So many of my favorite artists from Muruch’s early days have fallen away or ruined their signature sounds chasing musical trends, but not Alela Diane. Alela is reliable in releasing albums that fit perfectly in her oeuvre without stifling her artistic growth. Her new, fifth album, Cusp, is the perfect example. There’s no doubt you’re listening to an Alela Diane album, but its beauty and brilliance is still fresh and surprising.
Alela is one of the rare artists who always has something of substance to convey through her lyrics and never fails to do so in an eloquent, innovative, and exquisitely poetic way.
Cusp explores the theme of motherhood–its tribulations as much, if not more than, its joys–but, like the best poetry, each lyric can be interpreted and expanded far beyond the original intent.
The standout tracks are “Ether & Wood” and “Yellow Gold.”
“Ether & Wood” is a rumination on life and loss–from past relationships to mortality. She manages to compare visiting an old home to a newborn baby leaving the womb with the succinct, plaintive refrain “I don’t live there anymore.“
“Yellow & Gold” pairs Alela’s lovely voice with a melody that builds from a gentle piano melody into an otherworldly multi-instrumental folk symphony.
A decade ago, Alela Diane was one of the many “indie folk” artists that gave Muruch it’s brief reputation as a folk music blog. Now she truly stands in a class of her own.
I still haven’t even processed the fact that legendary punk poet-singer Patti Smith is coming here to Charleston, WV to present at the WV Music Hall of Fame next month. Mountain Stage just announced Patti Smith will perform live at their February 11th show!!!!
I’m not usually a gushing fangirl about celebrities, but Patti Smith has been my poet/rockstar idol since the first time her song “Pissing in a River” made me cry as a young teenager–it still makes me cry, it’s one of my all-time favorite songs and certainly the most powerful song ever recorded. And that’s just a ballad, her spoken word and punk performances were like witnessing a volcanic eruption. There has never been anyone like Patti Smith and I doubt there ever will be. I never let myself even dream of seeing her perform in concert. I still can’t believe it’s real.
I already bought my tickets so I can get lost in the performance without having to write a review and because I suspect the show will sell out quickly. Tickets are available online and at Taylor Books.
Oh it’s everything I hoped it would be. Juliana Hatfield puts just enough of a rock guitar riff on this Olivia Newton-John cover to make it fresh, but her angelic soprano remains true to the original. It’s like when my older sister used to play her ONJ vinyl records and sing to me. I love it so much.
Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John will be released on April 13, 2018.
And for your enjoyment, here’s the original by Olivia Newton-John…