Suzanne Vallie - Love Lives Where Rules Die
After a hard spell, heartbroken and drifting, Suzanne Vallie aimed to make a driving record rich with sympathy, high romance, and dedicated to the magic of good-timing. Other themes on the album include dogs, surfers, and the supernatural.
Vallie, a sorta-recluse living in rural Big Sur, California, is known for her improvisational performances where she freestyles lyrics and tells stories, both mythical and rowdy. She wrote the bulk of Love Lives Where Rules Die during the bummer summer after a breakup. It was a time when she drove up and down Highway 1 trying to blow out the speakers of her 94’ Honda. (bummer summer playlist).
The 11 songs of Love Lives Where Rules Die were largely live-tracked over five days. Suzanne Vallie and a core band of California col-laborators flew out to upstate New York during the last warm days of September 2019. Vallie and her producer, Rob Shelton, chose Dream-land Recording in Hurley, New York, for many reasons. The analog signal flow sounded embracing. The studio, a hundred-some-year-old church, had room for the whole crew to live-track. Some said a ghost might come around. What’s more, much of the band was already on tour out East, playing a run of shows with both Luke Temple and Meerna, double duty every night. They were plenty warmed-up.
Opening with “Ocean Cliff Drive”, Vallie sings of driving on the winding cliff side of Highway 1, blinded by fog and rain, all the same singing, “I can't see the road ahead of me, but I’m coming.”
The title track, "Love Lives Where Rules Die", begins with baritone guitar calling in a story of a broken heart among good company. With no way out in a three-day storm, Vallie asks friends to sing her love songs, and flies "on a wild light" with a “heart on borrowed wings.”
The party anthems, “Morro Bay” and “High With You”, celebrate friendship and the delicious urge for fun with Springsteen length lyric sheets. For Vallie, recording the sing-along "High With You" was also a “high” point in the making of Love Lives Where Rules Die. “It was midnight. We were real loose. Everybody got a tambourine!”
The album features production and keys by Rob Shelton (Meernaa, Sis, Luke Temple, Kacey Johansing), guitar by Blake Kennedy (The Range of Light Wilderness), guitar and vocals by Carly Bond (Meerna, Sis), guitar and bass by Doug Stuart (Meerna, Brijean), percussion and drums by Andrew Maguire (Mirah, Vetiver, Meerna) with contributions from violin virtuoso, Edwin Huizinga (Acronym, Dark Watchers), percussion by Mark Clifford and Bob Ladue, and backing vocals by Paul Spring, Emily Ritz (Yesway, Honeycomb), and Molly Sarle´ (Moun-tain Man).
The single 'Netsanet' (feat. Mulatu Astatke) is a deep exploration of Mulatu's trademark Ethio-jazz, while Crushing Lactic, composed by Tom Rogerson (fresh from a recent collaboration with Brian Eno) has a frenzied flow, with big horns and driving rhythm section.
Elsewhere, Pete Wareham (stalwart of the London jazz revival) lends his free-flowing sax to What’s Gone Before, leading us into a powerful communion of jazz and brass as Mulatu Astatke’s Derashe takes the listener down a vibrating rhythmic path while accompanied by blasts of horns and Mulatu’s trademark vibraphone. Two spoken word compositions ('Why Yellow' and 'Climbing Up My Own Life Until I Die') featuring York-born writer and comedian Rob Auton lend an introspective voice to 'Collaborations: Volume One'.
1. Ocean Cliff Drive (3:44)
2. Love Letter (4:16)
3. Beauty From The Blue Country (4:45)
4. Where Are You (2:47)
5. Love Lives Where Rules Die (6:38):
6. Sundowner (7:27)
7. Morro Bay (4:09)
8. Love Me Too (4:17)
9. High With You (5:03)
Artist: Suzanne Vallie
Genre: Folk, Country & Americana
Format: Vinyl LP
Cat Number: Night Bloom Records
Released: 31st July 2020