The Yearlings recently released one of the finest local Americana albums of 2014 in All The Wandering and they’ve backed it up with strong reviews of the shows on their album release tour. As that tour winds up Robyn Chalklen kindly took the time to answer a few questions in our regular Six Strings Q&A.
Album Review: 7.5/10
Robyn Chalklen and Chris Parkinson are the core duo of The Yearlings and this, their fifth album, finds them at the top of their game. All The Wandering is the kind of album that fires melancholic shots straight to your heart. With weeping pedal steel courtesy of Lost Ragas’ Shane Reilly alongside a raft of other great musicians they create ten absorbing songs to get lost in. From glacial late night shuffles to the tear-stained vocal harmonies riding ‘Plain Old Ring’s‘ soulful groove, this is Americana at its finest; rich and soulful with just the right amount of lonely heartache.
What was the album that first led you down the dusty path of Americana music?
Jackson Browne’s Late to the Sky, love the imagery, steel guitar and the vocals. such beautiful songs, melancholy, sweet evocative music.
What’s been the most memorable gig you’ve played and why?
a gig in Byron Bay, about to go on stage to a packed house when Chris fell down the stairs into the band room onto his 1932 acoustic arch-top Martin guitar. It smashed to pieces and after some whisky & tears he borrowed an electric guitar and the new Yearlings sound was born that night.
How did you learn to play your instrument – from friends, tuition, listening to records?
all of the above. you just got obsessed and you can’t stop. you get stuff from everywhere you can.
If you could sit-in with one other musician (living or dead) who would it be?
Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead – I think he’d get our music and he’d be a whole bag of fun.
Do you feel there is a strong folk/country music community in Australia?
Yes, we play lots of little shows around the country and they are always well attended and it sure beats listening to commercial radio crap – the community radio stations are incredibly supportive and we have a small but strong network of musician buddies around the place who are always inspiring.
What is your favourite Americana release so far this year?
Valerie June – Pushing Against a Stone.
What are your aspirations over the next 12 months?
Make some vinyl copies of All The Wandering, write some more songs, we have a tour with Hayward Williams from Wisconsin, get back to the USA.
All The Wandering is out now via their online store