“She’s stunning, and McQueen ‘The Cincinnati Kid’ cool” – Ray Wylie Hubbard
Memories, Music & Pride, the third album by Alice Wallace, finds the Southern California-based Americana singer-songwriter exploring fresh musical terrain on striking self-penned material inspired by new emotional and geographical compass points.
Wallace, whose powerful, elastic singing and melodic, literate song-crafting skill earned her the title of Best Country/Americana Artist from the LA Music Critic Awards in 2016, views Memories, Music & Pride as a significant step forward – one that bears a more integrated yet all-embracing sound.
“This record is more cohesive, as far as style is concerned,” she says. “I like blues, I like folk, I like country. This one still touches on all of those. But with this album I feel like I was trying to bridge the gap between my influences in old-time country with newer artists like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell, whose albums have opened my eyes to what modern country can be.”
The 11-track collection – Wallace’s first release on Los Angeles-based California Country Records – succeeds two widely praised independent releases, Sweet Madness (2011) and A Thousand Miles From Home (2013). The new album was also named “Best Country/Americana Album” in late 2015 by the LA Music Critic Awards.
Much of the material on Memories, Music & Pride is derived from Wallace’s recent work as a touring musician. It is no surprise that “A Traveling Song,” inspired by some of her chance companions on the American byways, is among the collection’s titles. “I’ve spent the last two years getting used to traveling – usually by myself,” Wallace says. “It’s definitely been a personal learning experience, dealing with being alone a lot, and the songs reflect that.”
Born in Los Angeles and raised in St. Cloud, Florida, Wallace developed an interest in music as a child. Her parents harmonized on country and folk tunes in the living room; her father was a semi-professional musician who toured regionally in the Southeast. As a girl, she joined her family at annual “bacchanalias” mounted by her father’s alma mater, Eckerd College, and became entranced by the events’ campfire-side hootenannies.
Taking up the guitar at 10 and returning to music in earnest at 15, Wallace absorbed a variety of influences: parental favorites like Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris; ‘80s and ‘90s country performers such as Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, and Mary Chapin Carpenter; and singer-songwriters like Jewel, Alanis Morissette and Sarah McLachlan. She says of the latter musicians, “That’s why I picked up the guitar again and made a more serious attempt at playing and writing songs – I was so inspired by hearing female artists on the radio.”
Since then, Wallace’s musical tastes have gravitated toward the modern Americana scene with strong influence from artists like Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams and Jason Isbell, while also exploring more and more the sounds of 50s and 60s country from artists ranging from Patsy Cline to Willie Nelson.