CHATHAM RABBITS – ” The Yoke Is Easy, the Burden Is Full “

Posted: May 21, 2020 in CLASSIC ALBUMS
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Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, wedding and outdoor

Look, I’m easy to please. Give me a banjo (bonus points for claw hammer!), a husband-wife harmony duo and a song about waiting for the “coffee to brew” and I’m happy. And so begins The Yoke is Easy, the Burden Is Full, the peacefully pensive new album from North Carolina old-time group Chatham Rabbits, aka married duo Sarah Osborne McCombie and Austin McCombie.

The footage in this video is from the film The High Lonesome Sound (1963) by John Cohen, and is being used with permission by Folkstreams. We chose these specific scenes because they inspire us deeply. Community and music are depicted as essential to life.
The text is an animation made from Kelley Will’s hand-lettered font based on an old wood-type specimen from the turn of the 20th century. We hope this song, both its triumphant melody and hopeful lyrics bring you hope as we continue to lean on each other in the midst of Covid-19.

You can certainly hear the echoes of Chatham Rabbits’ predecessors here: Over the Rhine, The Civil Wars, Mandolin Orange and other bands who were/are bound in matrimony as well as music. But Chatham Rabbits’ back-porch ballads land in a lighter and different way—there’s very little production clouding their rushing harmonies, clear as a mountain stream, and crunchy Applachian jams (We named “Oxen” as one of the best folk songs of the year so far). The Yoke (which arrived on May 1st) is a stable album with few peaks and valleys, but I’ve found its steadiness to be oh-so-very comforting during an otherwise choppy time. That aforementioned first song is album opener “Clean Slate,” a pretty poem about “the innocent youthful glow” of mornings, “the best part of the day.” As a recovering night owl, this is a sentiment I probably wouldn’t have jiived with a couple of years ago.

With a cool May breeze drifting through the open window, “Clean Slate” sounds like a pretty excellent way to think about the time of day that could be viewed as just another daily reminder of our habitual new tedium.

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