INTERVIEW: YARN "Empty Pockets"

Yarn is a combination of country soul knitted together with harmony filled songs delivered with a passion about life’s personal losses, outrages, and embarrassments. An Americana band born out of Brooklyn, blends songs of heartbreak and defiance with a positive and sunny outlook on life. Yarn is a big city band with a country heart. I visited with Blake Christiana, lead vocalist about the bands new found popularity.

Bev: Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit with you about your new CD “Empty Pockets This is your 2nd project correct? How does this differ from the debut?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: This is our 2nd release. Our first release was much more of an experiment compared to the 2nd, both are cohesive, but the second is a much more mature production and put together to make a project we are very proud of and is getting some attention. Empty Pockets is definitely a step up.

Bev: You recently won the IMA for Best Alternative Country Song of The Year (“No Future Together”) And where to you display it?

Yarn: Well we are on the road, so it is not on display yet, but we are so proud of it. We put the sticker on our CD’s to make people aware of it.

Bev: You are on the official ballot for several Grammy’s coming up in 2009, what are you feeling about that?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: Expectations, I am trying not to expect anything, but, I do have my fingers crossed in one category. Country Collaborations, which we did “I’M DOWN” with Edie Brickell, so if we can pull off a nomination for that category I would be thrilled. I am just excited to even make the initial ballot.

Bev: Blake, do you usually write most of the songs?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: I have written a very big percentage, and in some way I am involved in all of them, I co-write with Shane Spalding and we do a lot of writing together, in fact the song that won the IMA Award was co-written with Shane.

Bev: As with most artists, I am sure you feel a connection with your fans and audiences as you perform certain songs, which one gets you every time?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: Off the first project, “Cat and Mouse” we tend to end the show with it and it always has a great crowd reaction. We played a two and a half hour show the other night and the place was packed and when we played “No Future Together” the crowd sang back the chorus to us and we have never had that and it was awesome. To this point that was one of the coolest stage moments I have experienced.

Bev: Did any of you pursue music as a career in college or did you start as a club act and grow from there?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: In college I started with a business major and was failing miserably. I had some music credits and my college advisor is the one who suggested I go for a degree in music. I still did not know what I was doing even after I graduated and I went to work with the family business and eventually put together a club band in New York in mid-town.

Bev: When you are not on the road, what do you enjoy doing to unwind and relax?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: I have recently started doing pictures and taking photographs. I am trying to get that art form down. I really have been pouring everything into the music the last couple years, so I seem to never slow down much.

Bev: You are / were #15 on the AMA charts and moving up, can you describe the emotions you go through as you watch your project mature from the production stages into chart numbers and award considerations?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: It is very fun to watch and exciting to see it move forward with success. I wish I were more of an optimist and less of a pessimist sometimes. I am never satisfied so the excitement fades quickly for me. I push myself with each new step to make it to the next bigger and better step. Looking at the financial statement, we have a long way to go!!

Bev: How long did it take you to complete this CD?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: We took our time. We went about it in our own weird kind of way. We recorded a lot of songs not knowing what would make the album. It was then scaled back to fifteen songs. We are very happy with the songs selected.

Bev: I am sure this is not the first time you have been asked this, but, how did you arrive at the name Yarn?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: THAT is the #1 question. I always wanted a string band and the songs we sing are spinning tales and telling stories so the simplicity of yarn just worked.

Bev: You have been compared to artists such as Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, Randy Travis do you find that flattering to be compared to someone of stature, or do you think it gives people expectations when thy come to see you perform?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: I don’t mind being compared. They are all credible artists so I am flattered to be compared to them.

Bev: Your songs are filled with amazing instrumental sounds, from mandolin to fiddle to viola to dobro. What is the creative backbone like when you start recording a project like this?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: The core of the band is bass, drums, mandolin, guitar and vocals. I think about songs from the moment they are born and you imagine different sounds you think you want to implement, and as we try them sometimes it works and sometimes not, and as we work through them and take our time playing them live as we add sounds we know what works and what does not or what is missing.

Bev: If you could change any one thing in the music industry, what would you change?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: I would change the cultivation of careers and how it has fallen to the wayside. I know so many people in the music business trying to get that ONE hit instead of making a career of sustainable music. There are many talented people working desk jobs who were tossed aside because they could not come out with a hit for the label. I am here for the whole book and the story.

Bev: Besides the music, do you have any other aspirations in the entertainment industry? Acting or producing?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: I would love to produce. I have been active with the production of the last two projects so to have a band come to us and we can make a name for ourselves with that aspect as well, it would be great!

Bev: What is the most commonly asked question when you are interviewed or by the fans when you meet them?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: We always ask with a raised pitch in their voice like they are questioning us a second time .. “Where are you from”? They cannot believe a sound like ours comes out of New York.

Bev: If you were given the opportunity to be on the stage performing with any one artist, who would you choose? And a writer?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: Performing would be John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, or Johnny Cash.
Co-writing with Johnny Cash would be amazing.

Bev: What is the funniest gift a fan has given you so far?

Blake Christiana - Yarn: We get a lot food. We always get balls of yarn, knitted scarves, someone gave me cough syrup for my sore throat.

Bev: I have enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you and appreciate you letting me visit with you about the new project and your musical careers. I am sure we will be hearing more and more about you.

Blake Christiana - Yarn: Thank you so much, you had some great questions and it has been great to get to know you too. I hope we see you again soon.

For more information on Yarn you can check them out online at or

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