(né/née en 1983)
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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Folk - Released February 9, 2018 | Alela Diane
Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
In 2007, The Pirates's Gospel wrote its drugged-up folk onto the heart of gospel. Alela Diane brought her staggering voice to this first album. It would be a hit with fans of Cat Power and Karen Dalton… A decade later, the Californian set up in Portland, setting up in a house in the middle of the woods, surely a kind of re-fuelling after the birth of her daughter two years earlier… There, the songwriter set aside her acoustic guitar for a grand piano on which she created the songs on Cusp, the fifth album from a woman who had decided to draw up a balance sheet which was as much personal as it was artistic. Her relationship to femininity but also her eye for maternity (on Song For Sandy, Alela Diane pays homage to Sandy Denny, the goddess of 60s British Folk at the core of Fairport Convention who died at just 31 shortly after becoming a mother) or for her contemporaries (Emigré on the migrant crisis) gives this record a literary density. Musically, her standard melodic sensibility and her stripped-down approach to folk are blended into an unusually-sophisticated instrumentation. It evokes Carole King, Joni Mitchell and the great names of the Laurel Canyon stage. These charismatic influences in no sense overshadow the originality of Alela Diane, who is more than ever fully in command of her art. © MD/Qobuz
Folk - Released March 3, 2008 | Names records ltd
Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
For this album that brings drugged-up folk to gospel soul, Alela Diane collaborated with her father. The simplicity and restraint of their approach are more than anything carried by the voice of the Californian singer. A voice that sets itself way beyond the dividing line traced by the acoustic guitar. Alela Diane doesn’t whisper. Doesn’t whine. She sings high and loud, placing her impeccable diction above everything else. Her candour is spectacular. One can only hear her, her and her again! There’s much more than Karen Dalton’s DNA in the eleven compositions of this Pirate’s Gospel. This folk essence, this juice of almost bare country blues, is unique in its own right. © Marc Zisman
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