Alela Diane – To Be Still

I was at Gray Whale this afternoon for a quick music fix. I’m really digging the fact that a lot of their used CDs are $2.99. I bought their discount card for $20 several years ago, which means I get $1 off for every CD.

Maybe it’s because I go in there a lot. Maybe it’s because I’ve probably bought about 50-60 CDs there since Ocotber. As I was rooting through the indie bin, I found Samantha Crain’s “Songs in the Night” CD. I just about passed out. I had been meaning to pick it up from Amazon, but I never got around to it. Now it’s just sitting in the local used CD shop indie bin. SWEET!

I took my stuff to the register and chatted with the guy about her CD. “Have you ever heard her?”

“Yah, she’s really good.”

“She sounds a lot like a mix of Regina Spektor and Feist.”

“Hey, yah. That’s spot-on.”

She sound like them. Amazingly gifted vocal talent, great folksy blues music. Just an amazing CD. If you have the chance to pick it up, do so.

But that’s not what I’m going to write about. Not today, anyway.

So I also got a couple of blu-ray discs. They keep the actual discs behind the counter, and put the cases out on display. Because I bought everything upstairs, I had to go back down to the main level to get my discs. Thankfully, Kylee was interrupted by a relatively lengthy phone call because it gave upstairs guy a chance to come downstairs. He and I got to talking again, and he ended up handing me a copy of Alela Diane’s new CD, “To Be Still.”

“Have you ever heard her?”

“No. Haven’t.”

“Here. Take this. If you like Samantha Crain, you’ll probably dig this chick.”

“Cool. I’ll check it out. Thanks!”

Musically, the first thing I heard was a steel sliding guitar. Not exactly my cup of tea, and I instantly thought Super … a country CD. Could’ve used this last night for a coaster.”

How wrong I was. Keyboards, steel guitar, acoustic guitar, light drums … mellow.

That was the only CD I listened to on the way back to work. Vocally, she sounds like a folksy version of Bat for Lashes meets Dido.

Then there are the lyrics. She reminds me of Suzanne Vega in her level of detail and poetic style. She pours her heart and soul into her vocals to help paint the scene that she portrays–not in a boistrous or overbearing way … she sings at a perfect level fitting for her music.

Here are the lyrics to “Dry Grass and Shadows.”

There are things that I’ve seen in my head
While I’m sleeping in bed
That do not wither in the morning light

I’m taken back
O I’m taken back
To the dry grass and the shadows

Thinking I’d like to look at your teeth
Lined up in perfect rows
A maze of childrens’ feet in orchard trees
Where the flat lands stretch inside your mouth
And when you laugh all the star thistles stumble out
The flat lands stretch inside your mouth
And when you laugh all the star-thistles stumble out
Strong spines of valley hills
All overgrown in gold
Look softer than a spool of old silk thread
But if we walked down with our feet
I’d be pullin’ spines and barbs and fox-tails from your skin
O if we walked down with our feet
I’d be pullin’ spines and barbs and fox-tails from your skin

There are things that I’ve seen in my head
While I’m sleeping in bed
That do not wither in the morning light

I’m taken back
O I’m taken back
To the dry grass and the shadows

I’m excited to find the rest of her stuff. She has strong staying power.

Official website: http://www.aleladiane.com

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