Portland, Oregon-based artist Kassi Valazza has signed with Fluff & Gravy Records (Margo Cilker, Jim White) for her forthcoming new album Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing set to release on May 26. Pre-orders are available now via Fluff & Gravy and Bandcamp. Today, she is sharing the first single from the 10-song set, “Watching Planes Go By,” which UNCUT calls a “slow-burning mix of Americana and Paisley Underground psych” as the opening track on their Sounds of the New West Vol 6 disc. Valazza is currently touring with celebrated folk artist Melissa Carper with performances at Mississippi Studios in Portland tonight and Conor Byrne Pub in Seattle tomorrow night, followed by shows in Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver, and more. See below for full tour details.
There has been a cult-like fascination growing around Valazza since the self-release of her 2019 debut album Dear Dead Days, which she followed with a surprise digital EP called Highway Sounds last year. She is seated squarely at the vanguard of new American songwriters strengthening and broadening the sound of country and western, both bearing the torch and bending the arc of roots music.
On Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing, the singer-songwriter uses the physical world around her to paint metaphors from the soul, carrying us through her mind and heart as an effortless narrator. Her gutsy and graceful vocal poetry is backed by swirling Western psychedelia created by multi-instrumentalists from Portland band TK & the Holy Know-Nothings. Though the music plays country cousin to British folk, calling to mind greats like Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention) and Karen Dalton, a Southwestern American streak carves its way through these solemn, sweetly sung melodies like a canyon.
"Watching Planes Go By” spins a cautionary tale about the dangers of standing still in life and accepting one's own fate. The song sets a curious and cosmic atmosphere of psychedelic folk-rock as Valazza reflects on the struggles of moving on, "Autumn leaves turn to yellow / and green turns to jealousy / Watching days go by." Valazza captures the romanticism of country crooners with the intuition of a realist poet, exploring themes of love and longing through metaphors from the natural world.
‘Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing’ will release on May 26, 2023 via Fluff & Gravy Records.