Man, the older I get the more I tend to fall for really great folkies. I blame my early fascination with Donovan and Nick Drake for that, but they also helped me understand what a great folk record should be about. Alela Diane, who I had never heard of prior to a Colin Meloy tweet a few months back, has written a great record stitched from the same quilt as modern classics like those by early Elliot Smith, Iron and Wine, M. Ward and others.
Like all good alterna-folk “To Be Still” is steeped in equal parts brooding darkness and gently prodding optimism. Alela’s voice is a solid, smoky driver of a train filled with a nice assortment of strings, steel and acoustic guitars best captured on “Dry Grass & Shadows” and “The Alder Trees.” It is hard to imagine a better springtime record for that day you are blowing through the country with the windows down and music turned up loudly.