With Alela Diane’s forthcoming fifth album Cusp, she elegantly reflects on the emotions of motherhood. Written during a retreat in a small A-frame cabin deep within the snowy woods of Caldera, Ore., Diane spent time alone for the first time since having her first child, taking care of and getting reacquainted with herself.
Months later, she recorded the songs while pregnant with her second child, and during the mixing process, she went into labor five weeks early and experienced complications—and through a near-death experience while giving birth to new life, she felt newfound appreciation for her role as a mother, and expresses her sentiment through the concept of her album.
“I hope that by exploring motherhood in song, I can help demand respect for the life givers we are,” she says in a statement. “Talking and singing about the experience of motherhood is not something I can shy away from. It is the essence of who we are as human beings. This album is my version of women’s work.”
Diane previously shared the video for the album’s lead single “Émigré,” and today, she premieres another cut that keeps to the theme of life, old and new: “Ether & Wood.” The feel of the track immediately takes you to the snowy woods where the album was written. The smokiness and warmth of Diane’s voice, coupled with the comforting imagery of a roaring fire, wraps you up in a blanket of gentle guitar strums and robust piano chords. “All the ashes of our days are ether and wood,” she sings. Of the song, Diane explains:
“Ether & Wood” is a reflection on the different lives that are lived within a lifetime. The doors along the way that often open and close without notice. I live in a very old house, and love thinking about all the people who lived and died within these walls. We’re all in there: the former selves, the lost loves and the mysterious ones who came before.
Cusp is slated to release on Feb. 9—Diane will play a hometown show at Portland’s The Old Church on May 19, then National Sawdust in Brooklyn on May 26. Watch the video for “Ether & Wood” below, and check out an Alela Diane performance from the Paste Cloud underneath.