Ears Wide Open: Alice Wallace

Alice Wallace (Photo by Adrienne Isom)
Alice Wallace (Photo by Adrienne Isom)

Over the past five years, singer-songwriter Alice Wallace has been a steady hand carrying the torch for California Country music. As the release of her fourth album, “Into the Blue,” approaches, it’s as if she’s ready to fly.

“It takes bravery to ‘sail away into the blue’ and grab it,” says the road warrior who has paid her dues in small venues and coffeehouses, routinely performing more than 200 shows per year. “It took me until about six years ago to finally take the plunge, quit my job and go for it. I haven’t looked back since.” Or, as she pep-talks herself in the soaring single “The Blue,” “And now you stand right at the edge / of where you’re going / and where you’ve been / and the only certainty / is you and the blue.”

The song, she explains, is a reflection “on the journey I’ve had in becoming a full-time touring musician. California is a place full of people chasing their dreams; even though there are many highs and lows about life on the road, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The great, wide ocean of opportunity is waiting to be explored.” Making the song even more empowering: The harmonies at the end are performed by her mother, father and brother.

The album is out Jan. 18 via fledgling label Rebelle Road Records, founded by Adrienne Isom, KP Hawthorn and Karen Rappaport McHugh, dedicating itself “to championing and showcasing California country and Americana artists, especially women.”

Wallace, whose versatile vocals have been likened to Patsy Cline, Bobbie Gentry and her hero, Linda Ronstadt (she performed the latter’s “Long Long Time” at October’s “Palomino Rides Again” pop-up show at the legendary North Hollywood club), covers plenty of ground on “Into the Blue.” “Desert Rose” immortalizes a young mother crossing the border to give her baby a better life. “Santa Ana Winds” is a soaring ode to all that was lost in the state’s wildfires.

Backing Wallace on the album are drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Jennifer Condos, guitarist Tom Bremer, pedal steel player Jeremy Long and Kaitlin Wolfberg (strings). It was co-produced by Hawthorn and Steve Berns.

||| Stream: “The Blue,” “Desert Rose” and “Santa Ana Winds”

||| Live: Alice Wallace will celebrate her album release with a free show Jan. 17 at No Name (432 N. Fairfax).