Even the most dire circumstance can offer opportunity for new beginnings. Just ask singer/songwriter Blake Christiana or any of the other members of the once Brooklyn based Americana band called Yarn. At least that’s the conclusion they came to after a period of real life challenges that left the band splintered and unsure of their forward trajectory. Internal tensions were simmering. A new album was scrapped. A major move from Brooklyn to North Carolina added to the uncertainty. For a band that seemed forever on the verge of a big breakthrough, the future suddenly seemed cloudy.
“We were dealing with real life issues,” Christiana explains. “Broken relationships, a sense of having to regroup and put some things — and people — behind us. That’s what I was writing about lyrically in the new songs and it became kind of a catharsis. Nothing was contrived. We didn’t have to relate to it in the third person. We were living these circumstances, and that gave us the impetus and inspiration to share our sentiments. Ultimately those setbacks and difficulties led to new opportunities and allowed a little light to shine through.”
Christiana’s referring to the band’s album, the boldly optimistic This Is the Year. 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, the record documents in detail the band’s determination to move forward while balancing precariously on a line that forms a border between love and hate. It’s an album about re-evaluating relationships, making tough choices and sometimes skirting the rules, a tack that was inspired by musicians they admire — Waylon and Willie, Merle Haggard and other Texas troubadours with a distinctly renegade reputation.
For Christiana, bassist Rick Bugel, singer guitarist Rod Hohl and drummer Bobby Bonhomme, it meant taking a fresh look at where they were versus what they wanted to accomplish. Bonhomme had recently returned to the fold after an extended absence, while another longtime member was purged. “The tension suddenly dissolved,” Christiana says, giving an audible sigh of relief. “Suddenly we were free to express ourselves without having to look back over our shoulders. This album is our emancipation.”
“I think this album is a stepping stone for us, one we desperately needed,” Bonhomme adds. “It marks a much needed change in direction. The title is appropriate. This is the year, because now we can look forward. This is who we are. For the first time in a very long time we’re not afraid of taking chances. The bond between each of the band members has never been better, and it’s that camaraderie that helped us move forward and created the kind of passion that is evident in this album.”
“This is our best album yet,” Bugel adds. “This is also the happiest the band’s ever been. The chemistry we shared in the studio and on the stage is nothing short of amazing.”