Sol Driven Train, Yarn
As the Carolina/Clemson game drew to a close, New York-based country-rock quartet Yarn took the stage at the Windjammer on Isle of Palms for an opening set. They played well, and highlight of the performance was the talented Andrew Hendryx, who split duties on the harmonica and electric mandolin. The guy put down some seriously face-melting licks and solos on the mandolin.
Yarn's most surprising asset was their ability to sound like an authentic Southern rock outfit while hailing from the Big Apple. The country-style authenticity was reinforced by their employment of the standup bass, played by Rick Bugel in his pageboy cap. To sum up their sound in the simplest way possible, it'd be as if Ryan Adams stopped being so damn depressing and found a way for him and the Cardinals to sustain an upbeat attitude.
Before Sol Driven Train took the stage, the two groups collaborated on a song that guided the large crowd at the Windjammer into a square dancing frame of mind. The song blended Johnny Cash-esque guitar work and sax solos.
The members of Yarn and Sol Driven Train were obviously bros, and they meshed well on stage. They gave the crowd exactly what it wanted and delivered grooves with an understated panache.
Staying true to their Sol Driven Train style, the ensemble didn't focus on any particular style, joining various elements of psychedelic rock, soul, and funk. At times, the horn work between saxophonist Russell Clarke and guitarist/trombonist Ward Buckheister had a touch of reggae while still maintaining a connection to their Southern roots with country-infused jam-outs and build-ups. The dynamic interplay between the horns and the rhythm section was the most impressive quality of the set. They combined well with Sol Driven Train's assorted arrangements, especially when things slowed down for harmonies between Buckheister and singer/guitarist Joel Timmons.
It's clear these guys have a serious local following and it's easy to understand why. They're multi-talented musicians who are fun to watch, each using a piece of the locomotive to create downright danceable and catchy melodies that call a crowd to hop on board.