Tone Talk with Alison Turner (AliT)

Photo by Luke Awtry
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My name is Alison Turner; I perform under my moniker, AliT. I grew up on a farm in a small town in central Vermont. I have been writing songs since I was seven years old and playing guitar since I was eleven (I remember getting my first little blue Ibanez electric guitar on Valentine’s Day)

As a reticent child, I used music as a way of getting my voice heard. Teachers from elementary school still come up to me in awe that I am a performer. That’s how it goes for a lot of artists, though! Give them a stage, and they will shine.

I have always listened to many different styles of music. My favorite bands include Brand New, Blink-182, and Death Cab For Cutie. I don’t know if you will hear any of their influence in my music. You tell me! Haha. I let my music do its own thing and have never strived for a certain sound. Some have told me I sound like a less-neurotic Alanis Morissette; some have mentioned Jewel, Ingrid Michaelson, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and so on.

I released my sophomore album in 2019, Smoke and Mirrors, with Grammy-award-winning sound engineer (and my guitar teacher when I was eleven), Ed Eastridge. In quarantine, I released a new single, “Down (Wonderland),” which was accompanied by a self-produced/edited music video. In a few days, I will be releasing my third project, The Makeover, which is a re-mixed and remastered collection of songs I wrote and recorded myself prior to Smoke and Mirrors. These songs are extremely special to me and represent a huge chunk of my life. I can’t wait for everyone to hear them.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
Tone is something you might not think you can control, but you can. Play with the music. Try songs in different keys. I use a capo a lot of the time. See where the song sounds best. Where does it want to sit? Sometimes I will sing a song in two octaves if the tone is right.

What are your favorite tonewoods?
Most of my guitars use a variety.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I use a Bose L1 Compact PA, which has been amazing. I have a small pedalboard; I use BOSS distortion, BOSS chorus, and my new favorite pedal, the Walrus Audio Slo Multi Texture Reverb pedal. My mom’s acoustic Takamine from the ’70s is one of my favorite guitars to write on. Live, I like to use my Taylor T5z (hollow body) or Ibanez Artcore (semi-hollow). For my virtual live shows, I have been using an Ibanez acoustic.

What about strings?
I’ll be honest. I haven’t changed the factory strings that came on my Taylor T5z. It has been almost 4 years. They still sound and feel amazing.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
I am picky about my takes. To minimize how much editing I do, I will record a vocal or guitar part over and over until I get it the way I want. I rarely loop takes, and I never sing a chorus the same way twice. Another technique I recently picked up is recording guitar tracks direct and miked simultaneously. It gives me more tone options when I get to mixing.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
By looking at the audience’s faces. Expressions will tell me if something is inconsistent.

What does your practice consist of?
My practice consists of just learning songs, songs, songs. That’s how I learned to play to begin with. Eventually, I will know all the chords. (Ha!)

Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to pick up the guitar and play?
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” I was obsessed with the entire American Idiot album.

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?

1). Play a little “Free Bird” when the drunk guy yells, “Free Bird!”

2). Never settle for less than you’re worth.

3). If guys are betting on your age, get in on that bulls**t! Whoever is the most “off” pays you double!

Connect with Alison Turner (AliT)

Social media:     Instagram: @alicatkittycat  |  Facebook: @alitentertainment


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