Red Yarn (Andrew Furgeson) finishes his first decade as Red Yarn in style—his wife and singing partner Miss Jessie joins their critter pals to celebrate the release of his seventh CD, Backyard Bop, with a virtual live-streamed family concert on August 7.
There’s a plaintive joy in the songs on Backyard Bop, as well as the inherent contradiction of wanting to play outside versus the perils of the pandemic restricting children to the very limits of “My Own Backyard.” The peppy “Neighborhood Park” seems a relic from another time. You can’t help but have mixed emotions for a child watching life “Outside My Window” from his room and also as the countryside whizzes by on a family car ride, among the only times some people gather in that particular indoor/outdoor setting:
If you keep your curtains closed
You’ll miss that perfect picture show
There’s a big show outside your window
Real people living in sunshine and shadow
Turn off your TV, put down your dumb phone
Enjoy the big show outside your window
Andy started his journey as a simple purveyor of American standard folk tunes, recording lost classics from the great catalog of little-known and forgotten chestnuts of the flatlands. Along the way, he loosened the reins and incorporated original songs into the mix, creating a more well-rounded, contemporary folk experience for his audience. Über-producer Dean Jones began working with Andy nearly one year ago on Backyard Bop, and their efforts have blossomed into a fully-actualized stage production that, alas, coronavirus is depriving children of appreciating in-person—including puppet regulars Mama Robin, a revamped Bob Rabbit, Molly Cottontail, and Rocky Raccoon (yes, named after a character from a song by some British boy band in the 1960s, but give Andy a break here). Red Yarn spins some tall tales and (yes) yarns to remind us that the homesteaders who invented this genre of music were the original “shelter at home” people.
Red Yarn will continue hosting weekly concerts on Facebook Live on Mondays and Wednesdays; that’s where the August 7 virtual concert will also happen.
Backyard Bop is available on August 7 from Red Yarn’s website, Amazon, and Apple Music.
Here is the video for the song, “Jump For Joy”: