Red Yarn (aka Andy Furgeson) is a Texas-born, Oregon-based family performer who weaves folksongs and puppetry into high-energy shows for all ages. With his engaging performances, lush folk-rock recordings, and playful music videos, this red-bearded bard reinvigorates American folklore for younger generations.
With traditional and original songs that apply an indie aesthetic to old time, blues, country and classic rock’n’roll, Red Yarn’s sound is both rooted and modern. Whether performing solo, with his wife and singing partner Jessie, or with a full band, Red Yarn’s shows are a raucous, inclusive celebration of the multicultural musical heritage of the USA. As Red rambles through the landscapes of American folklore, from the Deep Woods to the Old Barn, he introduces his “critter” friends – lovable, handmade puppets – along the way.
In April 2018, Red Yarn released his fifth album, Red Yarn’s Old Barn. With seven originals, four traditionals, and a honky tonk cover song, the album tells of an epic barn dance where critters of all kinds are welcome. It’s a musical homecoming for Furgeson, reflecting his roots in the Texas Hill Country. He co-produced the album with GRAMMY-winner Dean Jones & renowned engineer Adam Selzer, with studio sessions in Portland, Austin, and the Hudson Valley. Red Yarn’s playful & personal country-rock songs paint the Old Barn as an inclusive microcosm of the USA. “We’ll all feel better if we could all just be together,” Red sings on the opening track, “and there’s room here in my Old Barn for you.”
Red Yarn & his family band have performed at South by Southwest, Pilgrimage Music Fest, Stagecoach Country Music Festival, Wolf Trap National Park, Symphony Space, Pickathon, Northwest String Summit, and libraries and children’s museums across the country. Accolades for Red Yarn’s albums include NAPPA Gold, Parents’ Choice, and Fids & Kamily Music Awards, and frequent play on SiriusXM Kids Place Live.
Red Yarn released his debut album, The Deep Woods, in October 2013, introducing himself as a singular artist with a profound reverence for the folk tradition. This grant-funded, self-produced collection of animal folksong adaptations garnered high praise among “kindie” critics, including a #3 spot on Zooglobble’s Top 20 Kids Albums of 2014.
In December 2014, Red Yarn premiered The Deep Woods: Episode I, the pilot episode of a potential TV/web series based on his magical animal world. Directed by filmmaker Jeff Speetjens and funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Episode I uses songs from the first album to tell the story of Red first discovering the Deep Woods.
In June 2015, Red Yarn released Deep Woods Revival, the follow-up to his debut album. He delved deeper into the American folk canon, weaving an original narrative and lyrics into traditional animal folksongs. Recorded at Type Foundry Studios with renowned producer Adam Selzer, a band of local luminaries, and a choir of friends, Deep Woods Revival is a lush and lively folk-rock song cycle about childhood freedom and discovery in the wilderness.
Wake Up & Sing is Red Yarn’s third album, released in April 2016. Recorded with GRAMMY-winning producer Dean Jones at No Parking Studios in Rosendale, NY, the album is an homage to Furgeson’s favorite old children’s records and songbooks. Red Yarn emerges from the Deep Woods to sing sunnier songs about waking up, childhood play, animal adventures, and parenting.
Red Yarn released his fourth album, Born in the Deep Woods, in March 2017. It completed his Deep Woods trilogy, exploring musical genres that grew out of American folk music. From bluegrass to trance blues to heartland rock’n’roll, Born in the Deep Woods pushed Red Yarn’s creative folklore project into bold new territory.
Andy Furgeson is a musician, puppeteer and educator from Austin, Texas, based in Portland since 2005. In 2008, he began an exploration of animals in American folk music. He created a blog called ‘Red Yarn’ to chronicle his folkloric research and growing interest in puppetry. He dove deep into the folk music catalog with his Lomax-a-Day and Songbag-a-Day projects, adapting 60+ songs from classic anthologies. Red Yarn became Andy’s alter-ego, an itinerant bard and animal whisperer with a red beard as thick as the yarns he spins. He dreamt up the Deep Woods as a magical forest to contain all of his characters. By 2011, Andy was performing regularly at libraries, cafes and community events, and joined Young Audiences’ and Right Brain Initiative’s rosters of teaching artists.
Since committing himself full-time to Red Yarn in June 2012, Andy has performed 250 shows per year, taught music and puppetry to thousands of students, and touched the lives of countless families with his songs, puppets and positive messages. With five albums, extensive national touring, many music videos and a TV pilot under his belt, Red Yarn is taking his creative folklore project to a national scale.
Andy lives in North Portland with his wife and singing partner Jessie Eller-Isaacs (a teacher coach at Open School), their two young children, and a basement full of critters.