Nick Abadzis

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A Weekly Song: Episode 19 - Alela Diane

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I originally wrote a much longer post about this song but for whatever reason, I couldn’t make the piece work. What I wanted to say wouldn’t be said, not in the way I was trying to say it and when that happens, it usually means a much longer percolation period is needed to cohere the ideas that I’m trying to hammer into shape. So, instead I’m just going to leave the song here and say a little about why I love Alela Diane’s music. 

I first discovered her through a collaborative album she did with Ryan Francesconi called Cold Moon which is a collection of songs that find some warmth in impressionistic portraits of winter. Listening to it is like watching shafts of morning sunlight trying to pierce the cloud cover on the coldest of days, which sounds austere and desolate, but that experience is in fact its beauty. It’s almost crystalline in its lucidity and examination of bleaker emotions. 

From there, I worked my way through Diane’s back catalogue until I arrived at her first album, The Pirate’s Gospel which was recently re-released with a second disc of rarities and demos. All her work has that same ability to isolate and describe emotions with a clarity and purity of intent that I find very potent. She puts you right there in the vignettes she conjures.

This song, from her most recent LP Cusp, reminds me of my father, who was an émigré – and that’s the song’s title. If it chimes with you, I can only advise you to seek out all her recorded output.

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