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Live Music: The Yearlings Album Launch @ Smith’s Alternative. Friday 18 July.

By Arne Sjostedt 23 July 2014


The Yearlings contrast a depth of emotion with a comfortably detached approach that suits the duo (Robyn Chalklen and Chris Parkinson).

Offering up a gentle brand of alt country, folk and blues inspired fare, they have built a reputation around their two part vocal delivery. And it was clear from this performance what it is that audiences have come to enjoy. At times their duel vocals seemed to gently glide on separate wings, both pointed in the same direction, while at other times tangling around one another. An established partnership, both Chalklen and Parkinson have long ago found their groove together, and this is the kind of developed chemistry, along with Parkinson’s guitar work, that acts as a keystone for everything else that happens on stage.

Musically, together with drummer BJ Barker, they were a tight band, building gentle climaxes and sparse, simmering moments. And they did this again and again.

Playing to what must have been a full house at the Smith’s Alternative venue, Parkinson switched between electric and acoustic instruments, while Chalklen evenly and elegantly played beside. Aside from the understated, textured vocal delivery, what struck me as the songs tumbled after one another was Parkinson’s agility with the guitar. He has a control over the instrument that allows him to entertain and impress with some at times deceptively simple, at others intricate passes across the fret board.

On a satisfying night, both artists showed how comfortable they are with their roles on stage, and with the music they were delivering, which rubbed off onto the audience – lulling everyone inside the room into a happy contentment.

Well into loving the good things in life, Arne is a seasoned journalist with a background in music and the arts.

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