Album: This Is The Year
Label: Ardsley Music/Red Bush Records
Release Date: 05/27/2016
Yarn’s latest spin, This Is The Year, speaks of the many personal challenges the group has been through recently. Breakups, lineup changes and touring inspired lead singer/songwriter Blake Christiana to pen timeless tunes in the first person. Yarn has lived these tales like well-worn jeans, a bit frayed at the seams perhaps, but hanging tough and looking forward to the future with optimism.
Christiana is a talented craftsman, and his catchy choruses are ripe for radio. Sweet vocal harmonies and tasty guitar licks by Rod Hohl round out each track with a feel so classic they leave you swearing you’ve heard them before. But this is a fresh batch of material by a great band backed by a solid rhythm section.
The first cut is a mellow, romantic ballad that steadily builds to a mid tempo clip and sweetly asks, “Oh Carolina won’t you rescue my heart? Baby please, I’m begging for a new start. I’m crying, I hope it’s not too far, to my Carolina Heart.” I met with Christiana before Yarn’s show at Brooklyn Bowl in April, and he explained how love and marriage brought him to Asheville, North Carolina, hence the title of this tune. At times, his vocal style is reminiscent of Dwight Yoakam, but never derivative. The title track is a sunny country rocker that begins with the chorus and hooks the listener immediately, “This is the year, we’re gonna make that change. This is the year, we’ll start all over again. This is the year, we’re all gonna come out winning. We’re gonna raise a glass, to a new beginning.” And this is the optimism that permeates this fantastic, feel good album. “I’m The Man” begins with a Texan, boot scootin’ beat and some serious twang. With vigorous call and response between him and the band, Christiana commands, “Oh everybody sing, I’m a man! I’m a king! Oh everybody sing, I’m all those things.” The result is infectious. If you’re driving in a car, you’re gonna find yourself singing out loud. “Now You’re Gone” is a country rocker that kicks into high gear straightaway with a two chord riff and a Stonesy feel. Yarn’s weave of acoustic and electric guitar tones brings to mind Some Girls, as do the playful, naughty lyrics “Now you’re gone and I’m alright. I’m gonna check you off, and I’m gonna get so damn high, I won’t ever remember your name.” The next track “Sweet Dolly” is a sincere love letter to Dolly Parton and her many talents. “I’m in love with a country queen. Can’t get her out of my head, can’t get her out of my dreams, my sweet Dolly.” There are 12 tracks in all, each successfully entwining the thread between country and rock to create the warm, sonic tapestry that is Yarn. Highly recommended.