As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 7
Americana artist, Alice Wallace, draws on some powerful female influences, like Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Not only are these powerhouses heard throughout her music, but Wallace is invoking their fierce, independent spirits and paying it forward for female artists. Her latest release, Into the Blue, was recorded on Rebelle Road Records, a Los Angeles-based label founded by women on a mission to achieve women’s equality on the California country music scene
Wallace on Into the Blue, her Girl Power spirit, and her musical inspiration.
This is your fourth album, but your first on Rebelle Road. Can you explain how this came about, and why you decided to release Into the Blue on Rebelle Road?
I feel really fortunate to have met the women of Rebelle Road and partnered with them to release this latest album. My producer KP Hawthorn is one of the founders, and she and I have been working together for several years. I was so intrigued when I heard she was joining this new endeavor with two other women, with the focus on giving a stronger voice to women in the music industry. And when they were interested in releasing this new album, I was thrilled. The three women of Rebelle Road have such a diverse blend of experience and knowledge about the music industry, and they have really taken my vision for Into the Blue and expanded upon it in beautiful and creative ways.
You grew up in a family who shared their love of music with you. When did you know you wanted to be a musician, and what drew you to pick up a guitar and later on, finger-picking?
Yes, I grew up around lots of music. Both of my parents played guitar and sang together – duets by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris and lots of others. We’d go on camping trips with family friends where the evenings would turn into big song circles, with guitars being passed around and so many voices joining in to sing along. It wasn’t long before I wanted to join in. I attempted to teach myself a few chords when I was about 10, but I got discouraged by the fat blister I got on my thumb from strumming. I picked it up more seriously around 15, and I started writing songs once I got a solid G, C, and D chord under my fingers. I learned some basic finger-picking patterns from my dad maybe a year into playing because I loved the way it sounded when he did it. My love for playing acoustic guitar just grew from there.
Your songwriting is strong and tackles important topics such as #MeToo, the devastating California wildfires, and much more. How do you process your songwriting and choose the writers you want to work with?
It has only been in the last couple of years that I have starting cowriting songs with other writers. I owe it mostly to my friend Andrew Delaney, a Texas songwriter whose talent for lyrics drew me in immediately. Our first cowrite was the song “Echo Canyon” on my new album. He and I also wrote the song about the wildfires. “Santa Ana Winds,” and his song “Elephants” is the one I recorded for the album that makes such a poignant statement about the #MeToo movement. It can be so interesting and beneficial to have another writer’s perspective on a song – especially when you’re tackling topics that are so big. And since I started writing with Andrew, I’ve been seeking out other writers to collaborate with. Another favorite on my new album is “The Lonely Talking,” which I wrote with my producer KP Hawthorn. I still have plenty of songs that I write all alone, but I really enjoy the process of dissecting a topic with another person who thinks in songs.
You share the stage with fellow musician Ray Wylie Hubbard; how did you two get connected, and what’s your favorite memory performing and/or writing with Ray?
I met Ray when I opened for him at the Coach House Concert Hall in Orange County a few years back. He is one of the most supportive artists I’ve ever opened for. He immediately took an interest in my music and made sure to listen to my set and give great feedback. He even invited both me and the other artist who opened for him up on stage to join him for a song at the end. He’s just such a genuine person. And a great songwriter. We’ve stayed in touch since that show a bit, and I’m hoping we’ll get to play together again soon.
Lastly, name five women in music have been most influential in your career?
I have to start with the three women in the Trio: Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris. They are all incredible talents and strong business women who have contributed so much to the catalog of American music. Plus, I have to mention Jewel, because she was hugely influential for me in high school and was the reason I taught myself to yodel. I think number five would have to be Patty Griffin. From college on, Patty Griffin is the artist I’ve come back to over and over for inspiration.