We’re very lucky. Blake Christiana is a prolific man. Leftovers Volume Two takes care of the album doldrums experienced between releases by offering Yarn music ‘left off’ earlier releases. On the heels of the success of their last album release, Almost Home, Yarn present Leftovers V2 as the second in a series of releases that focuses on tracks that did not make the final selection for Yarn albums.
Leftovers Volume One mined gems from the band’s self-titled debut. Leftovers Volume Two takes a listen to songs from the Empty Pockets and Come On In studio sessions. Before we get too far into praise I have to fess up, I am a big fan of Yarn. I was hooked in with the Lower East Side take on the sound of The Flying Burrito Brothers and New Riders of the Purple Sage of album number one. Blake Christiana’s words honored the music, then as now, by letting time worn rhythms and melodies cradle his sharp lyrical bite and punk honest words.
Leftovers Volume Two contains tracks that others may walk across broken glass to get their hands on. They might even break the glass themselves if it meant that the chords and lyrics would be their own quicker. There are a few tracks that did not sonically fit into the second two albums in the Yarn catalog. “Blue Skies, Brother Times and Roses” and “Luanne” cross the floor to a rhythm and style that is pure classic country. “Oncoming Train” and “One & Only” have a front porch jam feel. The songs are fully formed but offer more enjoyment than the take-away, stuck in your head tunes that hold up Yarn’s final selections on the early releases.
For an album that hosts the songs left behind, there are tracks that will help you realize just how difficult it must have been to wield the ax. “Turn Your Lights On” is a folk breeze that drifts as much as plays out. “You See the Sun” sticks to folk tones and adds some singing cowboy croons with campfire acoustics for a boardwalk song that lets the Coney Island narrator describe how he truly hopes that opposites attract. “Hard Luck Man” follows a traveling troubadour singer/songwriter, watching him take the lead in the song as much as behind the microphone. As the baton is passed from mentor elder to up and coming artist, a dark murder ballad shows some skin though never really lets on its intentions.
The major keeper on Leftovers, Volume Two is the seemingly autobiographical “On the Radio”. Yarn proclaims that when the radio speakers are playing their songs that “You be happy for me, like I’ll be happy for you. You’ll be singing along, singing my tune”. The story line blurs the line between hoping for fans in the audience and holding out for that one special fan that is there when the lights go low.
Like I said, I love these guys. Yarn really can’t sing a bad song. The group holds a winning hand with the triple threat of Blake Christiana’s choir boy behind the barn vocals and other longtime Yarn members, Trevor MacArthur, backing with guitar and vocals that add to Blake’s lead with consistent, sound branding harmony, and Andrew Hendryx, the world’s number one mandolin shredder. The worth of the tracks on Leftovers V2 is not lost on the band, with Blake Christiana telling that “We are very pleased to share these ‘new’ old songs with our fans. We have always intended to make these tracks available and now is the time. We call them “Leftovers” only were recorded during older sessions for earlier albums. We are just as proud of these songs as we are everything else we have released and hope you enjoy them. As always, thanks for listening”.
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