ACL Live Shots
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Oct. 9, 2009
Alela DianeOct. 4, Zilker Park
With her dad on guitar and mandolin; Alina Hardin, with whom she shares a new six-song EP, on backup vocals; and a bearded rhythm section, Alela Diane started off Sunday morning with the feel of a real bluegrass band. That classic sound is all over her major label debut, To Be Still, and much like her contemporary Bon Iver, she has an eye for detail, subtle wordplay, and naturalistic poetry. As she ran through To Be Still's most affecting songs – "Tatted Lace," "Dry Grass and Shadows," "White as Diamonds" – that talent came into focus. "Is it October?" she asked at one point, tuning her guitar. "It's hot. In Europe, October is a cold time." Having spent much time in Europe, the muse for her 2006 LP, The Pirate's Gospel, Alela Diane has a certain foreign allure. With her hair cut short, she looked 1960s Parisian, but her voice told another story on "To Be Still" and "My Brambles," fluctuating between falsetto and folkie. She's an old soul, one who's saying no thank you to the freak-folk flag and settling comfortably into her own skin.