California-country singer-songwriter Alice Wallace’s spellbinding new album Into the Blue is out now and she embarks on UK tour dates this month.
Watch video for leading track “The Blue” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAjqZDUc2Eo&feature=youtu.be
Lyrically, the heart of the album is the luminous anthem, “The Blue”. Its lines provide the album title Into the Blue and describe Wallace’s own journey to “get over my fears and go for the thing I love the most.” The emotional feel of “The Blue” is heightened by exquisite layered harmonies from Wallace’s father, mother, and brother.
Alice Wallace will tour the UK in October with dates as follows:
Weds 2 October – Grateful Fred’s, Southport
Thurs 3 October – The Silver Dollar Honkytonk at Marr’s Bar, Worcester
Fri 4 October – Victoria Hall, Settle
Sat 5 October – Woodend Gallery, Scarborough
Sun 6 October – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh (Lonesome Highway)
Tues 8 October – The Running Horse, Nottingham
Weds 9 October – The Hawth, Crawley
Thurs 10 October – Isis Farmhouse, Oxford
Fri 11 October – The Islington, London
Sun 13 October – Chapel Arts, Bath
Into the Blue represents Wallace’s evolution as a recording artist, showcasing her growth as a songwriter as she embraces a fuller sound, backed by some of Americana’s most distinctive players. Co-produced by Steve Berns and her US label Rebelle Road Records’s studio veteran, songwriter and musician KP Hawthorn, the album is brimming with soul. The formidable rhythm section, including drummer Jay Bellerose (Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Aimee Mann) and bassist Jennifer Condos (Jackson Browne, Graham Nash), underpins instrumentation ranging from Tom Bremer’s crunchy electric guitar to Kaitlin Wolfberg’s lush string arrangements to keys and pedal steel from Jeremy Long (Sam Outlaw).
Wallace uses an intoxicating array of vocal styles to bring her songs to life: a dusky alto on “The Lonely Talking” (co-written with KP Hawthorn); gospel-tinged belting on “When She Cries” (inspired by the end of a six-year drought in California), and a soaring soprano on “Santa Ana Winds.” The latter, a country-rock chronicle of California’s devastating wildfires, is a co-write with Dallas artist Andrew Delaney, a frequent collaborator whom she calls “the most brilliant lyricist I’ve ever met.” Wallace inhabits his stirring “Elephants,” giving voice to women who refuse to be “quiet as a mouse in a room full of elephants.” The Wallace-Delaney-penned “Echo Canyon” is, she says, “a southwestern cowboy ballad that’s a modern take on a yodel song.” Wallace’s heart-wrenching “Desert Rose” tells of a young mother’s struggle to give her baby a better life across the border.
It was after Wallace’s return to her birth state of California that she fully embraced her calling as a singer-songwriter. Her family had relocated to rural St. Cloud, Florida, when she was a child. She grew up around the sounds of her parents playing guitars and singing, with “Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, their favourite,” she recalls. She also absorbed the country rock of ‘70s-era Linda Ronstadt. “I really taught myself to sing by mimicking their styles,” she says. “The powerful belt that Linda has. The emotive lilt to Emmylou’s voice. Trying to navigate those different elements helped me find my own voice nestled in between all that.” She first picked up guitar at age 10, with her dad teaching her to finger-pick at 15, and by senior year in high school, Wallace was performing original compositions at the local Borders bookstore. It was in college that she discovered yet another calling: yodelling, that haunting vocal style that blends blues, country, and western. Wallace’s own “A Little Yodel” added her to the ranks of legends Patsy Montana and Carolina Cotton.
In 2008, when the Wallace family relocated back to Southern California, she began focusing on writing, performing, and touring, both solo and with a band. Since 2013, she performs some 200 dates a year. One of those with whom she’s shared stages is singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard, who says she and her “stunning” songcraft have that “Steve McQueen ‘Cincinnati Kid’ cool.” Pundits agree: she won the 2017 Female Vocalist of the Year at the California Country Awards and the previous year’s Best Country/Americana Artist at the L.A. Music Critic Awards.
Having spent the past six years writing songs and touring the nation – from AMERICANAFEST® to county fairs, barrooms to coffeehouses – Alice Wallace is ready to break out. “It takes bravery to “sail away into the blue’ and grab it,” she says. “It took me until about six years ago to finally take the plunge, quit my job and go for it. I haven’t looked back since.”
(Alice Wallace biography by Holly George-Warren)