Floods and plagues, ghosts and slaughter: woe to those who populate the songs of Yarrow. A gentle summer breeze swings the gallows ropes, flowers bloom callously on lovers’ graves. These anthems are definitely not from Eden.
Yarrow’s debut album was borne in a fever – scarlet fever, to be medically specific. A disease of the last century is a fitting backdrop for songs that dig bare handed into the loam to unearth the corpses of old English folk and country blues. YARROW is the work of Ryan Boldt, frontman of The Deep Dark Woods, a band that crafted prairie psychedelics and a “loose grungy folk sound” (Paste) for flannelites. For nearly ten years the band developed an international following with particular success in the Americana realm, nominated alongside Alabama Shakes and Dawes for Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2012 Americana Music Awards.
Now wrest out of the woods, Yarrow’s outlook is decidedly more macabre, tapping into a rich vein of gothic surrealism that aligns with some of the great murder balladeers of our time. With Appalachian soil under his fingernails, Yarrow writes in a deep tradition of bleak and forlorn storytelling, drawing lines from Ireland to Tennessee, the Oxford Girl to Folsom Prison.
As Yarrow, there’s a juicy unease to Boldt’s presence, as if a new door has opened to let loose the weirdness. In place of the freewheelin’ jammy vibe there’s a darker, stranger tenor that sides with those modern mystics whose music exists in the creepier, freakier corners of existence.
“Fallen Leaves,” the first song from the forthcoming debut album, gushes acetone and saline, burning and cleansing the memory of lovely Annie, dead and gone. The song is a sideways pass at recreating the sound of country keyboard legend Augie Meyers. Yarrow’s chilling number is anything but, instead delivering a striking introduction to this new project.
Yarrow’s debut album will be released on Six Shooter Records in the fall of 2016.