A twice-Grammy nominated and well-known band on the East Coast, Yarn is out to gain attention in the Northwest with a little help from its friends.
The Americana band based in Raleigh, North Carolina, played at Moe’s Original Bar B Que in Tahoe City on Friday, Nov. 13, along with the Dead Winter Carpenters’ Jenni Charles and Jesse Dunn. Yarn’s tour through Northern California and Oregon and beyond includes guest appearances from artists from those towns, including Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, Allie Krall of the Yonder Mountain String Band, Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, along with Jay Cobb Anderson and Kellen Asebroek of Fruition.
While the Sierra Nevada has suffered a lack of snow in recent years, that might be a surprise to the Yarn members, whose only other West Coast tour included a show in May 2013 during a blizzard when the band opened for Dead Winter Carpenters at the Crystal Bay Casino.
“We couldn’t even see the lake through the snowstorm,” said singer and songwriter Blake Christiana, who again saw the Lake Tahoe region blanketed in a frozen white coat.
“The goal is to do this tour and come out again maybe in June,” Christiana said. “Maybe we’ll do a couple of shows with Railroad Earth at the beginning of summer and hopefully get a chance to jump around and do these places again and get some return customers.”
The Dead Winter Carpenters opened a show for Yarn three weeks earlier in Cape Cod, returning onstage at the end of the concert when the two groups jammed to four cover tunes.
The two bands from either side of the country are fine with being called Americana.
“The beauty of the Americana genre is that it loves the good old fashioned rock and roll and old country,” Christiana said. “The radio won’t really play it, so that’s what we are. I think people are craving it nowadays, so I’ll take that any day of the week.”
Yarn started from a weekly jam in Greenwich Village, New York.
“On Tuesdays I’d hand the rhythm section charts and we pretty much just practiced live and Yarn was born out of those sessions,” Christiana said. “We played Tuesday nights for two years unless we were on the road. We hit the road pretty quick just to see if we could do it, just to roll the dice, and we haven’t come off it since for the most part.”
The band’s second album, “Empty Pockets,” released in 2008, received multiple Grammy Award nominations.
With Kickstarter support from Yarn’s fans, who are known as Yarmys, the album “Shine the Light On” was released on Sept. 10. Two of the songs were co-written by Christiana and John Oates.
A self-described big fan of the legendary soul band Hall & Oates, Christiana wrote a song “that has kind of a Hall & Oates vibe.”
Unbeknownst to Christiana, Oates was backstage during Yarn’s 2013 appearance at the Loveless Café in Nashville for a segment of a public television station program, “Music City Roots.” Oates loved the song and approached Christiana.
“He pulled me aside and said, ‘We’ve got to exchange information. Let’s do some tunes together.”
The musicians later had an all-day recording session, followed by an all-night drinking session.
“Writing with him was so different,” Christiana said. “He was coming from such a different place than where I was coming from. It was definitely a soul kind of place and I was three-chord country rock and roll. It was cool to have those worlds collide. It definitely has opened me up a lot more as a songwriter.”
Here is a free download of Yarn’s July 22 show at Parker Press Park in New Jersey: LINK
Below are photos by Clare Foster from the show at Moe’s.
An audio recording link to the Yarn Moes show can be found on my Facebook recording page, https://www.facebook.com/rasbobrerecordings/ or by searching archive.org. Search words RasBobre Yarn Moes.