Part of the romance of storytelling is the ability to recount a meaningful chapter of life from a place of clarity and hindsight. With every chord she strums, you can tell Alice Wallace takes the time to consider the life she’s lived and unpack it vividly for the listener at the corner where sweet sound and self-reflection meet. So it’s not surprising that she’s lived with most of the songs on her fourth album, Into the Blue (out Jan. 18), for quite a while.
“It’s a very regional album,” Wallace says. “Most of the songs you can hear the influence of California and my touring through the Southwest and the issues that we all think about all the time because the past few years it’s been hard to escape it.”
On her song “Desert Rose” a flamenco-tinged ballad, Wallace recounts a harrowing story she was told one evening by a husband-wife couple who allowed her band to crash with them in El Paso.
“We hang out with this couple in El Paso and they always put us up at their house and the gentleman is a firefighter and EMT and he told us a story about this woman who had come across the border in the night,” Wallace says. “She had her baby on the floor of a gas station bathroom and it was their job to help her get to a hospital and for him this was just a normal everyday occurrence but I was just floored by it.”
It’s the stories, people and places she encountered throughout her travels that informed the body of the album.
The tracklist carries a mix of songs from the beginning of 2018 and tunes like “Echo Canyon” that go back as far as 2017.
“This album’s been a long time in the making but we’ve put so much work into it and I feel like it’s paid off holding back,” she says.
One of those benefits was being able to give her Americana sound the chance to be fleshed out with the help of top tier session players like bassist Jennifer Condos and drummer Jay Bellerose–renowned rhythm experts who’ve played and toured with artists like Alison Krauss and Ray LaMontagne– as well as full string and horn sections.
“I do tour a lot with a band but usually with a four-piece band, so hearing the songs the way they came out on the album is just incredible,” Wallace says.
The three years since her last album Memories, Music & Pride also gave the Fullerton folk staple a chance to connect with professionals on the business side to help achieve her music goals. This new album will be released by new label/production team called Rebelle Road, a company spearheaded by Wallace’s producer KP Hawthorn and her partners Adrienne Isom and Karen Rappaport McHugh, three women who’ve joined forces to give women a larger voice in the genres of Americana and folk.
“It’s been pretty incredible having them work with me, the three of them all have different talents that all work together,” Wallace says.
Together they’ve helped not only produce her album but design her album cover art, website, and socials and get her on stage at star-studded events like the revival celebration of the famous Palomino Club in North Hollywood last October sharing the same stage that once hosted the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Linda Ronstadt.
As momentous as her last year has been, the title track of the album, The Blue, is all about embracing the best yet to come and chasing your dreams in search of the next story to tell.
“I feel like so many people go through the motions and it’s over much more quickly than you think it’s gonna be,” Wallace says. “So it’s important to sail off into the blue and chase your dreams because we only get one chance at this.”
Alice Wallace performs on Jan. 17 at No Name Bar in LA at 9PM https://www.facebook.com/events/255647955116219/?ti=ia
And Feb. 8 at Original Mike’s in Santa Ana at 7:30PM https://www.facebook.com/events/130967731150828/?ti=ia