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Pirate's Gospel

4.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 24, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2006's The Pirate's Gospel was the debut release from singer and songwriter Alela Diane. Hailing from the deep woods and winding rivers of Northern California Gold Rush town Nevada City, Alela grew up singing songs with her parents (both musicians). During a stay in San Francisco in 2003, she began teaching herself guitar and writing her first songs, blending tense, trance-like arpeggios, with warm, thick vocals and meditative lyrics about family and nature. Written in response to a loss of home and familiarity, The Pirate's Gospel is a powerful document of personal reevaluation and renewal set against the backdrop of generations past and future, mothers and fathers, life, death, and birth.

Amazon.com

Now here's a lovely surprise. A singer-songwriter who hails from Nevada City, California, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon, Alela Diane Menig has a voice that seems far older than her early-twenty-something years. This version of her second album has been newly mastered, slightly truncated, and resequenced: the changes are all for the better. But if you've not heard her before, that's cool; her early releases were all on her own CD-R label. Her sing-songy tunes are honest and earthy, her diction intense and mannered but never pretentious. It's hard to believe this crisp recording was made in a home studio. The songs--plaintive vocals accompanied by a slight guitar and backing vocals, often little else--seem situated perfectly between the parlor and the campfire. Alela's a talented vocalist, in the vein of Josephine Foster, Regina Spektor, and Jolie Holland. At times she even approaches the heights of Karen Dalton and Joni Mitchell. More soon, please! --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 24, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rusted Blue Records
  • ASIN: B000I2JTAW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,488 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William J. Walker on December 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Alela Diane Menig, whose father Tom produces and also appears on this album, hails from Nevada City, and only started to write and play in 2003. `The Pirate's Gospel' was originally recorded in her father's home studio and self released in 2004. Apparently she came to the attention fellow Nevada City native Joanna Newsom, who arranged her first live show. The album got a bit of a polish and an `official' release in 2006.

I've seen this artist compared to Gillian Welch, Jolie Holland, and Josephine Foster. I am most strongly reminded of The Be Good Tanyas and would add them to the list. Which isn't to say she sounds, that much, like any of the former, but that like those other performers, she seems to have reached far into the past for her musical inspiration, before giving it a twist of her own. In the process she has created a sound that, while rooted firmly in earlier times, is fresh, vibrant and ultimately timeless.

I guess this is a folk album(that's how most reviewers have categorised it)but all the songs are self-penned, and musically, it has a blend of styles that would place it outside of any specific folk tradition. As well as folk I hear a touch of blues, gospel and with all the piratical references, there is a nautical flavour too. Forget all that though, because the thing that makes this album so good is the quality of the songs.

The album opens strongly with `Tired Feet' a deceptively simple tune that you may find lodged in your head for days, thereafter the record never flags, sure some of the songs are stronger than others(the title track, `Clickity Clack' and `Oh My Mama' are just three of my favourites)but all the songs hang together to create a perfectly gorgeous album.
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Format: Audio CD
The moment I heard Alela Diane's voice I was hooked... obsessed is more like it! She is a wonderous storyteller with her voice, tambre, and words. Campfire gospel folk is perfect to describe this CD. She is a gifted, self taught artist who's career has only begun. Highly recommend anyone who is looking to relax, imagine and try something new.
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This is the second Alela Diane album I have purchased so this review is a comparison with my other Alela Diane purchase, "To Be Still." So, "Pirate's Gospel" has a wonderful raw and lively rural folk sound. I say "rural folk" because, for me, folk has become a way of looking these days, rather than just a sound. Anyway, if you have played a few samples and want to know if the sounds you are hearing are present throughout the entire album, the answer is Yes! Why only 3 stars? I thought the lyrics lacked the complexity and depth that is present on "To Be Still." This is still a good album but after a few spins felt I had got out of it all there was to get, it wasn't telling me anything new. It does sound great, but lyrically "To Be Still" is much better.
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Her voice is incredible as are her songs and lyrics. I found out about this truly gifted singer when I purchased a copy of Mojo (music magazine in Ireland & England) there was a free cd with it and on it was a song called "White As Diamonds" by a singer call Alela Diane. I was hooked after first listen and craved more, so I ran to my laptop and tracked her cd's down. This cd, her debut is strong and powerful I checked out some of her live performs on youtube and her voice sounds the very same live as on record. Artists like Alela Diane and Laura Marling are the real deal just wish she was getting more notices. Her music is haunting and beautiful well worth buying.
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Format: Audio CD
I literally just discovered this artist today while I was visiting a friend in Portland. I went straight to the local CD/Record store after our conversation and picked it up and LOVE it. Her voice is better than I expected. Sweeter than honeysuckle on a summer's day. I just love how she sweeps into her notes. You can see the songs happening in your head as you listen. Just real, soulful talent.
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Format: Audio CD
Alela Diane Menig, whose father Tom produces and also appears on this album, hails from Nevada City, and only started to write and play in 2003. `The Pirate's Gospel' was originally recorded in her father's home studio and self released in 2004. Apparently she came to the attention fellow Nevada City native Joanna Newsom, who arranged her first live show. The album got a bit of a polish and an `official' release in 2006.

I've seen this artist compared to Gillian Welch, Jolie Holland, and Josephine Foster. I am most strongly reminded of The Be Good Tanyas and would add them to the list. Which isn't to say she sounds, that much, like any of the former, but that like those other performers, she seems to have reached far into the past for her musical inspiration, before giving it a twist of her own. In the process she has created a sound that, while rooted firmly in earlier times, is fresh, vibrant and ultimately timeless.

I guess this is a folk album(that's how most reviewers have categorised it)but all the songs are self-penned, and musically, it has a blend of styles that would place it outside of any specific folk tradition. As well as folk I hear a touch of blues, gospel and with all the piratical references, there is a nautical flavour too. Forget all that though, because the thing that makes this album so good is the quality of the songs.

The album opens strongly with `Tired Feet' a deceptively simple tune that you may find lodged in your head for days, thereafter the record never flags, sure some of the songs are stronger than others(the title track, `Clickity Clack' and `Oh My Mama' are just three of my favourites)but all the songs hang together to create a perfectly gorgeous album.
Read more ›
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