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Genre: Country, Folk, Bluegrass

Website: http://alleystoetzel.com

MP3 (click name to download; click player to stream):
It's Always You

Cocaine Blues


Berklee-trained singer Alley Stoetzel returns to her roots with this debut EP, “What We’ve Been Up To” (release date: Sept. 4, 2012) — a heavenly slice of Americana.
The record, with backing from local roots music legends Jimmy Ryan and Duke Levine, has already garnered the 27-year-old notice. She was entered in Songlines’ “Best New Music” showcase as part of Nashville’s Americana Music Festival and Conference last month, where she performed at the iconic landmark, Robert’s Western World, and Honky Tonk Central.
This is a remarkable development considering that this material represents a musical evolution that has been only four months in the making for the one-time R&B singer, who has nevertheless kept a foot in the blues via guest vocalist spots with the legendary David Maxwell and Ronnie Earl.
As she grew up in Andover, Mass., Alley was drawn to the rootsy music of artists such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and the Grateful Dead, but she also felt the tug of personal heroes Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin, so she set out on a career as a popular performer of soul and blues in Boston-area clubs.
At the urging of a new manager, who had heard the high lonesome beauty of her voice beneath the soul, Alley began to re-explore the genre that better allows the nuances of her vocals to shine. It turns out to have been a magical reawakening.
The springboard to this record was one guest spot with the renowned Jimmy Ryan and Duke Levine, with Jimmy’s band Hayride, at Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge. Her performance of “Long Black Veil” that night brought down the house and so impressed the players, that they, too, paused to applaud. Less than five weeks later — with no other rehearsals besides two scratch sessions with Jimmy — the crew settled into Woolly Mammoth Sound studios and in just two days astonishingly breezed through the six songs on this EP, most done on the first take.
The magic was felt by everyone — especially Alley. The renewal of her early musical love ignited like a brushfire in a field of tumbleweed, and the rest is — or soon will be — history. Whether she’s yodeling like Patsy Cline, channeling her inner Alison Krauss or crooning like Carlene Carter, it is delightfully clear that this full-circle return to her roots was meant to be for young Alley Stoetzel.
One of the great benefits of this transformation is the platform it provides for Alley’s originals. Much of her songwriting has been done solo at her piano, a departure from the high-energy brassiness of her soul and R&B performances. It remained largely a secret, known only to those friends and fans with whom she had shared home-shot videos on YouTube. The acoustic format of this new band became the perfect canvas for Alley’s originals, the first two of which are highlights of this record.
Those pearls and the diversity of her covers — from Hank Williams to Appalachian-style Rihanna — shows that Alley Stoetzel has a bright future on the Americana scene.