Grant Earl LaValley is an American singer-songwriter from Columbus, Ohio, but his inspiration for this album comes from his move to the isolated desert of Joshua Tree, California.
Evoking elements of the folk musician Gene Clark (the Byrds) and Bonnie "Prince" Billy, From LaValley Below is permeated by eerily gothic acoustics, and provokes an array of emotions. The low notes of the acoustic guitar help create allure and mystery on "Dark Love," the female vocal adding to the imagery of the untamed passion LaValley explores, expressing the emotions of a forlorn romantic relationship.
Besides conveying a desperate message of emptiness, the clinking glass bottles in "Where Are All My Friends" become integral to the rhythm, too; the empty bottles coincide with drums that are distant, but noticeable. The song entertains, with a harmonica solo that accompanies its bleak lyrics. Clinking glass appears again in "Dungeon Waltz," giving a theatrical component to the track.
A ruminative album complete with lamentations and tales of love, From LaValley Below is a perfect listen for brooders and deep thinkers. (Exit Stencil)