2017
Valley Maker w/ Those Lavender Whales, Grace Joyner
June
20
Tuesday
Doors 8:00, Show 9:00 - $7
Valley Maker
Life rarely provides obvious answers. But if you appreciate the beauty and wonder of exploring its complex mysteries, then Seattle's Valley Maker deserves your undivided attention. Recorded on opposite ends of the country, and composed during a nomadic period spanning two continents, When I Was A Child features twelve originals that contemplate life, love, and death, faith and doubt, time and space.

"Songwriting is a way to approach unanswerable questions, these experiences that don't have easy conclusions," says Austin Crane, the 27 year-old multi-instrumentalist and songwriter behind Valley Maker. "It's a way to dwell on history and ask these big questions with other people."

Distinctive finger-picking, unconventional tunings, and plaintive vocals anchor Crane's music. Throughout this record, longtime collaborator Amy Godwin intertwines her voice intuitively with his; the end result sounds less like two individuals harmonizing than one who sings with astonishing depth and dimension. Some selections ("Another Way Home," "Oh Lightning") mesmerize the ear with little else than voice and guitar, while others are fleshed out with bass, drums, and piano.

Despite being recorded on different coasts during concurrent summers, ambient noise imbues When I Was A Child with cohesion via a sense of being in the same room with the musicians. This immediacy particularly enriches "By My Side," which began life in Columbia, South Carolina as a skeletal figure repeated on four strings. When Crane and his friends reconfigured the song between sessions at Archer Avenue Studio in Columbia, SC and at the Unknown in Anacortes, Washington, it blossomed into the version heard here.

"The Unknown is this cavernous repurposed church where Phil Elverum (The Microphones, Mount Eerie) made his recent records," says Crane. “A sense of space is important to this record. So we had microphones placed throughout the large room we were tracking in, just to capture the natural feel of playing the songs in this particular space."

Even before the lyric "we grew up in a southern town" sticks a you-are-here pin into "Only Friend," the song's rustic banjo riff points towards Crane's early upbringing. He grew up in Florence, South Carolina, where I-95 intersects I-20, an hour west of Myrtle Beach. The oldest of six children, he spent his childhood in a tight-knit evangelical community, with limited access to popular culture and urban diversity.

Music opened up the world to Austin as he approached adolescence. "My dad gave me my first guitar when I turned thirteen, and I started playing in bands with friends almost immediately." Initially fixated on keeping abreast of the newest indie music, his tastes settled and matured as the Internet directed him towards key influences like Bill Callahan (Smog), Will Oldham (Bonnie "Prince" Billy), Chan Marshall (Cat Power) and Jason Molina (Songs: Ohia).

Valley Maker began in 2010 as Crane's senior thesis project at the University of South Carolina. He'd achieved a modicum of local popularity fronting a band that bore his name, and needed a moniker to distinguish his new material, eventually lifting one from Callahan's "Say Valley Maker" (on Smog's 2005 album A River Ain't Too Much To Love). "For me that song paints a picture of floating down this river as part of your life, and you know it's going to end, and you're facing that futility and figuring out what it means to respond to it."

Big existential ideas like that perfectly mirrored the first collection of Valley Maker songs for the thesis project, which explored the Biblical origins stories of the Book of Genesis from new angles. "So much Biblically-oriented material has an agenda and tells you how to think," Crane opines. "I wanted to make these familiar stories strange by unpacking their humanity and mystery. What's not being said here? Or what's being said that no one ever talks about?"

Eventually Crane posted this early material online. While it pleased him to hear that other music lovers connected with these songs, and he played some shows around them, he didn't imagine Valley Maker would carry him into the future after graduation. Instead, he embarked on a series of international aid internships, Eastern European adventures, and graduate school studies that led him to Colorado, Bulgaria, Kentucky, Ukraine, back to South Carolina, and ultimately Washington.

The oldest song on When I Was A Child, "Take My People Dancing," grew out of feeling cut off from his home community during a stint living outside of Denver. "Those years just out of college, you're figuring out who you want to be: what it means to have relationships with increasing distance, what it means to work a steady job," he recalls. "That song was me reckoning with moving into a new stage of life and the doubts that came from that."

As his travels continued, so did the music. "Songwriting became a way to stay in touch with other aspects of my experiences and my interior life. It would be disingenuous to say I never intended to record or play these songs live, but I really didn't have a concrete plan when I wrote most of them."

After completing his master's degree at University of Kentucky in Lexington, Crane entertained several possibilities for his PhD. The vibrant music scene of the Pacific Northwest influenced his decision to choose University of Washington, where he recently completed his course work and will begin research in Human Geography – a field which happily affords him more opportunities to ask big questions. Balancing the two disciplines suits him fine. "My two favorite things to do are write and play music and to think, learn, and have conversations about social and political issues that matter for people's lives."

For now, Crane is excited to invest more energy into sharing Valley Maker with the world. And the open-ended nature of this songwriting project permits him to showcase it live in different configurations: solo, in a duo with Godwin, or as a full band. "My hope is that there are more Valley Maker records to come, and some of those may be stripped down and sparse, and others built-out and full. It's nice to be able to shape-shift a little." Because as When I Was A Child affirms, when the questions you ask – and the art they inspire – remain fluid, moments of great truth and beauty ensue.
Those Lavender Whales
We're a band from Columbia, SC. We like to make songs and friends.
Grace Joyner
It is difficult to name a song “Dreams,” construct it with haunting vocals accentuated with dark, lush instrumentation, and not invoke some sort of comparisons to Stevie Nicks or the song of the same name with Fleetwood Mac. Quite honestly, the track is a dead ringer in every way possible, except for the fact the singer is actually Charleston, SC’s Grace Joyner. Joyner will be releasing her enchanting debut LP, Maybe Sometimes in C, on May 20th via Hearts & Plugs serving as the follow-up to her under-the-radar 2014 debut EP, Young Fools. -- My Old Kentucky Blog
text list
with images
venue info
24775260_10156903635204832_6049253977788401600_n
Jan
22
Monday

Rock For Roe

w/ Big Sound Harbor

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $Suggested Donations

TheNudeParty-720x720
Jan
24
Wednesday

The Nude Party

w/ Kitty Tsunami, Jon Dwyer

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
cropped-Ash_Fringe_2016_1a11
Jan
25
Thursday

Fringe Fest: Mothlight Triple Feature, Early Show: Cognitive Dissonance, After Party, and Old Tricks



7pm

cropped-Ash_Fringe_2016_1a11
Jan
25
Thursday

Fringe Fest: Mothlight Triple Feature, Late Show: Meeting the Edge, Experiments in Connection, Pollock: A Frequency Parable



9pm

cropped-Ash_Fringe_2016_1a11
Jan
26
Friday

Fringe Fest: Mothlight Triple Feature, Early Show: Cognitive Dissonance, After Party, and Old Tricks



7pm

cropped-Ash_Fringe_2016_1a11
Jan
26
Friday

Fringe Fest: Mothlight Triple Feature, Late Show: Meeting the Edge, Experiments in Connection, Pollock: A Frequency Parable



9pm

cropped-Ash_Fringe_2016_1a11
Jan
26
Friday

Fringe Fest: Mothlight After Party: Human Energy Field



10:30pm

26685222_572525606424987_2894406783045867679_o
Jan
27
Saturday

Below The Bassline

w/ Les Amis, Oso Rey

9pm - $8

21543939_1459557034126215_7130519860028259326_o
Jan
29
Monday
Free Monday!

Tombstone Highway

w/ Dropshot, Spearfinger, Styrofoam Turtles

Doors 8:00, Show 9:00 - $Free

0011948055_10
Jan
30
Tuesday

Lomelda

w/ Blois, Indigo De Souza

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $5

JensLekman_photo_Ellika-Henrikson_2016_highres_04-CROP
Feb
01
Thursday

Jens Lekman

w/ Peter Oren

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $15

Tickets, please
unnamed
Feb
02
Friday

The Wham, Bam Puppet Slam!



9pm - $15

Screen-Shot-2016-07-19-at-12.38.32-PM
Feb
03
Saturday

Alex Brown

w/ A Synth Duo from Jake Pugh & Andy Loebs, MJ Lenderman

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $5

unnamed-1
Feb
05
Monday
Free Monday!

White James

w/ Mr. Mange, Styrofoam Turtles

9pm - $Free!

hcmcentirepress
Feb
08
Thursday

H.C. McEntire

w/ House & Land, Ryan O'Keefe

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
Bombadil - November 2016.
Feb
09
Friday

Bombadil

w/ The Moon and You

Doors 8:00, Show 9:00 - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
TTT-Album-Temp-640x640
Feb
13
Tuesday

Tall Tall Trees

w/ Big Brutus, Butch Parnell

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $10adv/ $12

Tickets, please
unnamed-2
Feb
15
Thursday

The Moth: True Stories Told Live (Theme: Love Hurts)



7pm - $10

HyperFocal: 0
Feb
16
Friday
Worthwhile Sounds Presents...

Phoebe Bridgers

w/ Soccer Mommy

Doors 8:30, Music 9:30 - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
26167533_1550205355099862_6284734188176536757_n
Feb
17
Saturday

HEX VI: Dance Party Benefit for AHOPE



8:30pm - $5

DSR-SKY-HIGH
Feb
19
Monday
Free Monday!

The Dirty Soul Revival

w/ Galena, The Andrew Thelston Band

9pm - $Free!

0011110969_10
Feb
22
Thursday

Kitty Tsunami

w/ The Cannonball Jars, North By North, Luxury Club

Doors 8:00, Show 9:00 - $5

DietCig_DanielDorsa
Feb
25
Sunday

Diet Cig

w/ Great Grandpa, The Spook School

Doors 8pm, Show 8:30 - $13adv / $15

Tickets, please
22788734_124936171506285_589307733410426148_n
Feb
26
Monday
Free Monday!

Rich Girl Poor Boy

w/ Morgan Orion, Never Getting Famous, Noel Thrasher

9pm - $Free

conan
Feb
28
Wednesday

Conan

w/ The Ditch and The Delta, Waft

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $12adv / $14

Tickets, please
arliepress-1
Mar
02
Friday

Arlie

w/ William Hinson

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $10

Tickets, please
ed-schrader
Mar
05
Monday

Ed Schrader's Music Beat

w/ TBA

9pm - $Free

Tickets, please
unnamed
Mar
06
Tuesday

KOLARS

w/ Escondido

Doors 8:30 Show 9:30 - $12adv/ 15

Tickets, please
shopping-1-min-2
Mar
07
Wednesday

Shopping

w/ French Vanilla

Doors 8:30, Music 9:30 - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
combo_chimbita_by_itzel_alejandra-2
Mar
08
Thursday

Combo Chimbita



Doors 8:00, Show 9:00 - $8adv / $10

Tickets, please
unnamed
Mar
09
Friday
Orbit DVD Presents...

Everything Is Terrible!



Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $10

Tickets, please
unnamed-2
Mar
15
Thursday

The Moth: True Stories Told Live (Theme: Love Stranded)



7pm - $10

SoftKill
Mar
16
Friday

Soft Kill

w/ Choir Boy

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
snail-mail
Mar
19
Monday
Free Mothlight Monday!

Snail Mail

w/ Shame, BEX

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $Free

Courtney-Marie-Andrews-1
Mar
20
Tuesday

Courtney Marie Andrews

w/ Matt Dorrien

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
dead-meadow-photo-by-magdalena-wosinska
Mar
21
Wednesday
Stella Blue Presents...

Dead Meadow

w/ Dallas Acid, Delicious

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $12adv / $15

Tickets, please
steve-gunn
Mar
22
Thursday

Steve Gunn

w/ Nathan Bowles

Doors 8:30, Music 9:30 - $13adv / $15

Tickets, please
Caroline Rose
Mar
29
Thursday

Caroline Rose

w/ Wasi

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
loamlands
Mar
30
Friday

Loamlands

w/ Nana Grizol

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
khruangbin
Apr
04
Wednesday
The Mothlight & The Grey Eagle Present...

Khruangbin **AT THE GREY EAGLE**

w/ The Mattson 2

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $15adv / $17

Tickets, please
event-spellingbee-winners
Apr
04
Wednesday
The Literary Council of Buncombe County Presents:

The 27th Annual Spelling Bee!



6pm - 9pm - $10

Tickets, please
Nap Eyes 1-Matthew Parri Thomas-web_preview
Apr
14
Saturday

Nap Eyes

w/ She-Devils

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $12adv / $14

Tickets, please
screaming
Apr
15
Sunday

Screaming Females

w/ Thou, HIRS

Doors 8pm, Show 9pm - $15

Tickets, please
Durand-Jones
Apr
24
Tuesday

Durand Jones & The Indications



Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $12adv / $14

Tickets, please
acid-mothers
Apr
25
Wednesday

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO

w/ Yoo Doo Right

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $12adv / $14

Tickets, please
lomapress
Apr
27
Friday

Loma

w/ Jess Williamson

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $10adv / $12

Tickets, please
The Soft Moon Press Photo_preview
Apr
28
Saturday

The Soft Moon

w/ Boy Harsher

Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $13adv / $15

Tickets, please