KASSI VALAZZA – Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing (Loose Music)

Kassi Valazza Knows NothingKassi Valazza’s Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing is a lovely Americana folk album that blossoms, like a southwestern cactus flower, from the roots of all the truly great female singer songwriters like Nanci Griffith, Lucinda Williams, Kacy Anderson (of Kacy and Clayton fame!), Gillian Welch, Tish Hinojosa, Emmylou Harris, Sandy Denny, and Joni Mitchell. As my friend, Kilda Defnut, always says, “Everything comes from somewhere, and this comes from a really cool place”.

Kassi grew up in America’s southwest, and these songs are carved into tough sunbaked soil with a melodic hand. The very brilliant ‘Room In The City’ has the interesting patience of a nice Dylan song, with a vocal that touches so many shades of road weary pathos. And the pedal steel guitar signs a sympathy card to lost life.

Indeed, as Dylan once sang, “Tomorrow”, sometimes, “is a long time”.

And ‘Rapture’ digs even deeper into acoustic emotions that are punctuated with Kassi’s sateen knife tossed vocals that yearn with a melted melody and the wonderous enigmatic lyrics found in a third shot of brandy. Indeed (again!), “You don’t know how fire works” because “It dies until you feed it”. The tune vibrates with spectral wisdom and touches the warm synapses of a distance memory.

The cactus flower songs continue. ‘Corners’ blossoms with more pedal steel, piano, deep percussion, Kassi’s windy emotive sage brushed vocals, and a rolling river chorus. But then, ‘Watching Planes’ slows the pace with impressionistic piano palette beauty, and then the song erupts with almost Richard Thompson-like guitar bursts that recall those early Fairport Convention ‘Sailor’s Life’ workouts, with an added organic organ chaser. This is cool country-psych stuff worthy of a big compliment! Then a gentle patience pulses through ‘Song For A Season’, which straddles a melody (with more moody steel pedal!) somewhere between an English country garden prized rosebush award and a faded sign for a southwest backroad food and gas service restaurant, that may or not still be open for business.

And ‘Long Way From Home’ is an acoustic slow waltz that distills the passion of slender desert rainfall into a thoughtful glass of any lonely tap room’s very best reverie warm beer reserve, as Kassi sings, “I was praying today I was a wolf and I was a long long way from home”. This is symbolic and psychological stuff – with the odd metaphor thrown in to light a really decent literary fire.

Oh, ‘Canyon Lines’ is an acoustic (sort of) psychedelic dream, in which the speaker, “Laughs alone at what she sees”. The tune is a bit of a twirling carnival sideshow attraction.

And ‘Smile’ waters the infinity of that desert cacti bloom. The pedal steel sings with that very same third shot of brady, while a nice guitar solo probes the need for some future sobriety, and Kassi’s vocals just sing with the hymnal humility of a long-forgotten prayer book. As said, this is pure Americana home brewed locally tapped elixir.

But time stands still for ‘Welcome Song’, which touches an old Fairport orbit in an impossibly beautiful bluesy bend of any universe’s vinyl circumference. The tune flows with melodic punctuation that enunciates its folk-rock drama.

And, finally, ‘Wildageeses’ sings with soft freedom. A lovely acoustic guitar picks a tapestry that, with more sympathetic pedal steel, weaves even more melted melody vocals into a final sunsetted song.

Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing (Nice title, that!) is desert flower music which whets any folk-rock appetite with succulent lyricism, and, in the shade of a melodic cactus, sprouts Americana roots – which are deep sun-dried tendrils that, as my friend, Kilda Defnut, always says, “Come from a very cool place”.

Bill Golembeski

Artist’s website: https://www.kassivalazza.com/

‘Smile’ – official video:

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