Yarn w/s/g Eric Lee & Co.
Fri · November 17, 2017
Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pmHawks & Reed Performing Arts Center
$15.00 - $20.00
Tickets at the Door
Yarn is a roots/Americana band formed in Brooklyn and now in North Carolina. They've released five studio albums and have shared stages with such superstars as Dwight Yoakam, Charlie Daniels, Marty Stuart, Allison Krauss, Leon Russell, Jim Lauderdale, and The Lumineers. They received a Grammy nomination, garnered nods from the Americana Music Association, placed top five on both Radio and Records and the AMA album charts, and accorded the “Download of the Day” from Rolling Stone.
Eric Lee emerged in the folk community as the virtuosic fiddle player of Pete & Maura Kennedy's fiery super-group, The Strangelings, after being plucked from the audience at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. He has since performed with such artists as Peter Rowan, John Gorka, and Dan Navarro, who, among others, have inspired his uniquely poetic and expressive songwriting.https://hawksandreed.ticketfly.com/event/1563709/
“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.”
That’s certainly no small accomplishment, especially for a band that spent two years honing their chops during a Monday night residency at the famed Kenny’s Castaway in New York’s Greenwich Village. In effect, it allowed them to rehearse onstage, mostly in front of audiences that often ranged in size from five to fifty people on any given night. Five studio albums followed -- Yarn (2007), Empty Pockets (2008), Come On In (2010), Almost Home (2012) and Shine the Light On (2013). The band then took to the road, playing upwards of 170 shows a year and sharing stages with such superstars as Dwight Yoakam, Charlie Daniels, Marty Stuart, Allison Krauss, Leon Russell, Jim Lauderdale and The Lumineers. They performed at any number of prestigious venues -- Mountain Stage, Daytrotter, the Orange Peel in Asheville, the Fox Theater in Boulder, the 9:30 Club in D.C, South by Southwest, the Strawberry Festival, Rhythm and Roots, Meadowgrass and more, eventually accumulating a total of 1,000 shows, half a million miles and performances in 32 states. They’ve driven nonstop, made countless radio station appearances, driven broken-down RVs and watched as their van caught fire. They’ve paid their dues and then some, looking forward even as they were forced to glance behind.
Indeed, the accolades piled up quickly along the way. They received a Grammy nomination, garnered nods from the Americana Music Association, placed top five on both Radio and Records and the AMA album charts, garnered airplay on Sirius FM, I Tunes, Pandora, CNN, CMT and Roughstock.com, and also accorded the “Download of the Day” from Rolling Stone. Shine the Light On found shared song writing credits with John Oates (the Oates of Hall & Oates fame), and when audiences expressed their admiration, it brought the band a populist following of diehard devotees, popularly known as “the Yarmy.”
As odd as that might seem, it’s proof positive that Yarn have made their mark, and in their dealing with emotions, scars and circumstances, they find themselves in a position to share those experiences with others who have sifted through similar sentiments.
In an era of click-bait and sound bites, Yarn provides a real experience. They're not just a live band, they're a band for people who want to live.
In 2007, Lee attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, where the newly-formed supergroup, The Strangelings (featuring musical legends Pete & Maura Kennedy, Christina Thompson, Rebecca Hall, Ken Anderson, and Cheryl Prashker,) spotted Eric and his fiddle and invited him to join them on an informal campground performance. That Saturday night, after two days into his first music festival, Eric Lee, (then eighteen), was playing on the main stage as the band's newest member.
With the conclusion of the Strangelings' two-year run, Eric became a member of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival's House Band, a position formerly held by virtuosic violinists Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) and Jake Armerding, playing alongside some of the most respected and gifted professionals in the folk community, and has since accompanied such iconic artists as John Gorka, Peter Rowan, Vance Gilbert, Dan Navarro, The Kennedys, Lucy Kaplansky, The Nields, Tracy Grammer, the Grand Slambovians, Tom Rush, and Eliza Gilkyson, among others. It is these landmark artists along with the works of the revered late song smith Dave Carter that inform and inspire Lee's own songwriting.
The music of Eric Lee is a chimera of genres and influences; an ever-evolving world of sonic exploration with stand-alone melodies always at it's core. His new EP traverses a range of emotion, from the unbridled joy of love in "Miles Above the Ground" to the wrenching pain of Eros in "To Write you a Song"; the unflattering honesty of coping with loss ("Life Without You") to the cosmic petition to the ancient powers in "Hands of Fortune."
In addition to performing as a solo artist (and on some occasions with a backing band), he continues to work as a session artist and sideman. He plans to record and release a full-length album in the near future.
Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center
289 Main St
Greenfield, MA, 01301