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All the Wandering - The Yearlings


True to their namesake – young horses – the Yearlings, as one of Adelaide’s more stylish duos, have been solidifying their lonesome-cowboy sound over the last decade and playing it to appreciative audiences all over the country, as well as internationally.

Complete with lyrics of longing and a steel guitar, their music is steeped in the American tradition, resonating with a heavy south-western desert lament and a hint of Appalachia groundedness.

The songs on All the Wandering celebrate the mellow twang of an outlaw as much as the slow chord of a lost love, and to stick to theme, there’s mention of whiskey, trains and faded jeans. I’m so reminded of the Southern Rock tradition of the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the lesser-praised Bad Company, that the usually annoying fade-out was somehow more than appropriate in “Way Out East”; it was the thing that I didn’t know I was craving.

To add to the authenticity of their style of vintage country roots, this fifth studio album was recorded on a vintage track tape machine, thanks to sound engineer Mick Wordley. Whether or not that comes across to the average music lover is not really the point. The point is that All the Wandering is the real thing, not just mimicking a style, but making a place for The Yearlings within its ample fold.

Robyn Chalklen’s is an emotionally hungry voice, while Chris Parkinson’s carries the ghost of Jerry Garcia in its depth of vulnerability and wisdom. The first two tracks – the title song “All the Wanderings” and “Heart of it All” – show as much (and bassist Harry Brusand drummer BJ Barker should not go unnoticed). My favourite track is “Blue Sky Boy”, perhaps because it’s so uplifting in its desolate way and I feel somehow saved (or perhaps it’s because the Blue Sky Girls sing backing vocals and the symmetry in that is uncommonly light-hearted?).

Look out for The Yearlings at the Wheaty – they tend to gig in the sorts of pubs where finely crafted beer is not only served, but drunk. So does this mean discerning beer drinkers like good music? I’m going to say yes. I’m also going to tell you to ditch your beers and grab your whiskies when you settle into this CD.

It’s an atmospheric, narrative-driven compilation, full of character and place, and getting drunk to it on fiery spirits seems somehow appropriate.

The Yearlings are currently touring nationally and will be returning to South Australia to play shows in the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Adelaide’s Wheatsheaf Hotel on August 1-3.


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