Debut album presents good friends’ musical ability and personal stories.
‘Three Rivers’ is the first full-length studio album from Yosh and Yimmy, the Texan duo of Josh Glenn and Jimmy Willden. They have been performing and writingYosh and Yimmy “Three Rivers” together since meeting in 2015. Both are fine musicians and working with Mason Shirley, have produced an album of rich sounds. It is well orchestrated, balancing the vocals and instruments to create a very clean sound. The songs are primarily driven by the duo’s twin guitars but are well supported by a range of instruments including banjo, piano, cello, drums and hammered dulcimers.
The artists’ stage names, Yosh and Yimmy, make the whole project appear personal and cute in the way of a family joke or nickname. The album title, ‘Three Rivers’, also feels like it needs explanation. Incidentally, that’s the name of the town geographically halfway between Yosh and Yimmy’s respective homes. It remains a mystery why Josh and Jimmy decided to replace the letter “J” with “Y” and create the band’s unique name.
The lyrics on the album also seem a bit like in-jokes or stories that Yosh and Yimmy and their gang know so well as to only need the punchline. And they seem ok with that. Their release notes for ‘Breathe Again’ say: “Hey don’t worry about the lyrics on this one, we’ll change them later. And then we didn’t. Yeah, it’s a little silly…but we love it.” The last phrase also applies to ‘McKinley Farm’, which lists the puns that double as names of the chickens on the farm where Josh and his girlfriend Bryana live. It makes for a quirky novelty song but it’s not Tom Lehr. They describe the song ‘Down and Out’ as “an upbeat ditty about being, well… down and out.” Upbeat, of course, is usually not a word associated with being down and out and while the song correctly recognises that we could all do with less, celebrating poverty as a desirable condition smacks of a romanticisation too far.
The overall impression is that Yosh and Yimmy are good musicians, great friends and really nice guys. They sound like the kind of people you would enjoy meeting in a bar, having a companionable beer or two while you listen to their stories. If you met them in a bar, you would probably feel better for the experience. This album though isn’t enough of a reason to go to the bar to see them perform.