Tag Archives: Yesway debut album

Yesway – Album Review

San Francisco’s 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.

Their voices literally melt together and their performances are intimate yet expansive. Although their instrumentation is centered around vocal harmonies and two guitars, many of their songs are in odd time signatures and do not follow a traditional song form. The results on the upcoming Yesway LP (out now) are songs that are truly celestial, shapeshifting across different moods that match their creative styles.

There isn’t a bad song on the new Yesway record and that’s a massive statement in itself. The whole album is blissful, creative and entrancing. Their harmonies are outstanding allowing you to fully drift into their musical world. They sound like angels singing. A good way to describe Yesway are to think of First Aid Kit with softer voices and a much more dynamic and creative approach. This isn’t your standard folk album.

Whoacean starts the album off which its melodic yet repetitive guitar riff which is joined rather spontaneously by the girls’ vocals, vocals that repeat “Ah who who, ah who who”. The vocals are scattered, complimentary and peaceful. It’s an experimental track to start a record with but it works in its entirety.

Let Go introduces the girls’ ability to write meaningful and captivating lyrics. While Whoacean is about musical arrangements and sporadic harmonies, Let Go has meaning. It starts, “Take position/Because there’s no no no no no guessing/Take cover under me/Because you don’t know who owns the body/Then let go…” with the second verse, “Choose your your your your your weapon/Because there’s no guessing/Take control over me/Because you don’t know who owns your body/Then let go…” truly putting the idea of this song forward. It’s a song about being vulnerable, about needing someone to help you and protect you so you can let go of some of that angst and frustration – so it’s not all on your shoulders. It’s a beautiful song – this is the only way to describe it.

Yesway’s newest single Howlin’ Face features on the album. This song has a very natural feel to it. The lyrics refer to nature, “If the howling dog should cry out/Quake is coming/Quake is coming…But oh how my body howls/The tallest trees in sight fall down…When the darkness seeks out the light/I won’t fight it…” Howlin’ Face seems to explore the idea of nature and how its many animals and ecosystems interact with each other and continue constantly. Howlin’ Face could perhaps be trying to get us to recognise how we’re also a part of this natural world, “How my body howls/The tallest trees in sight fall down…” It’s another outstanding track on this outstanding album.

Sun Through Feathers introduces a jazzy feel to this album. The harmonies are a little like The Puppini Sisters – uplifting and cheeky. The lyrics, “I saw the sun through feathers…I saw the leaves back on the trees…” again creates this idea of being free and in sync with nature. This song conjures up images of hazy summer evenings in gorgeous green fields, starring at the wonder of the sky, the birds, the flowers.

The end of the album see Heart Does Not Lie, Beat Obedient and Winter Willing are add something to the record before its close. Heart Does Not Lie sees the girls sing in a lower key creating a slightly more sombre tone which goes hand in hand with the lyrics and the dramatic, crashing drums. This is the most similar sounding song to First Aid Kit. Beat Obedient sees those peaceful harmonies sneak straight back in allowing the listener to once again lose themselve in Yesway’s musical world. Winter Willing ends the album with an upbeat track full of seasonal imagery. The guitar riffs compliment each other and feel bouncy and bright. The lyrics, “October…let the colours bury me/Summer feeling faded oh so fast/Anticipating what winter demands…We walk silent/As the trees get undressed/They reveal to us nothing hides nothing lasts…” may seems solemn but in fact with the music, they seem to hold another meaning. Winter isn’t seen as the cold, depressing month here, it’s seen as the transition period. The music and the harmonies help to keep those images of fading summer evenings fresh – you could say this song is more a celebration of a lovely summer rather than a moan about the winter weather.

Yesway have produced an utterly mind blowing album. As said, there isn’t a track on the record that lowers the standard – every track is a highlight. This is a must have album for 2014 without a doubt. Yesway’s new album is out now.

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Yesway Release New Single, Howlin’ Face

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.

Yesway, their debut full length album, has an updated release date of June 3 (originally set for today, May 6). To coincide with the new release date announcement, Impose Magazine premiered the new single Howlin’ Face. The track is on Soundcloud here.

Yesway

Yesway

Ritz and Johansing 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.

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 centered 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, shapeshifting across different moods that match their creative styles.

The first single Whoacean is also out now along with it’s accompanying video. In addition to upcoming shows in the San Francisco area, Yesway will be playing The Rockwood Music Hall in New York on May 31 as well as the Doug Fir in Portland on June 21 supporting Laura Veirs.

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Introducing…Yesway

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.

Yesway

Yesway

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.

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