‘When I Was A Child’ by Valley Maker (Album)
This debut album presents a new talent who blends classic songwriting with innovative guitar playing, and the results are compelling
Valley Maker is the musical vehicle of Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist Austin Crane. Raised in Florence, South Carolina you can hear the influence of the Deep South in his rich songwriting, which blends elements of rustic Americana with classic rock. Debut album, When I Was A Child, is a courageously pared-back record which allows Crane to tell his story.
Peppered with ruminations on faith, love and death, the album approaches life’s big questions in a similar way to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy or Jason Molina; honest and exposed. Only Time is a roadside phone call with crisp guitar lines heightening their creator’s frustrations. The stark arrangements and confessional tone continues on Something Like Someone and, as the record saunters along, it takes on the eerie feel of a late night movie.
Throughout the album, the angelic backing vocals of long-standing collaborator Amy Godwin provide a delightful counterpoint to Crane’s pre-morning coffee croon. They add a haunting quality to Take My People Dancing, Another Way Home and the epic Goodness – a song split into two distinct movements.
By adding in the occasional flourish, such as the sonic guitar flares on Only Friend, Crane prevents When I Was A Child from stalling or drifting into monotony. Instead, he has presented a captivating debut album which thrills on every level.
Verdict: A stripped down sensation