Alela Diane: To Be Still
Home again, eventually.
There's a powerful weariness to 25-year-old Alela Diane's voice as it dips and curls its way through her second album, woozy pedal steel glinting and shimmering all about her, hollow-hooved percussion trailing in her wake.
Like The Pirate's Gospel, her cruelly unheralded 2006 debut, To Be Still is a staggering meditation on the idea of home in its many forms, and shares its predecessor's knowing heart—young, but already familiar with the tugging weights of time, family and love. "Dry Grass & Shadows" and "Take Us Back" vie for reunion with hills and brambles left long ago but dreamt still; "Age Old Blue," a devastating duet with outsider troubadour Michael Hurley, etches the roots of generations of women on sea-swept cliffs in fine enough lyrical detail to stir nostalgia in even the most landlocked soul. The album's title itself is a wish that hopefully won't come true; no stillness could be more beautiful than this folky fugue.