About Red Yarn
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 folk, rockabilly, country and blues, Red Yarn’s sound is both rooted and modern. Whether performing solo, with his wife and singing partner Jessie, with collaborators, 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.
Red Yarn recently teamed up with his friend & colleague Aaron Nigel Smith to release a collaborative album, Smith & Yarn, on April 29, 2022. The album mixes their signature styles of reggae, funk, folk, country and roots rock into a unique blend of sounds and cultural traditions. Their lyrics celebrate unity, activism and friendship with a warm and inviting ease.
Red Yarn & his family band have performed at Austin City Limits Festival, 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 June 2015, Red Yarn released Deep Woods Revival. 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 pushes Red Yarn’s creative folklore project into bold new territory.
In 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. “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.”
In August 2020, Red Yarn released Backyard Bop, his first collection of all-original songs. After a 10-year journey through old American folk music, Red Yarn returned with a fresh set of rockabilly and folk-rock tunes about small towns, neighborhoods, and backyard adventures. Produced by GRAMMY-winner Dean Jones, Backyard Bop provides the perfect soundtrack for family dance parties, summertime activism & play.
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 dreamed 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 seven albums, extensive touring, and videos galore, 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 (an English teacher at Cleveland High School), their two young children, and a backyard full of critters.