Valley Maker, the folk project of South Carolina-born/Seattle-based songwriter Austin Crane, releases his Frenchkiss Records debut Rhododendron today. Valley Maker’s music is a musing and wandering brand of folk, and the album is a collection of ten exquisite tracks inspired by Crane’s PhD studies in Human Geography, namely the politics of migration and borders. Crane’s songs convey a sense of humanitarianism in today’s fraught political climate. The Line of Best Fit writes, “Valley Maker are able to find light and hope within the cracks,” and Exclaim says, “Crane moves forward and tries to find brightness in the world.” With a cast of collaborators that includes Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi (who contributed instrumentals and produced half of the album’s tracks), producer Trevor Spencer (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes), Beach House drummer James Barone, and Father John Misty bassist Eli Barone, the sound of Rhododendron runs rich and deep.
Listen to Rhododendron HERE.
Valley Maker is currently on an East Coast tour, which will be followed by a full UK and European tour and a run of more U.S. dates in December. Click here for tickets & info all shows.
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On Valley Maker’s second full-length album, Rhododendron, songwriter Austin Crane sings about movement – from one kind of belief to another, from place to place, through time. This new record from Crane, a Seattle-based musician and PhD student in Human Geography, reflects both the rootedness and rootlessness that shapes his songwriting on the precipice of his third decade. Like his noted inspirations Jason Molina, Bill Fay, and Gillian Welch before him, he speaks to the strange and transitory ways we mark time through our lives. Years pass and fold in his cosmic American songs.
From the streamlined indie rock of opener “A Couple Days” to the swirling psychedelia of “Be Born Today,” from the soulful horns of “Rise Up” to the ambient touches of closer “River Bend My Mind,” the album demonstrates Crane’s distilled approach, his solidly built songs blooming with tasteful arrangements and touches. Out October 12, 2018 on Frenchkiss Records, Rhododendron is an album about transition, about leaving, but also arriving, a document of the journeys in-between.