Young Valley is the perfect example of why you always show up for the opener. Headed to my number who-knows Lucero show, I got to the venue (Brewsky’s in Hattiesburg, Mississippi) a few minutes after ate, and heard the band through the walls: there was a classic country guitar-walking beat, someone name-dropped Jesus Christ, and I heard the words ‘Holy Ghost’ in the chorus…this did not sound like your standard Lucero opening band. Tuning his guitar and with his eyes on his shoes, lead singer Zach Lovett reminded the audience with some sincerity to, “Say your prayers, folks.” I will admit that I started to get a little nervous.
The band started in on their next song, though, and I was blown away. Zach Lovett sings about Heaven and Hell with equal ease, alternating the goofy hip-shakes of a youth pastor as he strums his acoustic guitar with the stomping and howling of a disgraced revival preacher. His twin brother Dylan is on lead guitar and seemed at first to follow the Brian Venable model of shredder, equal parts skill, subdued nature, and beard. But Dylan writes and sings several of his own songs as well, and though his voice doesn’t have his brother’s power it possesses a sweet tone and earnestness that is just as striking.
Young Valley kept the attention of the boys from Lucero for the entirety of their set, and at the end of the show Ben Nichols used his pulpit to espouse their virtures: “We already bought three copies of their CD…y’all already own our shit. Go buy their shit! They’re the best opening band I’ve seen in a long time.” [Author’s Note: I bought the record because they were badass, not because Ben Nichols told me to]
Listening to the record, No Filter, on the long drive back to Louisiana was an absolute treat. The band has roots in a lot of older music, when the lines between rock’n’roll, country, and blues were much thinner. These boys are from Jackson, Mississippi and proud of it. But this is by no means a genre record: it dances from the Bakersfield sound of “The Way It Has To Be” to the much more modern vibe of “The Fly” with ease. Each of the Lovett brothers has their vocal prowess and songwriting talent on display over these thirteen tracks, and the band can stay tightly together or cut loose with the best of them. It has everything you could want from a debut album: pedal steel, piano, sad acoustic numbers, stomp-worthy rock and roll, heartache, and the Devil.
This is the time to start listening to a band, when you can watch them grow, cheer them on, and have a beer with them after the show. If No Filter is any indication, the sky is the limit for Young Valley.