Harmony Ridge Music

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  Kathleen Yearwood
Chart June 1994

Edmonton performer Kathleen Yearwood can simultaneously charm and threaten an audience. With an operatic voice and a predisposition toward the bizarre, she'll smash beer bottles into an amplified pail one minute and croon a slow ballad with bassoon accompaniment the next. While stomping, wailing and growling on stage, Yearwood awkwardly communicates her grim and chilling vision. All this is captured on her debut CD, Book of Hate (Amatish Music).

At a recent Toronto performance, Yearwood's split character was apparent. Her nervousness on stage between songs is painfully tangible; she loses her Amazon-woman aura and becomes tragically lost and quiet, stumbling through thanks and requests for more monitor volume. In conversation, however, she is neither retiring nor awkward, but articulate and humorous.

I asked her about her troubled upbringing and her romantic disasters which are the focus not only of the Music, but of much of the press written about her. "That just gives me stuff to write about." she explains. "it's fortunate. really! If I'd had a more sheltered life, I think it would have been really boring. I want to write about that stuff. We don't hear much from the underclass, which is where I kind of come from." Next on the agenda was her rather unusual songwriting style: "The way that I think about harmony is not like other people's: it's not influenced by what's been going on in popular music. When I write, I try and make it all sound natural, according to my brain and not to anyone else's.

Yearwood's highly poetic material ranges from tormented love ("Your hair is so black, as black as horses/to bear the pail of pale moonlight/why not allow me to put my fingers among your locks/and lay down there'--Tam Lin)through racism ("They wanted to know how I could be his sister/And where did I live and what was my last name/How could we be related because of the colours of our skin?"-'Who Killed Phillip") to just general dissatisfaction with society as we know it. Anger runs under poignancy like rocks under a smooth sea; her sublime voice breaks in wails and moans over the words: the guitar screams.

This dichotomy between the angelic and the demonic is everywhere. On the CD sleeve Is a passage from the Bible twisted into a perverted prayer that reads in part "...Evil Is stronger than good. The evil you do will outlive you by generations. The good you do will be forgotten as yesterday's grass..." Yearwood laughs when asked about this: "That's an amalgam of psychic garbage, you push the backwards transmogrifier and it all comes out backwards. The Bible is good fertile ground for poetry. Tons of my lyrics are stolen from the Bible. The lyrics are free, really: they're in the public domain!"

She claims to be completely obsessed by the idea of the end of the world, although in different terms than the comic-book character with the sign-board around his neck. "it's something to do with knowing that it has already ended.." she explains. "For [many indigenous people]. the world is over. Yearwood spent eight years criss- crossing the country working on Native-rights issues full-time. This has given her a wider perspective on her native Alberta and its fair share of rednecks: "You're surrounded, you're In a war zone at all times, and you have to remember that they're racists, and they hate artists."

While waiting for everybody else to realize the world has ended. Yearwood is writing a book based on the memoirs of an "ornery old coot" from Alberta that will also be a surreal history. She plans to start her own indie publishing company to match her indie record label, as well as to continue to tour.
---Stephanie Parker

Stavanger Aftenblad, Stavanger 20. Nov - 97
Canadian Yearwood sings songs that makes your blood flow a little faster - and makes all the oppressed ghosts crawl towards the surface. Scary stuff in other words. Yearwood sounds like a mixture of an innocent girl and the voice of a very miserable undead.

The lyrics and the melodies are apparently nice and innocent. But underneath the civilized surface, the demons dance.

But Kathleen Yearwood's got nothing to do with black metal or death metal. No, she simply writes nerve-racking ingenious songs about suffering, pain, imprisonment and injustice, and of the dream that is seldom fulfilled. "Book of Hate" and "Little Misery Birds" are filled with these kind of songs.

Kathleen Yearwood might be compared to our own Mari Boine in terms of tradition and the way she uses her voice. They both find their inspiration in the traditional folk music, and they are both gifted with extraordinary voices.

Yearwood arrives at Checkpoint without a band. She will perform songs from her albums "Book of Hate" and "Little Mary Birds. Maybe both "Who Killed Phillip", "Night Falls" and "Pastorale"

A very quickly done (and hopefully accurate) translation by Kathleen Yearwood of an article from Stavanger Aftenblad, Stavanger 20. Nov - 97.
Check Out More At Kathleen's Site

Dog Logic
CD $14.99 catalog# kycd-102

More Info
Wake Me Up (When We Get There) Real Audio
The Set Of Kitchens With No Doors Is The Null Set Real Audio
If Your Good And You Study Hard, Someday You Might Grow Up And Avoid The Firing Squad Real Audio
Book Of Hate
CD $14.99 catalog# kycd-101

Who Killed Phillip? Real Audio
Lost My Way Real Audio
Little Misery Birds
CD $14.99 catalog# kycd-100

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Jesus en Pauvre Real Audio
Tinderbox Real Audio
Video $10.50 catalog# kyv-100

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CD $14.99 catalog# kycd-103

Dress Rehearsal Rag Real Audio

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       2001 Harmony Ridge Music Call TOLL FREE 1-800-611-4698 (650-563-9280 Outside US)