On March 4th, Carter Tanton released Jettison the Valley, what he considers his first solo record, despite releasing Freeclouds, in 2011, which he considers a “mixtape”. He also has a long history of recording music, beginning with his band Tulsa, with whom he recorded some great EPs before legal troubles ended the band. Tanton was also a member of Lower Dens, recorded with The War on Drugs, and most recently toured with Strand of Oaks, so he is not new to this. For Jettison the Valley, Tanton is joined by long-time collaborators Marissa Nadler and Sharon Van Etten on some tracks, in a sense making his journey come full circle.
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The first track on the record, “Twentynine Palms”, is a gorgeous track featuring beautiful harmonies with an assist from Van Etten and with an electric guitar periodically cutting through the acoustics. “The Long Goodbye” is a beautiful track as well and feature’s Tanton’s voice at its finest. “Poison in the Dart” is a breakup track that wouldn’t feel out of place on Strand of Oaks’ Heal; in other words, it rocks and is full of emotion.
The title track, “Jettison the Valley”, is the only track Tanton doesn’t sing lead on, instead those duties are taken by Nadler. The result is a fantastically composed song with a build to an ending that is nothing shy of ethereal. “The Dressmaker’s Girl” is a gorgeous folky track with a dreamy ending. The penultimate track, “Through The Garden Gates”, is the second appearance of Van Etten, and again is an example of how great Tanton is at creating really breathtaking conclusions to his songs. The album concludes with the beautiful “Diamonds in the Mine”, a real southern/alt-country number that has the perfect application of pedal steel. It’s simply gorgeous stuff.
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Despite the Jettison the Valley sounding almost definitively Americana, it was written during a time Tanton lived in England. There he found himself reflecting on his life, his years growing up in America, the end of the relationship that brought him there, and found inspiration and wrote these songs in one long sitting. A few years ago, KEXP’s John Richards said Carter Tanton was “one of the best singer-songwriters in the country today”, a claim Tanton backs up quite nicely on Jettison The Valley
Jettison the Valley is available now via Western Vinyl.
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