“letters is a reflection on being in my mid-20s, with all good and bad that that entails,” allyson tells me of her new EP. it’s funny. everything that we create, build and project at this time in our lives might just be exactly that. the remarkable thing is that letters somehow captures those emotions and sets them to music – predictable though it may sound, the record is anything but. “it was inspired by a time in my life where i had the emotional maturity to know what’s good for me, but i was still young enough to have these impractical strings attached to those feelings of ‘what if’ or ‘maybe’ – which i think we all do at some point or another.” the same words have probably crossed your mind – i know i’ve written them here in some form or another – and that’s exactly why you’ll love letters.
allyson reigh is a saskatchewan-native alternative folk singer based out of montreal. after a stint playing in a band called mike & ally until 2011, allyson took her songwriting and vocals solo – letters (a five track EP which released today) is her debut release, and was recorded in saskatoon in the spring of this year. allyson is currently touring canada, starting here in montreal before heading to the east and west coasts. girl’s even got a festival tour planned for next summer! needless to say, allyson is on the cusp of something very real, and very big. her vocals are complex; her songs are organic, natural, floral at times, but upon a second listen, they develop a harsher quality…not quite bitter or grim but it’s not what you’d expect from your typical folk pop number. a third listen divulges the honesty with which she writes, and that’s when you start to understand almost exactly where she’s writing from. that floral, honeyed nature doesn’t quite disappear either, lingering enough to take the edge off. the record explores a handful of different genres, all of them sincere and colourful – there’s definitely something for everyone here.
“i think that’s so important in music as a songwriter; to connect with sincere, authentic emotion and create something to give to the listener to interpret as their own.”
“the EP is a culmination of all of those experiences i was having and needed to sort of figure things out for myself, which is why i called it letters – letters to myself and also things that i couldn’t say to other people,” allyson goes on. needing to figure things out for myself is the story of my 20s so far. when i ask allyson what her favourite song off the album is, i expect her to say “dark horse” (above, the album’s first single), but she chooses “adelaide.” “as cliché as it sounds, i wrote it after a getting my heart broken by this guy. but more than anything else, the song is really about retreating into yourself and sort of weeding through the helpless and vulnerable feelings you might have in relation to another person,” she explains, “to me, it’s a very raw and personal song. my favourite line is, ‘what about me, adelaide? the one you say you love’ i don’t know if you can be more honest than that.”
what makes letters even more interesting, for me, is the way that allyson interacts with it when i ask her about it. it’s clear that the record means a lot to her. “the 5 songs all have their own flavour – from rhythm-based, to ethereal, to folk-pop, to jazz – i really allowed myself to paint with a lot of colours on these songs and create a very diverse album,” she goes on, “i absolutely could not have done this without ross nykiforuk, the producer. he was really influential in suggesting new changes and adding different elements that i hadn’t thought of. although the album is incredibly personal, it’s also a snapshot of a moment, and something that i will use and learn and hopefully grow from.”
you can pick up a hard copy of letters today. prefer a digital copy? hang tight, it’ll be available next week! if you find yourself in the saskatoon area, the release party is being held tonight at the village guitar & amp co, where allyson will be playing a short set, so i highly encourage you guys to go check it out!
** album artwork by nania sergi