Portland-based artist, Red Yarn (aka Andy Furgeson) made his Kindie debut in 2013 with The Deep Woods. Prior to releasing The Deep Woods, Furgeson spent half a decade researching folklore and American folk music. Ultimately, he drew inspiration from the role animals played within these folk songs and from there he built a whole world featuring animal puppets (endearingly referred to as “critters”) that join him on stage and in videos. The result has been a fabulous production harkening back to Jim Henson’s Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. Needless to say, traveling through the Deep Woods with Red Yarn is quite an experience.
What I have always been drawn to is the magnificent energy of Red Yarn’s music. The rollicking sound always quickens my pulse, as soon as the rhythm gets going, and the community of singers chime in. And then there’s the dancing…Furgeson can whoop it up quite a bit, inspiring anyone to get up and get to stomping, clapping and singing. The latest video for “Bile them Cabbage,” the first track from his forthcoming album Deep Woods Revival (due out June 23, 2015), does just that. It’s a good ole jamboree, and we’re all invited!
The Deep Woods Revival, introduces a whole new anthology of American folk classics adapted from the great American folk music canon, including works collected by John and Alan Lomax, Carl Sandburg and Ruth Crawford Seeger. “Bile them Cabbage” (“bile” is an old-time variant of “boil”), was adapted from the traditional “Bile Them Cabbage Down,” which Red Yarn first discovered in Alan Lomax’s in Folk Songs of North America (1960). Red explains, “Variations of these lyrics about raccoon, possum and rabbit appear in many old American folksongs. They were some of the first animal lyrics I discovered, which piqued my curiosity and set me down this path into the Deep Woods. In fact, Red Yarn‘s first puppet music video was for a song called “Tails,” which incorporated many of the same lyrics and a bit of “Bile Them Cabbage Down.“‘
The video was shot at Furgeson’s house and features his wife Jesse, as well as six expert puppeteers who handle all of Red Yarn’s critter friends. The vibe of the video gives you some good insight into the magic of Red Yarn’s live performances which is typically akin to “a community-building, almost spiritual experience with devoted fans – both adults and children – singing and dancing along.” In “Bile Them Cabbage Down” friends, neighbors, and even a few Kickstarter backers join in the fun.
“In my mind, the video echoes the trajectory of Red Yarn. What started as a pet project with my wife and a few puppets has grown into this larger, community-based movement to preserve old American folksongs. So many people have helped me get to this point, from fellow musicians and puppeteers and visual artists to the sweet families who keep coming to my regular shows. The Deep Woods Revival is real and growing stronger every day!”