Alysia Kraft has released her new album titled ‘First Light’. Part confessional, part inspirational, part introversion, what we get is all Alysia. This is her story. The best part? She is relatable. I like her. She plays from the heart and she wears that heart on her sleeve. I had the privilege of interviewing her last month and now, after listening to ‘First Light’ in it’s entirety, I can honestly say this is an album about us, from her. A gift, perhaps? Maybe.
Musically, ‘First Light’ is as varied as it is vivid. I must say it was a bold move, and a correct one. This album is linear in regards to that certain feeling you get when you listen to an album the way the artist wants you to. And, in the case of ‘First Light’, this is a must. Ingest those vocal inflections flowing over and complimenting genre-varied music. Subtlety is where the brilliance in this album resides. Those little things that add up and create a substantial wholeness.
Check out our other features with Alysia Kraft HERE.
About ‘First Light’
Alysia Kraft’s debut album First Light is a carefully crafted montage of life’s most brilliant and mundane moments. Kraft brings quiet introspection, vivid imagery and evocative lyricism to paint the picture of her life so far. Capturing these moments with dreamy indie-pop instrumentation, the record shares everything from finding love, almost losing life and the wondrous occasions in between. The album came about during quarantine in 2020. Kraft recalls creating art at the break of dawn, or better put, the First Light of the morning. “By the time dawn was pouring colors onto her palette, I was mixing them in mine – trying to stay in touch with the joy of being alive by writing, recalling, making demos,” she says.
This free-flowing creativity seems to inform the feel of the record as she creates the essence of billowing in the wind, romanticizing reflective moments and flickering through life’s highlights with candid ease. “I wrote from the big moments of my life,” she explains. “The first time I kissed a girl and felt like my body could not contain the magic and life and electricity within me. The first time I celebrated a full year sober and realized I was free to be a new person if I really wanted to be. The wild, uninhibited joy of my first tours, intoxicated by travel and connection and possibility and dizzied by the distance from my family.” Finding inspiration in the nature around her, Kraft adds that “ in the midst of conjuring these events from the past, 2020 shed few quiet moments of new understanding – personified and almost always delivered by the Wyoming landscape that raised me.”
Drawing from her life might make the record seem narrow but in fact it’s Kraft’s brilliant storytelling which invites listeners to find similarities in their own lives and reflect on them just as deeply. Tracks like “Small Town Lights” share a coming-of-age story with a 17-year-old Kraft experiencing the thrill of teenagedom. Then there’s “Hamilton Pool,” a deeply romantic and authentic recounting of the first time Kraft met her true love. “Little River,” which tells the story of the day in which the singer-songwriter almost drowned and how she’s moved forward from the fear.
Perhaps the most thoughtful and inner-directed track on the album comes in the form of “The Answers.” As she sings, the image of Kraft writing music in the light of the morning isn’t hard to picture. Vacant lots, empty storefronts, psychic window panes, the sound of silence ignites. It’s a lonesome good night,” she sings, adding “A bird doesn’t sing because it’s got the answer. A bird sings because it’s got a song.” In this way, First Light is not only the story of Kraft’s life, but the story of the human experience.
About Alysia Kraft
Having amassed devoted regional followings for projects Whippoorwill and The Patti Fiasco as a celebrated songwriter and incomparably magnetic frontwoman, Kraft has sold out most of Colorado’s big stages and directly supported icons Bon Jovi, Blondie, Nathanial Rateliff and Bonnie Raitt on significantly bigger ones. Embracing the complexities of growing up queer on a cattle ranch in small-town Wyoming and choosing to love within a landscape that didn’t always love back, “First Light” is a triumphant homecoming and a defining solo debut.
Smart, retro-influenced indie pop and lush, bioluminescent folk will find crossover appeal with fans of HAIM, Sheryl Crow, Sharon Van Etten, and Waxahatchee. Enlisting close collaborator J. Tom Hnatow & Grammy-nominated Justin Craig to produce and mix and acclaimed engineer, Sarah Register to master, “First Light” is open-hearted and thoughtfully hook-adorned– with soundscapes as dimensional as Kraft’s western upbringing and the liberated narratives contained therein.