Trail MixTotally Trivial: Interview with Valley Young

Totally Trivial: Interview with Valley Young

Artemus James and Annabelle LaFoy – the duo who share their brand of wispy folk music under the moniker Valley Young – create harmonies that seem to float lighter than air.  Listeners can hang suspended in the interplay between James and LaFoy’s voices on the duo’s brand new EP, Year of the Bear, a collection of songs whose only lacking is that there simply aren’t enough of them.

Artemus and Annabelle were recently game enough to tackle a new format here on the Trail Mix blog, one I call Totally Trivial.  I asked, they answered, and the results were great. 

BRO – Hike, bike, or paddle?

Artemus – I’ll take all three, thank you. I just recently took a 20 mile canoe trip in Big South Fork with some friends that was amazing! I haven’t been able to afford a new bike since I lost mine in a rollover car crash in Woody Guthrie’s birthplace of Okemah, Oklahoma, a few years ago.

Annabelle – I choose hiking all the way. I grew up just a few miles outside of the Smokey Mountain National Park in the Appalachians. My idea of a perfect day is hiking up to Gregory’s Bald, eating too many wild blueberries, taking a nap in the clearing at the top, and reveling in that good kind of tired you feel when you get home from a long hike.

BRO – If not music, then what?

Artemus – At this point, if I’m not working on music I am thinking about how I should be working on music while I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing (laugh). This music thing has consumed me, but I do still enjoy my other hobbies, which consist mainly of outdoor activities. Being in nature is the best way for me to relax and let everything else just fall away for that time.

Annabelle – I think that if I were to forgo music, my career efforts wouldn’t fall too far outside the realm of the creative.  I have a degree in creative writing and would love to sit down, in earnest, to finish one of the many writing projects that lie in the depths of my computer or in one of my many journals. Annabelle LaFoy the playwright? The poet? I could get used to those titles.

BRO – Most listened to track on your iPod?

Artemus – I would have to say not just a track but the entire album Believers by AA Bondy. The sound of that record puts me in a place that I love to be. It’s so mellow and…can I say, sexy?

Annabelle – How dare Artemus steal my most played track! Or, in this case, album. I can honestly say that, though I have listened to the album front to back countless times in the last two years, I have yet to grow weary of it.  And I will never forget the first time I heard it, which was live at a tiny venue called the Pilot Light where the band played the whole thing cover to cover without a word or a pause. We were transfixed!

BRO – Most memorable concert experience?

Artemus – I would have to say seeing Roger Waters at Coachella. I am a huge Pink Floyd fan and that was tops for me. He played The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon! That could have been a once in a lifetime experience. Who knows? I have no words to describe what I heard and saw that evening.

Annabelle – Definitely My Morning Jacket at Bonnaroo in 2011 followed by Arcade Fire.  The sun was setting on a warm summer night and as this occurred, MMJ began the battle cry which kicks off their latest album, Circuital. It was the first time I had heard the song. In the song they chant “Setting Sun” as they build up to a frenzied, rocking climax, with Jim James hopping around with his white furry boots and peacoat in the middle of summer and the sun was sinking as they chanted.  It was just unforgettable.  Then, after a stellar start, they put of the best show I have ever seen, followed by the inspiring and energetic Arcade Fire. What an incredible night of music it was!

BRO – Walter Mitty musical fantasy?

Artemus – I think I’d like to be Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys for a year or so. Just inhabit his physical being and his mind long enough to write, record, and tour for an album. That guy writes the best hooks out there right now and delivers it all so well. He’s really tapped in to what it is he does.

Annabelle – I have always had this fantasy that one of my folk idols, Chris Thile, the former mandolin player for Nickel Creek and present player for The Punch Brothers, would stop mid-song and say, “Would someone from the audience, who knows these songs, like to come take a stab at singing some harmonies with me?” Needless to say, my hand would shoot up in the air (because I know all of his songs back to front) and I would be chosen to get up on stage.  He would be so astounded by what a match made in heaven our two voices are, he would invite me into the band on the spot and I would henceforth leave my home to go on the road.  That is, if I weren’t already in a really awesome band in which I get to sing harmonies with my real life harmonic match, Artemus James 😉

Be sure to check out “Little Bear,” off of Valley Young’s new EP, on this month’s Trail Mix.  For more information on where you can catch Valley Young live or get your hands on Year Of The Bear, surf over to

Places to Go, Things to See: