Alela Diane is an artist who continually gets better over time. With each album her voice grows stronger, her band fuller and her music wiser. But no matter how many instruments she adds or variations she makes in her vocals, she always manages to create an essence that is strictly hers—an earthy, imaginative, timeless, down-to-the-roots collection of sound. With help from her father Tom Menig and husband Tom Bevitori, who also play on tour, Diane’s third album Alela Diane & Wild Divine (buy here) brings forth a well-seasoned bundle of dusty country-folk songs.
Originally from Nevada City, Diane moved somewhat recently to southeast Portland with her hubby/band-mate Bevitori. Despite big changes in her life over the last two years, her songwriting is as strong as ever. Her lyrics feel untouched by the city living, sticking close to her down-home themes of family, nature, and hints of the Old West. Through them she builds moments of tension and quickly slashes them with resolving melodies.
Although Diane’s acoustic finger picking from previous records is still present, there is more of a carefully produced, full-band, on-the-brink-of-pop kind of vibe in this album. Bits of twangy electric guitar, accordion, pedal steel, old keyboard, and banjo all weave together into surprisingly light arrangements that flow seamlessly through the track list. The sound may take some getting used to for those who loved the rawness in The Pirate’s Gospel, but it definitely settles in quickly and comfortably.
One thing remains certain: Diane’s silky voice—light and robust, comforting and haunting, soft and thorny—is the most powerful instrument on the album. And it perfectly utilizes an ever-so-slight yodel, which is not an easy feat.
Diane is about to kick off a small tour with the Fleet Foxes, which includes a July 24th show at the Edgefield Amphitheater in Troutdale, OR. (Buy Tickets Here)
MP3: Alela Diane :: "Long Way Down"
-Emilee Booher June 29, 2011