Written in a secluded part of the Sierra Nevada and recorded in Stinson Beach, CA., Countries was co-produced by Van and Brian Phillips and features contributions from Dawes drummer Griffin Goldsmith, POP ETC singer Chris Chu (who plays bass on the album) and keyboardist Tam Visher. The album is Van's first as a solo artist after leading his bands Port O'Brien and WATERS. The songs came to light in the midst of a period of major life changes for Van; a devastating relationship heartbreak and the self-examination that followed his father's retirement from 49 years of commercial salmon fishing in Alaska.
Van’s music has earned praise from NPR Music and Buzzbands.LA, who called the tracks "classic songwriting ferrying yesterday’s melancholy and tomorrow’s hopes on vessels of indelible melodies and poignant lyrics.” The album’s first single "Revolution" featuring First Aid Kit, has climbed into the Top 5 at Triple A radio. The album’s just released second single, is the irresistible, "Before I Found You".
Countries follows Van’s critically acclaimed Revolution EP, released in September, which also earned praise from NPR, Stereogum and The Wild Honey Pie, who called the music "therapeutic and celebratory.”
This Monday, January 22nd, Van wraps a three-week residency at LA’s Moroccan Lounge with a special show celebrating the album’s release. Each week has featured special guests that have so far included Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Springtime Carnivore and Fruit Bats. Later this month Van will join First Aid Kit on an international tour, full routing below.