We’re really glad that Grant is okay. While recording his debut album, which swirls with themes of hot Joshua Tree summers, finding your place in the world and the power of community, he could have been shot. An angry Joshua Tree neighbor took his anger about the “noise” out in the form of rifle shots — aimed directly into the cabin where Grant was working. Luckily, nobody was hurt. If anything, it inspired Grant to put some beauty back into the world because of the darkness the enveloped the recording process.
The nine-tracks on the debut album are equal parts psychedelia and folk. Grant Earl LaValley is basically the spawn of a gothic Gene Clark and a desert-dwelling Bonnie “Prince” Billy, who has Ryley Walker as a stepdad, and stays inside his room all day listening to Townes Van Zandt and Nick Cave. In reality, that room is a small cabin in Joshua Tree, where Grant lives alone. Isolation and loneliness are reinvented as concepts through the album. For there to be darkness, there also needs to be light.
Here’s what Grant has to say:
“The album ‘From LaValley Below’ is an attempt to put the listener in a passenger side seat on the desert road for a fantastical and moody cruise. It feels like flying in place, being a passenger to a schizophrenic, or being inside a haunted dungeon, dancing with an old bearded cartoon character, chained to the wall — or a romantic awaiting a werewolf bride to return home after a night of unbridled animal rage. I wanted to reach out and try to grab hold of the things that I would wish to hear from others.”
Grant was also putting his thematic inspiration into practice, by collaborating with a hivemind of musical talent. Martin Craft, collaborator and band member of Jarvis Cocker, made many contributions and all of the LP’s tracks, except “The In-Betweens,” were mixed by producer Robert Harder, who has credentials with artists, such as, The Slits, David Byrne and Brian Eno. He also assembled a crew of visionary artists, including Martin Craft, Hans Wagner and Victoria Williams. The communal, DIY recording style becomes more of a lifestyle that echoes the adaptive instincts needs to survive hot Joshua Tree summers. It’s all about making it work — for yourself — by leaning on people to survive.
Sometimes that means changing your environment and Grant switched up his scenery, in search of cooler air to record in, so he and his dog hopped into their ’87 Toyota van, and explored the US, recording in mobile locations, including his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, as well as studios in Chicago and Los Angeles. This vagabond is inspired by his own on-the-road lifestyle, which cycles in and out of phases — art reflecting life, life reflecting art. Currently, Grant is residing in an off-the-grid cabin in the California desert, and he really wants you to hop in the passenger seat with him and listen:
From LaValley below will be released Friday, October 13th via Exit Stencil Recordings. Pre-order the album HERE.