sugar-flower backing refrains, delicate and frail. The contrast and harmony she puts on Christiana's lines has to be heard, literally transforming tone and color as Josh Roy Brown's pedal steel underscores everything. Elsewhere, Tony Trishka decided to lend his masterful banjo and ornaments several cuts as well, always a welcome presence.
The rest of the Yarn cast should probably take more solos but work beautifully as a rhythm unit nonetheless, the sod on which Christiana's voice and guitar dance and reflect. Still, when Casey Dreissen joins the boys on fiddle, it becomes noticeable that they have more than a few chops in their back pocket, and a showcasing wouldn't hurt one little bit.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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