Album release: 'When I Was A Child'  by Valley Maker
Release date: October 2015
Label: Brick Lane Records
More info: Band website

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, long time 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. 

Crane 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. 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). 

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.' 

For now, Crane is excited to invest more energy into sharing Valley Maker with the world. "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. 

When I Was A Child will be released in the UK in October via Brick Lane Records. 
Digital copies available on request.

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