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I think it’s time that I move on, step into who I am while I still can, croons Alison May in “Echo.” And indeed, discovering this artist’s soul will leave listeners nothing short of hypnotized by her masterful debut, Earnest Keep.

Hailing from Texas—now based in Oakland, California—the singer/songwriter’s penchant for music dates back to her pre-teen years. Drawing inspiration from artists like Nick Drake, Jackson Browne, and Deb Talan as well as her college music education, May has fashioned her own country folk sound through her skillful acoustics and remarkable voice. Not surprisingly, the powerful combination has astounded audiences during performances, inciting positive reviews by Southern California’s Music In Press.

Earnest Keep was released on January 22nd 2013 under the music label Misery Loves Company. What ensues are twelve folk rock tracks which emanate intimacy and emotion via May’s breathtaking delivery. If her instrumental skill isn’t enough to impress, her alluring voice reminiscent of Alanis Morissette is sure to command attention. Tracks like “Michael’s Song” and “Echo” address identity, while “Behind the Dam” packs a get-even attitude. Relationships are explored through the domestic life story that is “What A Life,” as well as through the contradicting emotions incited by love in “Brick.” Nods to history are witnessed in the gentle yet somber “Ellis,” as “Dorian” pays homage to Oscar Wilde’s literary masterpiece. Although present throughout on different levels, the likeness to Alanis’s voice can especially be heard in tracks like “Based On What I Thought I Saw” and the upbeat, piano-backed “A Good Stone.”

Fans of artists like Sera Cahoone, Laura Gibson, and/or country folk rock in general will be drawn to May’s personal approach. Her heartfelt work is testament to her own appreciation and belief in the importance of being earnest—Wilde would approve. A debut of such depth and magnitude sets the stage for much anticipation.

 Review by: Natacha Pavlov


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