The Yarrow: Will play for food
August 10, 2010
The Yarrow is not your typical garage band. Its members include two law students, two architects, a marketing professional and a high-school teacher. Its sound is derived from an eclectic mix of traditional rock instruments combined with French horn, violin, keys and hand percussion. And its M.O. is not about making money – all proceeds from gigs and sales go straight to a community food bank.
The Provo-based band will perform at the Star Bar on Main Street Monday, Aug. 16. The show is free but all donations will benefit Community Action Services and Food Bank, which serves the low-income populations in Utah, Summit and Wasatch counties.
The Yarrow got its spontaneous start two years ago when vocalist/guitarist Mitch Mallory signed up for an acoustic showcase on a whim.
"I called Jeff [Harris, who plays violin and keys] and was like, ‘I signed us up under the name The Yarrow, I hope that’s OK,’" he recalls. "Considering we only had two songs and had only been practicing for a couple days, the show actually went surprisingly well."
It wasn’t long before the duo had recruited several other members and formed a full rock ‘n’ roll band, albeit one with an unusual makeup.
Guitarist Morgan Williams, for example, "hates loud noises and he hates being in front of people," Mallory says. "He likes quiet, whispery folk music. We’re honestly not sure how we got him to stay in the band."
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Mallory, Harris and Williams join Nick Dudoich on French horn, Kyle Owens on bass and Tom Knight on drums.
The group plays original music and Mallory has taken on the role of primary songwriter, although the band members collaborate on writing music.
"We try to write songs that are relatable," he says. "I have a serious wanderlust – I try to travel as much as I can and I’ve written a lot of songs about experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met across the world – things that have shaped me as a person."
When they were paid for their first gig almost two years ago, they realized that splitting the $40 check wasn’t going to get them very far.
"We realized it would be cooler to do something to help people," Mallory says. They set out to find a charity that benefits the local community and came across Community Action.
"When we went in, it was literally standing-room only for people needing food assistance," he says. "We found out that one donated dollar can purchase 17 pounds of canned food, and we’ve been donating money ever since."
The band has played concerts across Utah and makes anywhere from $20 to $1,000 per show. "We just give it all away and I think that makes venues feel like we’re benefiting the communities we play in, "he says. "It’s been super rewarding and makes shows a lot more fun."
During free shows, they sell T-shirts and hats and ask for donations to help their cause. They’re in the process of recording their debut EP and soon they’ll be able to donate proceeds from that as well.
"More than anything, we want our music to be fun," Mallory says. "Our shows are more of an experience than an event."
The show at The Star Bar starts at 9 p.m. for ages 21 and over. For information about booking shows, contact Mallory at (801) 722-9244.