11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

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About Alela Diane

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. It caught the attention of small label Holocene Music, which reissued the album in 2006 with new artwork and a revised track listing.

The Pirate's Gospel was critically well received, and over the next year and a half, Alela Diane's star was on the ascent. A 10" vinyl five-song EP, Songs Whistled Through White Teeth, was released in the U.K. in 2006, and Diane toured extensively in both the United States and the British Isles during the following year. In 2008, she toured Europe once again and found time to record an album with Headless Heroes, a side project whose debut album, The Silence of Love, was a collection of cover songs. Her next solo LP, To Be Still, marked her debut for Rough Trade in 2009. Although it was universally well-received by critics, Diane ditched the album's hushed, intimate appeal in favor of a beefier sound, which was unveiled on 2011's Alela Diane & Wild Divine. Toward the end of her marriage to Wild Divine's guitarist Tom Bevitori, Diane began writing songs that would ultimately comprise 2013's About Farewell, a stark, honest portrayal of their break-up. ~ Chris True

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