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Valley Maker Strikes A Balance Between Music And Academia

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Photo: Valley Maker At OpenAir
Valley Maker

Seattle artist Austin Crane writes and performs as Valley Maker. He stopped into our CPR Performance Studio while on tour in February to play a solo set.

Crane began Valley Maker as an undergraduate thesis project in 2010. He's now a doctoral student in geography at the University of Washington but still finds time to play his folk music. His most recent album is last year's "When I Was A Child."

Crane performed three songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the themes of childhood on the new album, his brief time living in Colorado and the academic elements of his music.

Stream the session above and read interview highlights below.

Crane on how Valley Maker started as an undergraduate thesis:

"I studied Russian language and literature and economics, actually. But they encouraged us to do a thesis project that reflected some other aspect of who we were and some other creative endeavor that we could get excited about.

"I was like, 'I've written songs since I was 13 years old. I might as well do a songwriting project.'"

On splitting time between performing and studying:

"I'm sort of realizing that life on the road is actually really nice for having some focus time because often if you've just got a three- or four-hour drive, you can do that in the afternoon. Then get up in the morning, find a coffee shop and crank away for a couple hours."

Songs performed:

  • "Only Friend"
  • "When I Was A Child"
  • "Beautiful Birds Flying"