Girl & Imagination
A trip through sing-songwriter Yata’s two new CDs is a tour through
familiar sensations with new, mysterious delights. One CD,
Imagination Nation, is the fascinating instrumental version of the
other—the spirited song cycle, Nature Girl.
Once again, the ever-optimistic Yata Peinovich shares his unbridled
love of life and wife through his lyrics and highly crafted
Recorded in Yata’s home territory of Durand, Wisconsin by producer and
bassist, Mark Healey of the classic rock group, Badfinger, each
CD is like a country road you haven’t walked in awhile. The songs are
old growth melody trees simultaneously feeling new and fresh, like that
first spring glimpse of a wild, Wisconsin trillium.
The CD, Nature Girl, features Yata’s clear, tenor voice and his lyrical
appreciation for the world he knows so well, whether a local river town
or his ever-renewing love for his wife, as in the song, Cool, Queen
Jean. This song features the tasty slide guitar of Yata’s
neighbor, Tim Caswell, and an edgy surprise in Yata’s usually polished
vocals. It’s a great credit to Yata that he can call upon friends
like Healey, Caswell, saxophonist, Sue Orfield, and Howard “Guitar”
Luedtke who rock various cuts with solos that ascend to the realms of
mastery. As long Yata continues to sing, write music, and bring
together such fine players we will never be out of reach of the deeper
expressions of life and love.
The songs, Del Mar, (Sue Orfield’s sax solo rolls like beach sex)
Cocobutter, (it’s pure happiness) Nature Girl, (with a melody as
addictive as maple sugar) and Go Slow (with its rum-and-coke pedal
steel) come right out of Yata and his wife Jean’s winter adventures on
tropical islands. Yet, those of us who know his repertoire aren’t
surprised when we find his optimistic social beliefs pouring through
Imagination Nation or Rewrite History, where he asks us to “make the
As this CD continues, we begin to witness Yata’s mature soul.
Cellist Dean Langby gives deep resonance to two songs and amplifies
that soulfulness. On first hearing Rise and Fall and the poignant
lullaby, Good Night, Ian, my notes say, “This collection of songs is a
rosary--with beads of beauty and optimism strung on a thread of sorrow,
represented by the cello’s long notes.”
The grinning Yata, however, makes sure we don’t swim too long in any
sorrow. The CD ends with a good-time tune of small town
Americana—Mississippi River Rag. This song, with Yata in faux
Louis Armstrong form, has the timeless feel of early American songs.
While a tuba, clarinet and snapping syncopations support the fun-loving
Yata, an eternal light of happiness buoys the listener and infuses us
with optimism. What a wonderful world—with men like Yata who give
us their music!!!
The instrumental versions of these songs are collected on the second
CD, Imagination Nation. As I listened, I realized that this
collection is the soundtrack of a man’s purposeful life. One doesn’t
always need words to share one’s feelings and thoughts. This CD
highlights the melodies and the fine musical talents of Yata and his
friends. The music is saturated with his friendships, his American
philosophy, his drive, willpower, technical expertise, and his ongoing
re-examination and reminiscence of the artistic life, his family life,
his married life and love. Yata is an artist whose loves are on
his sleeves. They are in these vocals, these tunes and in the spirit of
his generosity and we are lucky to have his gifts anytime we turn on
Timothy Young, poet, St. Paul, MN
Thanks so much for the CD . I LOVE IT... dancing to
Cocobutter and Mississippi Rag!!......Yata you are such a talented
musician and singer. I'm so glad you have stayed with it over all these
years. You bring great joy to many...
MTG, Fargo, ND
Yata's music comes out of folk but is genre-bending, incorporating
jazz, rockabilly, gospel, Americana and blues into his smooth, tranquil
songs....Both of Yata's new records are heavily inspired by the natural
world (in fact, the Chippewa and Red Cedar Rivers actually get a
writing credit on Imagination Nation.).
Thom Fountain, music editor, VolumeOne, Eau Claire, WI
Praise for SNOW
For decades Timothy Young
has pursued the music of
poetry, while Yata Peinovich’s songwriting has consistently showcased a
sensibility. What luck for us listeners that these two heart-minstrels
meet and combine their talents in this deeply felt and richly modulated
collection of poem-songs. Their unique delivery, equal parts rocksalt
honey, is as refreshing and joyful as a drive through Wisconsin's
River bluff country in late spring.
R. Smith, poet & musician, River Falls, Wisconsin
before Dawn, 2007
We know that Timothy Young is some
kind of rare Irish Tiger, semi-mythical, with a fondness for kindling
heading out of town before dawn. His poetry has the sharpened tips of a
but he laces the stalk of his arrows with honeysuckle and brandy, so
make ourselves willing targets. He is an emerging and brilliant
the spoken word, and carries something very ancient with him.
HAS FALLEN is a raw, deep and precious
top branches are singed by firebirds wings and its roots are in ancient
Sell the car, make love by rivers, befriend impossible odds-its
hold like a heavy wine your grandmother warned you about.
Young and Yata are soulful
outlaws giving away treasure from the Temple.
This CD is absolutely superb-My
Heart is Your Home is going to become the anthem of some kind of
movement just stirring in the land. There is something new happening
sense trouble. Best record of 2008 I'll wager.
….Martin Shaw, mythologist, storyteller &
musician, Devon, UK
of A Branch from the
Lightning Tree, 2008
These are poems rooted in the
realities of life; poems that do not flinch from the truth, but look
into it to find nourishment and joy. The best work here has both grit
shine, and recklessly seeks beauty among the scars. I love Pilgrimage
especially, a terrific piece.
Leeming, poet & musician, Ithaca,
of Dynamite on a
China Plate, 2006
“If you can't get up a head of steam... you're gonna have to
make it on sheer caffeine.”
That's a line that Wisconsin songwriter Bryce Black says
his groggy brain "real early one morning" years ago, as he was
desparately trying to wake up and rush off to his day job. Fortunately,
that line stuck in his head and started percolating. Eventually it was
brewed up into Sheer Caffeine, the energizing title cut on the eagerly
awaited first recording recently released by Bryce and his long-time
neighbor, friend and collaborator, Yata Peinovich.
Bryce & Yata's new release is crammed with 13 witty and
thought-provoking original songs. They range from wicked social satire
and irreverent whimsy, to the profound, heartfelt meditation "Loving
One of the funniest songs on the album, "Mad Cow," (a moooving
invitation to "express your inner bovine") won First Prize in the Folk
Song Competition at the 2004 Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference.
Bryce’s rich bass voice is perfectly offset by Yata’s deft
harmonies and irresistible jazz/rock/reggae/blues flavored rhythm
guitar work. Yata has performed on A Prairie Home Companion and was a
member of Minneapolis trio Artesian Dreams (recipient of a Minnesota
Music Association award for Best Folk Band).
This album was produced by Bruce Hecksel of the nationally
known "Fast Forward Folk" duo Patchouli.
Bruce is a man of many talents, who variously adds lead guitar, bass,
banjo, keyboards, marimba, and a broad spectrum of percussion to these
eclectic, imaginative folk/acoustic arrangements.
of the Raven CD by Yata and Dave Ja Vue © 2007. Ten original songs.
on the great poetry and philosophy of the ages, Wisconsin songwriters
Yata and Dave Ja Vue announce the release of their new original CD
collaboration “Spirit of the Raven”. Dave and Yata weave into
their lyrics the thoughts of culturally diverse thinkers such as: Lao
Tzu, Chinese philosopher; Chief Seattle, Native American leader;
Isaiah, biblical prophet; and Wallace Stevens, post-modern American
ten songs on this recording open with “Valley Spirit”- a
spiritual quest over a topography of mountains, valleys and prairies
with Yata's voice echoing down the canyons. In the next
song “The Man with the Blue Guitar” a dialogue takes place
between an interpretive artist, and those living in a literal world.
“Footyprints” is a cry for common sense and compassion for the
environment, fully expressed in three part harmony vocals with Thea
Ennen and Julie Patchouli joining Yata , while Ja Vue drives the song
with his vintage Gibson guitar.
Randy Madsen and drummer Harvey Fields contribute colorful touches in
the instrumental arrangement that accompany the transformation of
“caterpillar, chrysalis, metamorphosis” in the dream song called
“I Thought I Had Wings”. “Spirit World” describes how one
can find their own peace even when science and scriptures cannot
title track “Raven” tells the true story of a young man who lost
his life in the Gulf Wars, yet his voice is heard in a dream while
reappearing in the form of a raven. “Spirit of the Raven in a
young man's soul, I can hear his song, through the wind it blows”. The
recording concludes with a 2500 year old poem by Lao Tzu which
concerns the price of wealth versus the value of self in
“Sidetracked”. The percussion work of Marc Anderson highlights
this carefree and danceable song.
Vue is a noted jazz, folk, poet guitarist as well as a record
producer. His instrumental arrangements have been used to score a
diverse array of programs from award winning documentaries on PBS, to
the modern dance choreography of the Ozone Dance Company. He has
taught guitar methodology, harmony and jazz theory, and writes
articles on the “Origins of Harmony”.
is a prolific songwriter, singer and guitarist, known for his skill
in setting poetry to music. He coordinates the music for area events
such as the Stockholm Art Fair, Laura Days in Pepin, WI and the
Emerging Artist Program held last New Years Eve at the Mable Tainter
Theater. He is a licensed social worker as well as a representative
for the watercolor work of his wife, artist Jean Accola.
and Yata began their songwriting careers in the 70's at St. Olaf
College. They have made a commitment to producing original
recordings with poetically derived lyrics, and presenting shows in a
variety of musical styles.
Mad as the Mist and Snow
Yata Sings Yeats. ©
2004. Music by Yata. Poetry by Wm. Butler Yeats.
Produced by D. Griffith Peterson.
Review in Free
Verse by Timothy Young
Mad as the Mist and Snow
is songwriter Yata Peinovich’s
musical homage to the poet, William Butler Yeats. Listening to
this CD has the same throat-catching thrill as watching an oriole drink
sugar water from a hummingbird feeder. Yata contorts and
stretches his musical affections- sometimes upside-down, sometimes
sideways, sometimes perched, sometimes fluttering like the
hummingbird-and all the while drinking deeply from pure music and
poetry. This is a courageous task with a beautiful result.
The hummingbird poet defies natural laws by directly drinking from the
spring of poetry and we expect that from great poets, like Yeats.
But when a musical oriole unexpectedly adapts the deep poems to his own
bright and colorful ways, listeners are doubly blessed.
As a musical bird whose
voice carries these poems from the tops of
trees, Yata honors twelve Yeats poems with original musical
compositions. This is not a gravelly, Dylanesque collection nor a
clever, chocolatey Greg Brown CD. This is a CD of distilled
colors, tones, and refined liqueurs with the old-fashioned sweetness
and bitterness of old Irish theatre or blind, Breton troubadours.
As a labor of love, it began and continued over seventeen years and has
culminated with this CD collection. The music, with Yata on
guitar and accompanied by his former Artesian Dreams mates, D. Griffith
Peterson and Jim Price, hints of Irish folk music, yet it is a more
timeless troubadour music that knows no ethnic boundary. In fact,
when Carly Harschlip sings the lead vocal on “Girl’s Song”, a haunting
gift emerges from another world-maybe The Sidhe:
And that was all my song
When everything is told,
Saw I an old man young
Or young man old?
The paradoxes of time on
which Yeats loved to dwell are also captured
in the mandoin and tenor guitar work of Kari Larson, whose penetrating
sols match Yata’s bittersweet vocals, especially on “The Lover Pleads
with his Friend for Old Friends.” When Yeats writes:
But think of old friends the
Time’s bitter flood will rise,
Your beauty perish and be lost
For all eyes but these eyes.
Yata writes, plays and
sings as if grasped by that flood of beauty, and
Jim Price uses his violin to give us the same delicacy an illuminator
would give when using gold on an old manuscript.
There’s an old saying:
“Death and Beauty lie in the same direction", and Mad as the Mist and
Snow carries us that way with a
quavering grace of which Yeats would be proud. We are lucky to
have this music available. Yata has given us a musical opus of
gorgeously loving art.
Review in Dunn County
News by Deb Anderson (Menomonie, WI)
Yeats, born in 1865, found fascination with Celtic folklore,
reincarnation, the supernatural and mysticism, he also derived
satisfaction from writing about human reflection, a link shared with
his present-day contemporary. It would seem his desire to have
his thoughts given melody have transcended time, his enchantment with
mediums having paid off after all. Capturing various moods, the CD’s
tunes range from melancholy, playful,
wistful, haunting and touching.
Review in Eau
Claire Leader-Telegram by Pamela Powers
Kathy Stahl, host
of “Spectrum West”, an arts and humanities program on
Wisconsin Public Radio stations said she likes the CD because of its
range of commentary on life.“Yata can do a lot of different
things with his voice,” she said.
“There is such a tenderness and honesty in his voice.”Stahl added that he also did an
excellent job interpreting the poetry
and putting the lyrics to music that really fits them.
“The range of music Yata
does is pretty incredible and that speaks to
the depth of his emotional perceptiveness,” Stahl said.
River Blues Yata and Michael Flaherty. ©
2002. Music by Yata. Lyrics by Yata, Robert Burns, Robert
Browning and William Butler Yeats. Produced by Tim Caswell
Review by Billboard of
Mabel Tainter Theatre by Gary Schuster
Mississippi River Blues
was nine years in the making. It came to
birth along the backroad establishments and country fairs throughout
Western Wisconsin. Yata and Michael have combined their pure
vocal harmonies with an ensemble of musicians from the coulees and
hills of West Central Wisconsin to create a bodacious, emotional
sound. This album comes right out of the gate, rockin’ with
Rocker Makin’ Racket, a slick rockabilly number with a swing
richness of this album comes from both men who draw from a deep
well of experience. The Mable Tainter is proud to
present these veteran regional musicians
in an acoustic concert that promises to rock away your blues and
reaffirm the soulful messages of life.
Borders of Eau Claire, WI
and Flaherty. This rollicking blues/rock band promises to
have your toes tappin’ in no time.
Mary, a singer/songwriter from Minneapolis
CD is so much FUN! It is such a great movement and dance CD
and it also makes me amazed at your prolific writing talents.
Wow. Great tunes, and fabulous delivery.
Boy with a Pail,
formerly titled “The Near Future of the Far Pasture” Yata
©1989. Music and Lyrics by Yata. Produced by Steve
Review in Eau Claire
Leader-Telegram by Chris DuPre
Yata lined up a major
gun in the person of guitarist Steve Tibbetts,
who records for the ECM label and runs his own studio.
The ten songs on “The
Near Future of the Far Pasture” divide
fairly neatly on the two sides. Quieter songs inhabit the first
half, while the second brings in electric instruments and harder edges
on some songs, quicker tempos on the acoustic tunes.
Throughout, the lyrics
are thoughtful – occasionally sentimental (as in
“Martha”, a ballad for a grandmother) and occasionally political.
Yata sings them in a tenor that would sound familiar to Dan Fogelberg
fans, and he’s joined in places by two female vocalists for interwoven
The core of the
recording has Yata and Tibbetts on guitars and Marc
Anderson on percussion. On one tune, ex-bandmate (of Artesian
Dreams) Jim Price provides violin, mandolin and piano, Michelle Kinney
adds cello and Steve Kimmel plays recorder. On “Wisconsin Waltz”,
Yata is backed by Randy Sabien on violin and mandolin.The most fetching aspect of the
tape is the three part harmonies, with
singers Cisko and Kate Shaughnessy.
Review in The Alley by Steve Parker (Minneapolis)
Peinovich has released ten songs on an excellent
recording called The Near Future or the Far Pasture.
The music is varied in
kind. There are love songs and songs of
protest, there’s a meditation on a great-grandmother and another on a
child playing at the beach, there is the saga of an aging rail worker,
and there’s a lullaby. The arrangements and accompaniments are
outstanding and feature a number of fine local musicians backing Yata’s
vocals. My favorites
are the personal songs, tunes like “Boy with a Pail”,
“Martha”, “Directions”, and “(The Wonderful) Wisconsin Waltz”. I
know that my preferences have to do with the way I like to remember
Yata – as a warm, gentle, humorous person. I like the way he
sings warm, gentle, good-humored songs.
D. Griffith Peterson, Jim Price and
Yata. © 1980. Produced by Fred DeVir, Peterson, Price and
Recipients of Minnesota
Music Award for “Best Folk Band” in 1981.
Also nominated for best male vocalist and best jazz band.
Mabel Tainter Theatre in
Menomonie,WI - Six CD
release parties in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2002 and 1989.
Email from Glen a
singer/songwriter from Minneapolis
“I’m still flying from
Thursday night! That was truly a dream
come true for me to see you and the lads actually perform
onstage. I hold the Artesian Dreams album as one of the finest
ever made, and couldn’t believe the power of the music live.
Well, that’s a lie. I knew the power was there, but I had no idea
you’d pull it off so beautifully! My soul was fed the meal of a
Email from Pat from
“I marveled at the
tremendous talent and energy that was spread
throughout the theatre. I am not kidding, either. It was
Prairie Home Companion, hosted
by Garrison Keillor on
National Public Radio – “Talent from Towns Under 2000” in 1995.
Also, performed on the show with Artesian Dreams in late 70’s.
Performances in Twin Cities
Center, Northrup Auditorium, Met Sports Center, University
of Minnesota “Whole Coffeehouse” fronting Tom Paxton and John Hammond,
Jr., Williams Pub, New Riverside Café, Coffeehouse Extempore,
Minnesota Folk Festival, Minnesota Jazz Festival, Guthrie II, and many
Concerts in Colleges and Fine Dining/Cafes
St. Olaf College,
University of Minnesota-Morris, Somebody Else’s
Troubles (Chicago), Blue River Café (Milwaukee), Acoustic
Café (Eau Claire and Menomonie, WI),
Amazing Grace (Duluth), Stone’s Throw (Eau Claire), Blue Moon (Red
Wing, MN), and many more.
“Yata is an entertainer
of the first order, bringing life to
the forefront through his witty use of music and storytelling.”
Richard Thomas, owner of
the Creamery Restaurant and Inn (Downsville,
WI – rated Top 10 Restaurants in WI)