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To Be Still

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iTunes Review

Alela Diane grew up in rural Northern California (in the same town as pal Joanna Newsom), surrounded by nature and her parents’ fondness for folk and bluegrass. With a voice as haunting as Cat Power, and as weightless and airy as Hope Sandoval, Diane’s music can be fragile and bracing at the same time. Pedal steel guitars and mournful hillbilly tones on tracks like “Dry Grass & Shadows” or “Age Old Blue” (where Michael Hurley joins Diane on vocals) are as luminous and tranquil as are her softer trills and the sparkling mandolins and 12-strings on tracks like “To Be Still” and “The Ocean.”  It’s easy to hear her admiration for the great Sandy Denny on tunes like “Every Path” and “Lady Divine,” where her beautiful voice shows the same kind of confidence and genteel brawniness as Denny’s.  Alela Diane recently became part of the Portland, OR music scene, and in 2009 lent her vocals to the Headless Heroes project, a collection of cover songs by artists as varied as Vashti Bunyan and Spaceman 3.

Customer Reviews

Take Us Back is beautiful

Stumbled upon Alela Diane when her song "Take Us Back" was used in the credits for "The Walking Dead" video game. I couldn't resist buying the song; it's a beautifully made song.


There is something about Alela Diane's music that makes it more than the sum of its parts. A stunning blend of innocence and wisdom, something ancient and something fresh, her voice, instrumentation, and deceptively simple lyrics seem to evoke a mysterious and different time. When I listen to her music, it is almost a spiritual experience for me in its ability to soothe and rejuvenate. Like campfire songs or lullabies, they are fun -- and sometimes necessary -- to sing along to. Her previous album, Pirate's Gospel, is utterly delightful, and this newest album does not disappoint. I would highly recommend both.

to be still

it takes me to a far away place full of wonder and exploration yet hauntingly familiar. I think her voice only adds to the mystery of her words. I'll be looking for more from her. It's like going on a 3:13 minute holiday.


Born: April 20, 1983 in Nevada City, CA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Part of the nouveau psych-folk movement that took shape as the first decade of the 21st century drew to a close, the American-born singer/songwriter Alela Diane got her start thanks to a well-received, self-released recording (2003's Forest Parade) and a helping hand from established scenester Joanna Newsom. After a short stint with the group Black Bear and a European vacation, Diane returned to the States and began work on her next album, which saw the light of day as The Pirate's Gospel in 2004....
Full Bio
To Be Still, Alela Diane
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Customer Ratings