Come On In is this Brooklyn band's third release but you'd never guess the ensemble was a New York group at all, more a Wichita / Tulsa vibe than anything else, a smooth and hip blend of country rock blent with folk and somewhat in line with Blue Line Highway (here) but more pronouncedly from the sidestreets and back alleys, places the rural postman has to travel a bit to get to. In past efforts, Yarn attracted the likes of Edie Brickell and Tony Trischka, and it's not difficult to see why.
Schenectady is one of the best songs James Taylor never wrote while Yodelay has a bit of Van Morrison to it, vocally and musically, albeit by way of Jim Croce with the ever so slight tang of Dylan. It soon becomes evident that lead man Blake Christiana has the unique something which demarcates an uncontrived heart and soul. Fronting a six-man band, he sings in a plaintive wheatstraw voice while plying one of two acoustic guitars alongside members toting dobro, mando, and a rhythm section, a deceptively sophisticated unit that bedrocks balmily mellow affections for life away from metropolises and urbanity, everything peppered with more than a little existentialist frustration.
I Wanted to Get High is an Indigo Girls kind of lament on tripping and traipsing, a dusty and arid paean, though ya can't help but feel a bit of affection for the stoner in question, especially if you've been there yourself once or twice. For such a lazy song, it's hypnotic, drawing the listener in, refusing to let go, the listener's ears pulled along in a bit of narcotica, hazy and happy to be caught. I Gotta Go is a rock-swingin' bit of anger at the hopelessness of the narrator's comfy blandness and sins, a desire to erase the past by a quick leavetaking. Judging from the boot-scootin' shuffle of the tempo, that exeunt will be comin' any minute now, Jim-Bob, and ya better not look back.
Yarn is a well polished folk-country unit drenched in rutted byways and hot broadacred suns, and Blake Christiana is a genuine, a gent who came by his laidback erudition the hard way, laying it all down for the audience to do with what they will. The musicianship and earnestness are first-rate, and the critical tie-ins to Gram Parsons quite warranted, though Blake is no imitator, just kindred, from another county, and talented as hell.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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