A Valentine’s treat: Ahead of a May release, we’re premiering a track from traditional folk and bluegrass act Chatham Rabbits‘s self-released second album, The Yoke Is Easy, the Burden Is Full, which is due out on May 1.

“This Year” isn’t a traditional love song, but it did grow out of an album about community, accountability, and loving the people around you. Like the songs on previous album All I Want from You, it’s homespun and rootsy, with clear-eyed storytelling as its lodestar. Filled with jangly hooks and guided by Sarah Osborne McCombies’s sweet, confident voice, it translates the desire to communicate a moment of clarity and growth to another person. 

“I know my progress ain’t always clear,” McCombie sings, “but I have changed so much this year.”

Sarah and Austin McCombie recorded the album in a house by a lake in rural Virginia. The Yoke Is Easy, the Burden Is Full tells stories about relationships—theirs, sure, but also, as the album copy states, the stories of  “real, raw people doing the best they can with the life they are living.” 

If that sounds like an Alice Munro short story to you—if you like Alice Munro stories about everyday people trying to better understand their lives and relationships—then this album may resonate with you. 

The Yoke Is Easy, the Burden Is Full was produced by Saman Khoujinian. A short tour will follow the release, with a May 1 show at The Carolina Theatre


Contact deputy arts + culture editor Sarah Edwards at sedwards@indyweek.com. 

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