Kaley Lane Eaton

Avante-garde classical composer, freak-folk singer-songwriter and postmodern jazz interloper Kaley Lane Eaton performs her sophomore album, Lookout, live with an all-star orchestra of Seattle’s most beloved genre-bending musicians.

For artists like Kaley Lane Eaton who paint outside the lines, there are seemingly endless boxes to check, but few name-brand comparisons. Joni Mitchell, Björk, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson. 

On her latest album Lookout, Eaton regularly makes pressure-testing trips from the vast cosmos down to the particular details of home in the Pacific Northwest. In her words, “It’s a behemoth.” From the ever-expanding space of jazz cymbals, flute, and harp, down to the folksy pluck of her banjo — a prized recent acquisition — and the grounding chords of her great-great-great grandmother’s piano, which shipped up the Missouri River to the family homestead in Montana. 

There are no electronic instruments to be found here, but many trees. The sequoia on the hillside, aspens quaking, cedar, and Jeffrey pine.

With her experience in electronic music, Eaton’s choice to exclude digital instruments from the palette is immediately felt. It’s not that technology doesn’t exist here. It’s a conscious focus on human beings with time-tested tools. Ancient technology.

Eaton composes with the full command of her four music degrees and classical training, but there’s an American-ness that can’t be shaken on Lookout. A sorrow, wildness, and expansiveness, not of the European classical tradition, but of jazz, blues and folk. Kaley Lane Eaton is all of these things and more. And none of them precisely.

Eaton (on vocals, banjo, and piano), is joined on this live performance of Lookout by Chris Icasiano (drums), Kayce Guthmiller (voice and viola), Moe Weisner (bass), Samantha Boshnack (trumpet), Heather Bentley (viola), Leanna Keith (flute), Neil Welch (saxophone), Rian Souleles (guitar, bouzouki, and baglama), Lily Press (harp), Simon Linn-Gerstein (cello), Alina To (violin), Maria Scherer-Wilson (cello), and Aleida Gehrels (viola), Ray Larsen (trumpet).