Brooklyn might seem an odd place of origin for a country band. The perennial home of cold concrete, hipsters and industrial ruins has been most famous for its indie rock scene over the past decade. But to Blake Christiana, frontman and songwriter for Brooklyn-based Americana/Alt-Country band Yarn, it’s the place that offered not only solace from his Schenectady, NY upbringing and a place to meet other skilled musicians, but a certain anonymity perfect for a songwriter who crafts best in loneliness.
Indeed, in the song “Time Burns On” off the band’s new record Come On In, Blake croons for the city in his best country twang, “I gotta get back / To my Brooklyn flat / Where the neighbors don’t know my name / And the forecast calls for rain.”
Yarn has received quite a bit of buzz in the Americana world as a result of the band’s first two recordings as well as strong performances at clubs and festivals. Their self-titled debut record reached No. 14 on the AMA and R&R Radio Charts, and ranked No. 79 on the AMA’s Top 100 Albums of 2007. Yarn’s 2008 follow-up, Empty Pockets, which features guest appearances by Edie Brickell, Tony Trischka, Casey Dreissen and Caitlin Cary of Whiskeytown, spent months in the AMA charts. The album peaked at No. 5 and was honored with eight first round 2009 Grammy nominations in several categories.
The band owes as much to Gram Parsons and Earl Scruggs as to Jerry Garcia and Exile On Main Street-era Rolling Stones. Following in a fine tradition that includes forward thinking roots bands like The Flying Burrito Brothers and New Riders of The Purple Sage, Yarn weaves roots music idioms into a fresh sound that turns on hipsters and fans of country music alike with technically impressive song-crafting and universal tales from the road of life.
On the band’s upcoming release, Come On In, the loneliness is almost palpable. With themes like lovers and towns left behind, finding your place in a present day New York City and searching for comfort in the sweet and familiar face of quiet nostalgia, Come On In is a record of longing, of loss and of picking up and moving on.
“Life was going on,” said Christina of his inspiration for these songs. “A couple relationships went sour, lots of time on the road. I just love those dramatic moments in life, when change is upon us and everything is uncertain.” The record is not all heartbreak and drama though. “New York City Found” takes an upbeat look at navigating the vast cityscape of NYC that feels as exciting as it is intimidating. “Yodelay” nods to overcoming childhood fears, and “I Gotta Go” is a celebration of self-realization and moving on.
Recorded at Mixolydian Studios in Lafayette, NJ over the month of July 2009, Come On In is slated for release on United for Opportunity (UFO) on June 1, 2010 (May 4 digitally). The band will tour intensively throughout the spring and summer 2010 to support it.
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Phish tour continued with their second night at Times Union Center in Albany, New York. Check out the show’s setlist, recap and The Skinny.