(born on 1983)
Alela Diane is an American indie folk musician whose unconventional melodies and dreamy guitar picking style drew comparisons to the likes of Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom following her 2003 recording debut, Forest Parade. After releasing a pair of hushed, brittle LPs, she started to involve more collaborators to flesh out her sound, culminating with her fourth full-length, the 2011 full-band album Alela Diane & Wild Divine. A return to more intimate recordings followed, including 2015's Cold Moon with Ryan Francesconi. Diane was born and raised in Nevada City, California, also the hometown of Newsom. Diane's parents were musicians, and she grew up singing with them and in her school choir. A self-taught guitarist, she released her first album, 2003's Forest Parade, at the age of 20. Newsom provided Diane with her first public solo gigs. After a short stint with the group Black Bear and a trip to Europe, Diane returned to the States and began work on her next album. Released in 2004, The Pirate's Gospel came to the attention of Holocene Music, which reissued it in 2006 with new artwork and a revised track listing. The album was critically well received, and she followed it with five-song EP, Songs Whistled Through White Teeth, also in 2006. 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 lauded by critics, Diane ditched the album's low-key, intimate appeal in favor of a brawnier sound 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 breakup. Two years later, she released Cold Moon, a duet album with Ryan Francesconi. Her fifth solo LP, 2018's Cusp was similarly spare and introspective. Recorded after the birth of her first child and mixed while pregnant with her second, the album explored Diane's newfound motherhood.
© Chris True & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
© Chris True & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 4, 2011 | Rough Trade
After releasing a pair of hushed, intimate folk records, Alela Diane beefs up her sound with Alela Diane & the Wild Divine, an album that owes as much credit to Diane’s newly expanded backing band as the songwriter herself. These ten songs paint a familiar pastoral picture -- there’s much talk of horses, birds, highways, and open landscapes -- but they do so with a wider brush, coloring Diane’s once-stark music with keyboards, light percussion, and electric guitar. She’s a vintage California girl, with a voice that’s steeped in Laurel Canyon twang and lyrics that split the difference between flower child optimism and poetry grad cynicism. Backed by a solid country-rock band (including two guitarists who claim co-writing credits on more than half the songs), her new sound is perhaps more indebted to Nashville than the West Coast’s folk scene, but it sounds its best in the neutral territory between both camps, neither subscribing to nor rebelling against any single genre. In the weeks leading up to this album’s release, press outlets tended to focus on Diane’s new “pop-influenced sound.” The Wild Divine isn’t pop, though, and Diane’s willingness to reach beyond her freak-folk bedrock bodes well for a long career. “At the end of the day,” she croons on the album’s final track, “the song that I sing is the same.” Right on. © Andrew Leahey /TiVo