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Published: 2009/12/14
by Randy Ray

Yarn
Empty Pockets

Ardsley

JAMBANDS.COM 250 PICK

The country life is alive and well in Brooklyn.

I know. I had to think about that one, too, but it’s all in the mind, right? Brooklyn’s Yarn ponder life within tempered country, moody folk, and acoustic fence poundin’ while walking down experiential city streets with rural portraits in the background. Empty Pockets, the second release from the quintet, is dominated by the songwriting and charisma of guitarist/vocalist Blake Christiana, but damned if the entire band doesn’t leave its mark. Jay Frederick, in particular, on drums and percussion, is a hoot to hear, providing intriguing textures, whether it’s a shuffle beat, understated brush work across the skins, or a kick-in-the-ass boot stomp to keep the band focused on the matter at hand.

The simple things in life can often be underrated, and it is easy to see how this band could fall through the cracks in the avalanche of material being released on an hourly basis in the waning moments of the ’00s era. But Yarn has enough personality and a sense of purpose that is impressive, and worth a listen, or 15, based on the track count.

Songs rise up and bite you from behind (“Can’t Slow Down”), moods plunge and re-surface while spirits hang on to the bottom rung of emotions (“I Feel So Low” and the title track), and woe-be-not-gone wanders and ruminates (“I’m Down” with Edie Brickell on guest co-vocals). The grass is blue, but the approach reaches beyond somber, to that point of confessional honesty that is raw (“Lies I’ve Told”), a drifting sunset rotates and plunges as eve approaches (“5 Guitars”), and Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited-era is slowed down and tweaked into a more humble and modern vision (“Roadhouse”).

Open your windows, and let some of that Brooklyn country air in. It still exists, ya know.

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