An Amy Blaschke song is like a well-worn gold locket, deceptively simple on the surface, opening to reveal a beautiful secret wonder. It could be a sneaky counter-melody of guitar or a lush hushed vocal that perfectly captures one of the many shades of heartache. While lovely and confessional, her delivery is never precious. Desert Varnish, Blaschke's 4th album, is named after the patina on weathered desert rocks, like those found in Joshua Tree National Park.
Blaschke writes songs as beautiful as they are restless. Her tunes often bubble with melancholia but refuse to wallow. The instrumentation is mostly sparse here, but to call her instrumentation minimal and her compositions soft is misleading. That Blaschke’s dreamy, airy, singular purr is perhaps the most affecting instrument in the mix is a testament to the sheer vitality of her recordings.
Desert Varnish, recorded in January 2011, was produced and engineered by Joshua Grange (KD Lang, Dwight Yoakam), featuring Grange on lead guitar, Ian Walker (KD Lang) on bass, Steve Nistor (Sparks, Sparklehorse) on drums and Jebin Bruni (Aimee Mann) on keys. The album is a return to her ethereal vocal roots, since her last full-length, Of Honey and Country on Go Midnight Records, released in 2007 under the band name Night Canopy, with multi-instrumentalist Nick deWitt (Pretty Girls Make Graves).
Blaschke hails from Seattle and started performing early on, playing her first show at the age of 16. She has been performing, writing and recording ever since, and currently calls Los Angeles home. In addition to her solo efforts, Blaschke was vocalist/keyboardist alongside frontman Justin Deary in Seattle psych rock band, Whalebones; Morning Man EP on Luckyhorse Industries, released in 2008. Her early solo releases include Amy Blaschke S/T on Luckyhorse Industries, released in 2003, featuring Erin Tate (Black Hills, Minus the Bear) and James Bertram (Red Stars Theory, 764-HERO); and Red Letter on LaPush Records, released in 1999, featuring Hannah Blilie (Gossip, Shoplifting).