Kacey Johansing Announces New Album With 'Daffodils' Video


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Kacey Johansing Album art
Album art

(Missing Piece Group) Kacey Johansing announces the upcoming release of her new album Year Away. The LA-based songwriter has also shared a new video for "Daffodils," the first single and a stunning centerpiece to the album, built from a pastiche of looping samples, swirling Mellotron and dazzling vibraphone. Year Away will be released on July 28th via Night Bloom records.

An elegiac tribute to someone facing death with grace and curiosity, "Daffodils" finds Johansing confronting own mortality by observing the brief lifespan of a flower. "Keep your heart open wide, you never know your time / Keep your heart wild, true flower child", Johansing sings as she says goodbye to an elder, while the band reaches a grief-stricken crescendo of woodwinds and chiming bells.

Johansing writes, "Daffodils are one of the first flowers to bloom as the earth begins to thaw, coming even before spring and often emerging from the snow. The vibrant yellow is a sign that a seasonal shift is on the horizon, a gesture of hope and light, even in the darkest of times."

Throughout Year Away Johansing traverses similarly uncharted emotional landscapes brought upon by the changes occurring all around her. When the world came to an abrupt standstill in 2020, she found herself simultaneously processing this recent personal loss while trying to make sense of a new global reality. She began to fear her Los Angeles musical community was vanishing, as friends and collaborators continually announced they were leaving the city. Across the ensuing months, Johansing found herself increasingly untethered by a world of isolation and political upheaval.

It was in returning to her piano nightly that she found the greatest solace, feverishly writing the songs for a new album. This new sense of time and focus served to help deepen her songwriting. As Johansing recalls, "I felt like a metamorphosis happened during that time. There was a lot of personal growth and healing."

Eager to capture the initial spark of songwriting, Johansing booked time at Highland Park's 64 Sound Studio the week that it reopened. Over the course of three days, she and her band gathered basic tracks for 10 songs, before returning home to finish the record with co-producer and multi-instrumentalist Tim Ramsey (Vetiver, Fruit Bats). Setting forth to make an album that paid homage to the music that kept them company during the months spent alone together, the duo pulled inspiration from a wide net including Burt Bacharach, John Carroll Kirby & Haruomi Hosono. Ramsey's newfound love of early digital synthesizers dovetailed effortlessly with Johansing's fondness for classic '70s horn and string arrangements, creating a sound that is distinctly modern yet warm and familiar.

Johansing called upon some of the finest players of Northeast Los Angeles' vibrant music community to lend a hand with the record. The '70s R&B-folk of "Watch It Like a Show" features an electric guitar solo from Hand Habits' Meg Duffy, while album closer "Endless Sound" boasts backing vocals from electronic musician Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and swooping Indian-inspired violins from Amir Yaghmai (HAIM, The Voidz). The record shines brightly thanks to an ace mix from veteran producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith, Cat Power), woodwinds from Logan Hone (John Carroll Kirby, Eddie Chacon), and a featured rhythm section of drummer Josh Adams (Jenny Lewis, Bedouine) and bassist Todd Dahlhoff (Feist, Devendra Banhart). Recorded across multiple studios including LA's famed Sunset Sound, the album remains steadfastly buoyed by the adept engineering of Tyler Karmen (MGMT, Alvvays).

Though born of turbulent times, Year Away is ultimately interested in moving forward. The album ends with "Endless Sound," where Johansing laments seismic global changes, ("The water is hotter, the mighty thaw / The current's reversing, the last are lost") but vows to keep going ("No storm can take me down / Endless light, endless sound"). It's Year Away's resilience that shines through despite the darkness. It's a sound all her own, and Johansing's most cohesive set of songs yet.

Upcoming tour dates
05/07/23 - Bolinas, CA - Gospel Flat Farmstand *
05/09/23 - San Diego, CA - Booze Brothers Brewing ^
05/11/23 - Los Angeles, CA - Gold Diggers ^
05/12/23 - Ojai, CA - Ojai Women's Center ^
05/13/23 - Carpinteria, CA - Sweet Mountaintop Farm ~
05/21/23 - Nevada City, CA - Miner's Foundry Cultural Center ~
05/24/23 - Olympia, WA - New Traditions Cafe ~
05/25/23 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern ~
05/26/23 - Portland, OR - The Old Church ~

* w/ Anna St. Louis, John Andrews & The Yawns
^ w/ Bonny Doon
~ w/ Mariee Siou

Year Away track list:
1. Year Away
2. Not the Same
3. Old Friend
4. Last Drop
5. Daffodils
6. Smile With My Eyes
7. Shifting Sands
8. Valley Green
9. Watch It Like A Show
10. Endless Sound

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