Alison May Readies ‘Loved/Dark’ LP

by Acoustic Nation
Posted Apr 28, 2014 at 2:30pm

Alison May is a folk singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who has been performing, writing and recording out of Oakland, CA since relocating from Texas in 2012.

Her change of scenery seemed to awaken a more layered and experimental side, which is carefully captured in her sophomore release, Loved/Dark.

The album is set for a July 15 release on Misery Loves Co., and the first window into the album is captured in the first single "Raft.”

Her home town of Waxahachie was about an hour’s drive from anywhere. This meant she spent a lot of time in the car with her father, listening to artists like Jackson Browne, Nick Drake and Tracy Chapman.

She was only a drummer at the time, but songs like “Telling Stories,” “Pink Moon” and “The Pretender” made Alison want to wander out of the rhythm section. This desire bred Alison into not only a singer/songwriter, but a recording artist who would play almost every instrument for her albums, creating an exact replication of her imagined arrangements.

Take a listen to “Raft” below:

Alison started tracking without any prepared arrangements and instead opted to let each track speak through experimentation. Ultimately she found the right instrumentations, making Loved/Dark the result of patient layering and wild guesses as to what would fulfill the potential of each song.

The album includes guests George Weber (vibraphone), whose mysterious bowing techniques are notable in both "Raft" and other album cut "My Own Good." Alison's debut album, Earnest Keep, worked without any bass parts but Loved/Dark needed a touch of girth from the presence and playing of Michael Jude.

The patience of producer/engineer Jeff Price (ex-Mornin' Old Sport) was perhaps the greatest contribution to the record, rolling with the punches and staying in the moments of additions, subtractions or reversed decisions throughout the process.

In 2013, Alison promoted the release of her first album, Earnest Keep, with two regional tours through the south and midwest, one of which was by way of an Amtrak train. In between tours, Alison was in the snowy masses of Carbondale, Colorado, tracking Loved/Dark, which she plans to support with a national tour this summer, with an additional run of shows in the U.K.

Loved/Dark is a reflection of Alison’s ability to not only grow as a songwriter and performer, but also as a storyteller and explorer.

Keep up with Alison May here.