Monday morning I got a call from Austin Crane and I ignored it. I was in the shower, and as I peaked around the shower curtain to see who it was, I was happily surprised. Austin calling me was almost tempting enough to risk my iPhone getting wet, and answering his call. We ended up texting and talking a little about promotion for a show that was only two days away. I posted it on our Facebook once and on Twitter once. He expected 20-30 people to be there. I expected 100+. I was right.
Austin Crane has always flown under the public radar when it comes to these things. Maybe a Facebook invite, maybe a couple of show posters, but he never really needed it. He’s never had shirts for his band. His absolute lack of promotion for his music, to the amount of attention he gets could drive some bands crazy. But the answer is very simple. Crane is a gifted songwriter, with a voice that doesn’t sound like everyone elses. He breaks apart from other singer songwriters with a sometimes open tuned guitar style that is all his own, a voice that is uniquely his, and songs with so much meaning and SO many words. So many lyrics that he can barely remember them all himself, until he gets started and they just roll off his tongue.
I’ve been to an Austin Crane show at Immaculate Consumption before, so right when I got there I went straight to the front and sat down on the butt numbing concrete. Aaron Graves of Those Lavender Whales started off the evening with a short set of deep cuts. Songs he’s kept in his pocket for years and some that haven’t made them on to record yet. Some songs were pieces of concept albums, yet to come to fruition. Graves closed with “Exist”, which has become a fan favorite off TLW’s newest album Tomahawk of Praise and is also featured on our 2012 sampler.
After a short intermission Crane took the stage and quieted the rumbling room with a few strums of his telecaster. After a short introduction and thanking everyone for coming out and letting everyone know where he has been, Crane broke into a set that mostly included Valley Maker material. The highlights really were the new songs, which is what everyone was excited to hear. I got some iPhone audio of one new song that I’m calling “The Mission”, which you can stream above. Wednesday night might have been the first time it was played live, definitely the first time it was played live in Columbia. Of any of the new songs that he played, this is the one that stood out the most and a song that all of his fans could relate to. It was after all about moving away from many of the friends in the room, and adapting to a new town.
Just as important as the show, was Austin and Aaron bringing everyone in that room together again. It was old friends, husbands and wives out for a show together, and a younger group of fans all combined. People that have supported Austin Crane for years, back together again for one night.