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Alela Diane To Be Still

There’s the West in Alela Diane’s voice. Plenty of musicians make geographically distinct music, but Diane’s folk channels not just a place, but also a time—the pioneer West, as her music’s sparseness echoes landscapes both beautiful and unforgiving. On To Be Still, her second album, Diane’s voice is ghost-haunted as ever, but the arrangements are more mature, with delicately picked guitar and moaning violins amplifying the power of her voice. “My Brambles” sounds fuller than her previous work, and there’s more percussion throughout. The album isn’t a radical departure from her 2006 debut, The Pirate’s Gospel, but there’s growth here nonetheless. Onward, and westward.

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