We had a huge stroke of luck when we found this album. Yarn have been around for ages; they have released 7 albums but we confess that here in the UK their profile is low. Correction, their profile is basically non-existent. This is a roundabout way of saying that we hadn’t heard of them.
It would be understandable therefore if this latest album had also slipped through the net. However we played the opening track ‘Carolina Heart’ and the immediate reaction here was “this guy sounds a bit like Zac Brown”.
Now we know that this isn’t the basis for a critical review but sometimes you need an invitation and we are huge Zac fans. Bear with us. The guy who sounds a bit like Zac Brown is Blake Christiana and we are sure that Blake and the boys won’t mind the comparison.
Yarn are a North Carolina based Americana band who were originally New York residents. Their album is entitled ‘This Is The Year’ as it follows an extended period of self-reflection and the loss of a long standing band member. They are now a four piece led by Christiana’s distinctive vocals.
The opener ‘Carolina Heart’ is a absolute gem. It has a very sweet, almost South African folk quality. It’s very reminiscent of the vibe that Paul Simon created on the ‘Graceland’ project and specifically his ‘Hearts and Bones’ record.
It actually plays homage to the band’s new home and the fresh start that they are now seeking.
‘Love Hate’ is almost classic Zac Brown Band and this is meant as a compliment. It has a summer, mainstream upbeat feel about it and is incredibly catchy. We love the video too.
‘I’m The Man’ is a traditional country rambler that will have you swaying along and they also turn their hand to a 60’s Brit beat on ‘Now You’re Gone’.
The Dolly Parton tribute ‘Sweet Dolly’ is another album highlight. Christiana confesses that this was a labour of love and the gentle laid back honky tonk style pays homage to the country queen.
The songs are impressively written and are sung with passion by Christiana. You certainly won’t be hearing auto tune, attitude or guest R&B artists!
The title of this album may be optimistic but the intention was to signal a new beginning. The band describe this release perfectly as “a seamless blend of vibrant, inspired, back porch melodies and narrative, descriptive lyrics that detail the challenges faced when one’s life is jolted off its bearings”.
It’s certainly worthy of attention.