Alela Diane was born in Nevada to musical parents. As she grew, she performed with her parents and in the school choir. She eventually taught herself to play guitar and began putting out albums in 2003 with the self-released Forest Parade. Alela now lives in Portland and has just released her fourth album, To Be Still, on Rough Trade Records.
If you looked at my iPod and cd collection you would assume that I would not like Alela Diane, and by all accounts you would normally be right, but there is something about Alela’s music/voice that totally captivates me. The calm, bordering on melancholy coupling of the music and vocals almost forces the listener to stop and pay attention; and pay attention I have.
To Be Still, like The Pirate’s Gospel, was pretty much a DIY effort. It was recorded and produced by her, her father, Tom Menig, and Dan Elkan. However, unlike her last, To Be Still has a lot of instruments on it. Inviting mandolins, banjos, fiddles and drums to the party does nothing to take away from the real star of the party, Alela’s voice. Instead, it adds the flavor that pushed To Be Still right onto my Essential Listening list. Check it out.