Yesway is the creation of best friends Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing. Kacey, in addition to a budding solo career following the release of her Grand Ghosts LP last year, has lent her talents to projects such as Geographer while Emily is an active member of the band DRMS. Four years ago, the two began playing music together in the experimental folk ensemble Honeycomb which initiated their path toward growing and weaving their creative song writing and soulful expression into a power duo.
They first crossed paths in the San Francisco music scene in 2006, becoming close friends and admirers of each others music from the start. After years of pursuing separate projects they decided to go on tour together in Europe representing both of their bands, co-headlining and backing each other up. Their shows and experiences in Norway, especially, ignited the creative flame in both of them along with a feeling that this was something they had to further pursue together. In fact, the name Yesway is itself a variation on the very country that really sparked their collaboration. Yesway is also the name of their debut full length album, set for release on May 6. The first single Whoacean is streaming now along with it’s accompanying video. They will be playing The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco on March 4 and will be touring later this Spring.
In a live setting, their voices literally melt together and their performances are intimate yet expansive. They are often backed by Vibraphone player Andrew Maguire who also plays with Will Sprott and Thao and Mirah. Although their instrumentation is centred around vocal harmonies and two guitars, folk seems like a inaccurate description as many of their songs are in odd time signatures and do not follow a traditional song form. The results are songs that are truly celestial, shape shifting across different moods that match their creative styles.
While the Bay Area has proven to become their home after many years in Oakland and San Francisco, city living no longer satisfies. Now the two inhabit sleepy beach towns on the coast North of San Francisco, soaking up the beauty and drawing inspiration directly from their surroundings. Both Emily and Kacey have always felt close to nature whose colours bleed through into their sound and lyrics. Having grown up in up-state New York and Colorado respectively, the wilderness provides a familiar backdrop and acts as a canvas for their creativity.
With Yesway, their creative process happens as naturally as the ebb and flow of the tide or the growth of the forest. Their sisterly bond and creative intuition make for an exquisite illustration of a rare and powerful connection shared by two potent songwriters.