When Alice Wallace was a child growing up in Central Florida, her parents would sing harmony on classics by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Her clear memory of that encouraged her to lean toward Americana music and eventually led her to become a prolific singer-songwriter and dynamic performer. In a recent interview, Wallace said it came so natural to her, it was comparable to when she first learned to talk.
“I’ve always been a writer,” she explains. “I was naturally inclined to write my own words. I began learning from songs after I learned guitar, but then it just seemed to flow. My dad is a singer-songwriter. He taught me a lot.”
The songwriting flow she describes depicts a gifted country songwriter whose melodies and lyrics come as natural as a Yosemite meadow at dawn. Her voice is rich and velvety, with soul and character all her own. Hers is the kind of vocal talent most songwriters strive to attain, matched by a stage presence that is both personable and charismatic. She brought these gifts with her as she moved to the unlikely Americana-rich hills of Los Angeles. “It took a while to find a country scene in L.A.” she says. “But I met Kirsten Profitt and Manda Mosher … who were looking for artists to sign to their new label.”
It was a fortunate union when the girls of Calico met Alice Wallace. The band has established the California Country Records label — a co-op of Los Angeles country and Americana artists working together to allow for greater visibility. As described on their website they “endeavor to produce music that stirs the soul in a meaningful way whether it elicits a feeling, a vibe, or an era, or lyrically takes you on a journey with the artist; we want the albums that we cultivate and grow to fruition to make you feel something that you can take with you.”
It’s a strategy that has paid off with the 2014 debut of Calico’s Rancho California album, which led to an official showcase at this year’s Americana Music Festival in Nashville. Along for the ride in Nashville was Wallace how made several appearances in Nashville during the week.
Now back home, Wallace is preparing for the release of her new album, which she’s funding via PledgeMusic. A release party is scheduled at Hotel Café in Los Angeles on October 9.
With two critically successful albums to her name, Wallace’s new release, Memories, Music & Pride, promises more well-crafted songs that lean toward country, blues, and folk, featuring a familial troupe of musicians with whom she has worked for the last two years. “My songs come naturally out of life experience,” she says. “This [album] has been written while we were touring, so they’re mostly songs about the road in one way or another. There’s movement to the songs.”
That movement she describes is clearly evident on the premiere track “I Just Don’t Care Anymore,” which is a big, blistery honky-tonk song, complete with the vocal ghost of some kind of hybrid of Janis Joplin, k.d. lang, and Wallace’s own signature soul. The song is on fire with classic country energy, a Jerry Lee Lewis-like hellfire piano, big guitar jams and a sound so dynamic you can almost hear Stax horns somewhere in the mix. This not-to-be- missed recording is pure unadultrated honky tonk bliss.
As the new album drops, with her recent visit to Nashville, Alice Wallace looks bound for the kind of success that dreams are made of. If so, watch the not-so-distant Americana horizon for this talented artist to emerge from field of rising new artists. Her partnership with California Country Records and Calico the band looks like that horizon will include an impact on the national music scene.