Keep You in Mind
All Welcome Records
Jaron Yancey = Amigo The Devil + Justin Townes Earle
Jaron Yancey’s vocals are saturated with whiskey-soaked sadness and those cocaine withdrawal blues. I feel Yancey’s songs are sung through the familiar filter of loneliness by a man comfortable being alone. On Keep You in Mind, Yancey sings transitory love songs that land on a sliding scale of once burning, fading or gone.
The acoustics on Keep You in Mind are amazing. Yancey sounds like he’s in a stalled train on a railroad somewhere, sitting smack dab in the middle of an empty box car. His guitar and his calm, slightly-raspy vocal delivery haunts and adds a looming weight to these songs.
“Drinking myself to death from that railroad gin,” Yancey sings on “Weeping Afternoon.” “Because I haven’t heard where my baby’s been.” His musings come at a slow roll on this track as he’s asking himself questions he already knows the answers to, and hoping for pleasant outcomes. “Came home on a Monday / Found my baby gone / So I came back on a Sunday / Hoping you’d came back alone.” Yancey doesn’t give any indication that this girl is going to take him away from his weeping afternoon.
On the track “Ain’t Got Half,” he ruminates on if said girl comes back: “Spent all my money on whiskey and coke and a big ol’ cigar / You came around that corner saying that you never felt so bad / But you ain’t got half of what you said you had.” I feel Yancey is more comfortable with the whiskey, coke and cigar.
On all of these songs from Keep You in Mind, I believe Yancey sings about a need to be somewhere else at the same time while he’s secretly wanting to be just where he is. He wants love, but is equally as comfortable with that lonely shade of being without. Yancey is more afraid of being happy and content. as he proves on “Born To Lose”: “I never knew it was going to be so rough / Not afraid, I’m just paranoid / That everything is going to be alright.”
I have listened to this record several times, on rainy and sunny days. Each time I always feel the same. Keep You in Mind is definitely not a happy record. However, it’s not a sad one either. Yancey seems content—yet he sings about discontent anyway. He’s ok where he is. “it’s hard to find love in this town,” Yancey sings on the title track: “I’ve got enough whiskey to last the night.” Jaron Yancey will be alright, and I hope he continues to deliver songs like these. –Russ Holsten