Keeley Valentino released her self-titled EP just last month under the direction of her mentor, Matt Mangano of Zac Brown Band. The EP is Keeley’s third album, following her debut The Mechanics of Leaving and Three Cities, which was generated from her travels throughout San Francisco, Nashville and Los Angeles. Keeley’s music resembles a conglomerate of soulful Americana/Roots, country, pop and elements we have yet to harness and label. Early on Keeley observed that the genre-fitting compulsion was driven even by geography. She explains, “I’ve been told that I’m too country for pop and that I’m too pop for country. When I lived in Nashville, I was told I should move to LA to pursue my career – and when I got to LA, I was told to get on the next plane to Nashville…” (www.keeleyvalentino.com).
The first track on Keeley’s recent release – “Everything in Between” – is a track I immediately envisioned playing in the car on my next road trip. The song sets a virtuous precedent for the tracks to follow; the song’s inspiring energy is carried by Keeley’s confident and empowering female vocal.
Keeley described the origin of her lead single,”Little Things,” to American Songwriter; “It was a long and beautiful drive on a country stretch, and it just kind of came to me. I sang the first verse and the chorus over and over to myself in my car. When I got home, I worked out what I had in my head and finished it up. It felt like I had finally found the words to something I had wanted to say for a while.” “Little Things” speaks for itself and it comes as no surprise that the song has become a fan favorite, as Keeley’s heart can be heard through and through.
She closes the EP with “Burned” and “Underneath,” two stunning ballads to which we all can relate, but often fail to notice, let alone admit. Through these two tracks, we find surrogate catharsis of expired but lingering relationships in one and the motivation to unmask ourselves in the other.