The best music always finds a way of creeping back into our lives. The vibrant sound of early seventies American folk-pop by artist like Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, and Loggins & Messina brought to radio a form of folk music that was beautiful, fun, thoughtful, and connected to the world we lived in. This music was very different from the music of Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Pete Seeger. Perhaps that is why so many of the songs from these early seventies artists have remained in our collective consciousness.
“Three Rivers,” the new album from Yosh & Yimmy is both something new and an echo of artists like Loggins & Messina and Cat Stevens. The album is reflective, clever, and lovely. The duo, Josh Glenn and Jimmy Wilden, two proud south Texans, harmonies rival that of Illinois duo The Brother Brothers.
The album opens with the song “Early Sun,” a folk march with gorgeous harmonic vocals. The song explores our connection to nature in a trippy folksy vibe. The third track “Down & Out” poses the proposition that life is a little bit better without the trappings of affluence. The song is a knee-slapper. The harmonica gives the song an old country bounce. This song demonstrates the fellows can do more than just delightful harmonies.
“Proof” is the song that stays with me. It’s simple and the vocals and ukulele give it a light bop. It has the pep of a Peach Pit song without the sardonic lyrics. This is just a feel-good tune.
“McKinley Farm” is about the joy of naming chickens. Nothing too deep here. Just straight-ahead silly fun. Just a few of the names include Ruth Bader Hensberg, Obi Wan Henobi, and Oprah Henfree. The lyrics are clever and the “ba ba ba” fillers are wonderful. As far as the style goes, think The Mountain Goats. It’s that kind of fun.
The album closes with “Ghost in the Darkness.” This song features Jimmy Wilden’s vocals. I love this song. It’s not a folk tune, but it’s too good to leave off the album. The vocals are emotional. The lyrics “Where am I in all of this? You are not the only haunted one” hit hard. It was so smart to end the album with this song.
Three Rivers is superb. The vocals, especially the harmonies, are memorable. This is a great album to put on during a lazy afternoon and listen all the way through. If you get the chance to catch Yosh & Yimmy live do so. They’re charmers and the live experience adds such great context to the album.