Leah Andreone may have been out of the limelight for quite some time…but there is a good reason for it. Taking her time, the singer is ready to put forward her best work yet on Avalanche, her new album that comes out September 1! From the single Never Stop Trying to her beautiful duet with Dan Wilson entitled Make Time For Me, this album is a collection of incredible tracks that was well worth the wait.
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“I’m gonna brush off the dirt and put on a new skirt,” proclaims singer-songwriter Leah Andreone on “Never Stop Trying,” the urgent track that kicks off her new album, Avalanche. The song encapsulates the San Diego-bred, L.A.-based artist’s particular blend of ferocity, pluck and good humor – qualities that have stood her in good stead on her musical journey.
Andreone reiterates the themes of determination and endurance throughout the album; “I’ve lived well/I’ve gone through hell/I ride each wave that comes” (from the exquisitely yearning “Jack the Gardener’s Son”) is a representative sentiment. And though she has indeed been through the fire, her vibrant new set of songs is ultimately about coming through the other side with passion intact.
Whether reaching a fever pitch on rockers like “A Poet Should Be Sitting Here,” belting out such power ballads as “Live Your Life” and “A Flaw in the Way You Love Me,” or curling her plangent pipes around “Make Time for Me” – an achingly tender duet written and sung with Grammy-winning troubadour Dan Wilson (Dixie Chicks, Semisonic) – Andreone delivers the emotional goods throughout Avalanche. She’s ably assisted by co-writer/co-producer Kevin Fisher, who matches her go-for-broke vocals with an extravagant sonic palette that stretches from banjo-spiced roots to vaulting, keen-edged alternative rock.
“The day Kevin and I wrote our first song together, I asked him if he wanted to team up with me,” she recalls. “We began writing and recording regularly and have been musical partners ever since. In addition to being a brilliant songwriter and musician, he’s insightful and boundlessly patient.”
Patience proved indispensable in the process. “We took a lot of breaks,” Andreone confides, noting that the process was at times an emotionally exhausting one. Still, these hiatuses were filled with work – including writing with and producing other artists, composing for tv and film and even brainstorming a cartoon series, The Significant Otters. “When it felt right, we came back to Avalanche and started again. Kevin and I feel the same way about making music: We want meaningful and we want fun.”
It’s been a long road to the lessons reflected on the new collection. Andreone’s 1996 debut, Veiled, launched her into the deep end of the pop pool; the single “It’s Alright, It’s Okay” hit the U.S. and European charts, and she toured the country with the Lilith Fair festival. After completing her follow-up, Alchemy, she departed from her label – but not from music. She collaborated with a bevy of artists, including Charlie Clouser (Nine Inch Nails), Martha Davis (The Motels), Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo) and Marti Fredrickson (Aerosmith); contributed to film soundtracks and benefit compilations.
She first sat down to work with Wilson while at a particularly low ebb in her career, but found his perspective invigorating. “Writing with Dan was a whirlwind,” she remembers. “He’s such a nice guy and a stunning songwriter. My former A&R guy set up a writing session at Dan’s home in Minneapolis. My second record had just been shelved and I was crushed. He picked me up from the airport and truly understood what I was going through. Talking with Dan about life, music, labels and the next record completely changed my perspective. I was inspired by his courage and unflappability. When I was putting Avalanche together, I asked if he’d sing a duet with me. He obliged, and also produced this beautiful chorus of voices in the bridge.”
If anything, Andreone’s newest effort embodies the alchemy that music can bring about, wringing meaning from doubt, exaltation out of exhaustion and melodic bliss from pain. “For me, the point isn’t the particular adversity,” she notes. “It’s what I do with it. The theme I keep returning to on this record is continue moving forward; let go of the past and dead dreams. Live. Create new dreams. Love and love again.”