Gracie & The Valley // Chrysanthemum
Written by Kayla Albee
The upcoming album from Nashville based indie pop group Gracie & The Valley is a flowing series of intuitive discoveries. From the initial spark of a newfound love to the glowing honeymoon stage, from the slow erosion of emotions to leaving nothing behind but the shaken shell of what was once a blooming flower, Chrysanthemum captures both the golden and the gloomy, the sweet and the sour of a relationship as it blooms and withers through the seasons.
Gracie & The Valley is led by vocalist Grace Bates, and features guitarist Sam Ventura, bassist Steve Haan, drummer Dan Kozlowski, and pianist Joe Salem.
Following a 50’s themed intro with Alice In Wonderland vibes, “Doorbell Dixie” takes over and surges with a bouncy beat and a folksy country backbone. Group vocals ebb and flow with twangy music as endless summer days full of childhood innocence and that butterfly-in-your-stomach feelings are put on display. As those feelings develop into an adolescent crush and then a full fledged adult relationship, Chrysanthemum gently turns the page for the listener.
“With Him” overflows with a peaceful rhythm and bubbly lyrics, while “Burdensome” explores the fear that you’ll overwhelm your partner when they see you at your worst. “Did I Stutter” shifts to a point of contention (“I don’t want to fight…can we agree to disagree?”) and transitions a shaky story smoothly into “Embers.”
Equating dissolving love to the dying embers of a fire, this song breaks down the cataclysmic end to what has become a turbulent relationship. What had once been late night walks home while lost in each others company turns into simply being lost.
“Good Riddance” is stripped down, as is the subject. The love is gone. The feelings of joy have died. Warning signs had come and gone. When you’re in the thick of it, you don’t notice the red flags. Looking back, it’s easy to see the mistakes, and even easier to look forward to a bright future.
As the album draws to an end, Grace’s vocals shine on “Rainbows” which feature a high vocal register. The notion of shedding the baggage of the past and starting on a new path takes hold. It seems as though a weight has been lifted as twinkly guitar chords and piano melodies wash over you. This is a soothing track, and one that wraps the album up nicely. As the same sing-songy tune that started the album comes around again to send it off, you’re left with a story that’s come full circle.
You can watch the music video for “Doorbell Dixie” below