While so many people just dream of leaving their troubles behind, packing a van full of essentials and heading to the Pacific Ocean, The Yes Team actually did it.
In what they dubbed “The Kindness of Strangers Tour,” The Yes Team – a folk, pop and roll band straight out of Astoria featuring young musicians Kinnie Dye, TJ Moss, Jonathan Walsh and eventually San Diego’s Jackson Price – packed their acoustic guitars, an African djembe drum and their positive vibes in search of the best locations to display their talents on the West Coast.
“We dream big dreams and live bigger lives,” said Dye. “I don’t think we were prepared for how much of our money was going to be used to get across the country. We went out there not knowing anyone and relying on friends of friends to house us. It was an incredible experience. Life changing. We met so many amazing people by just being open to every moment and every opportunity.”
When they finally reached the “Welcome to California” sign, their reliable purple van – that was their living space and sleeping quarters for many consecutive days – broke down and they spent the night in an Auto Repair parking lot. According to the Team, it was the best part of the trip.
Dye and Walsh were part of Moss’ first project, The TJ Moss Band, which had national successes opening for Joss Stone and being featured in
TimeOut New York Magazine for winning “Battle of the Bands: Brookyn vs. Queens.” Eventually, Dye and Moss, who had met during their college years, decided they wanted to get out of the city and have their music reach new ears. After petitioning many friends to join them on their trek to California, only Walsh said yes. And just like that, The Yes Team was born.
“We originally were going out as two separate entities, but once we got in the van and started singing together we knew…it was instant. We were starting a brand-new project together,” said Dye.
Their first gig together took place in San Diego at an open mic coffee shop named Rebecca’s to a crowd of about 70 people.
“We got there having been a band for about 24 hours. We killed it. After we finished, we knew we had something special,” said Dye.
The Yes Team is reminiscent of Jason Mraz with a touch of Jack Johnson mixed with a Corona and lime. Their beachy, politics-free, laid back grooves are mirrored by an even more relaxed, but not lazy, vocal. For a band that is just beginning to blossom, their harmonies are well thought out and playful. Their title track from their six song EP “Back to the Sea” tells the tale of leaving the day-to-day grind of city life in search of a more hassle-free environment closer to sun and surf. Other songs like “Life is Good” challenge listeners to stay positive even when times do not seem too optimistic:
“You have to fight for what you believe in / You have to believe in what you’ll be receiving / when you look inside and decide to love what you see / Life is good to those who seek it /And refuse to be defeated…”
For Dye, these affirmative lyrics are not just words, but a way of life. She even has the word “yes” tattooed on her hand.
“It’s all about attitude,” said Dye. “The tattoo on my hand is a constant reminder of what I’m putting out there in the world. Kindness is often taken defensively in the city. People aren’t used to actual contact on the street. I make eye contact and smile at strangers. Weird, I know. How many people will smile back? Our music is soothing, positive and sends out ‘feel good’ vibes.”
Since moving to Astoria in 2004, Dye has noticed that there is always a live music scene going on around the Long Island City and Astoria area. Before extensive touring, she was involved with booking local acts through Why Leave Astoria – a web-based movement that focuses on local happenings, eateries and news.
You, too, can hear the band play at Session House in Manhattan on Friday, November 11 or on Thursday, November 17 at Rest Au Rant in Astoria – a cozy tapas wine bar and featured dating hot spot. Their entire EP, videos from their trip across the country, as well as their social networking link are available online at www.yesteamgo.com.
Bottom line: The Yes Team is worth checking out to escape from the weight of the world. Their acoustic melodies have just begun and to those paying attention, the best is yet to come. Who wouldn’t want to head back to the sea?