Passing down the sound

Cincinnati’s Young Heirlooms visit Canal Street Tavern

By Justin Kreitzer

Photo:Cincinnati Americana duo Young Heirlooms visit Canal Street July 21; photo credit: Shannon Williams

Young Heirlooms are a folk duo from Cincinnati made up of singer/songwriters Kelly Fine and Chris Robinson, formerly of indie-pop band Walk The Moon. Their gorgeous, close-knit vocal harmonies and sophisticated country-leaning folk-pop melodies embody a modern, yet timeless, quality. Kelly’s smooth and sultry voice recalls Allison Krauss, and Chris’s mandolin and guitar styles are heavy on bluegrass rhythms that they weave into the fabric of their unique Americana quilt.

Their very promising self-titled debut album was released in April to great praise. They are currently playing out in support of its release and will make their way up I-75 for a show at Canal Street Tavern on Sunday, July 21, along with Bella Ruse, Happy Melodies and BJSR.

In anticipation of their upcoming show, Fine chatted with us about the formation of the band in Appalachia, their diverse influences and more.

How did Young Heirlooms form and what other musical projects were you involved in prior?

Young Heirlooms formed via Barn Jam in 2010 – a University of Dayton fundraiser for a service program I was involved with in undergrad called UDSAP (University of Dayton Summer Appalachia Program) – where 15 students go down to Salyersville, Ky. to foster communities with the Appalachian culture. Chris and I each played that night. I watched his set on the main stage and really only noticed him out of the group … I didn’t get to stick around to say anything to him because I was up next on the solo stage. He came up to me right after my set and we jammed that night. We started writing the next day. Chris has been in a wide variety of bands throughout his musical journey, his most recent involvement was in Walk The Moon. I had been performing as a solo artist for three years before I met him, and dabbled with Dayton project Honey and The Milk with BJSR (Ben Rivet). It didn’t take long for Chris and I to realize we wanted to truly commit to Young Heirlooms, so we had to walk away from our other projects to give full life to this one. So far, it’s working. – Kelly Fine

In reviews of your music, you have been compared to some great musicians like Brian Wilson and Fleet Foxes, but who else influences your diverse sound?

We are influenced by Ryan Adams and have been sort of thrown into that singer/songwriter category. We take great influence from Punch Brothers, which is headed by Chris Thile, [the] mandolin mastermind that inspires Chris and I. We are inspired by Father John Misty … I think that we have our own distinct sound though. We pull from these contemporary artists, but Chris and I have been raised on a musical foundation of jazz, bluegrass, The Beatles and Dylan. All of our influences sort of meld together into this new sound. – KF

Your very promising self-titled debut album came out in April. How has the response been?

So much hard work and love went into its writing, performing and production. The response has been incredible. We are so proud of it and so excited that people are so interested in it. We have been asked to press it to vinyl and we would love to. It really lends itself to that kind of warm sound. We recorded it analog, so it only makes sense to someday press it. – KF

The jaunty rhythm and locomotive-like vocal melody of “Workin’ Man” is my favorite on the album. Which is your favorite song to play live?

Thank you. “Workin’ Man” is such a dear song to me personally! I’m so glad you like it! All of these songs are really like our babies … These songs are written with intention, and sometimes that meaning changes over time. For instance, you write a song about one thing and then a year and a half later you find that song guiding you through another experience with an entirely different meaning. In those times of re-realization and new meaning, those are the times the songs feel like the best to play … the songs are deep and rich with memories and emotions, and it’s nice to exercise those memories and emotions through our music. It’s a total plus that we’re being well received simultaneously. – KF

Are you currently writing in preparation for your next album? Will you be playing any new songs at your upcoming show at Canal Street?

Yes. We are working on writing our new album. We might be playing a new tune or two at our upcoming show at Canal Street, but we really like to let the songs breathe during our writing process. I would go into the evening expecting to be moved, and entertained. – KF

What can we expect from your live show?

Honest storytelling that hopefully touches you! – KF


Young Heirlooms will play with Bella Ruse, Happy Melodies and BJSR on Sunday, July 21 at Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St. at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6. For more information visit  or

Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at

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Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at


  1. Young Heirlooms | Passing Down the Sound (2013) - August 19, 2014

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