I started the Appalachian Piece Meal project thinking it would be a family endeavor, with my dad playing the fiddle. I wanted it to be a mix of old time tunes and my original songs, like “Picture.” My dad will be ninety in June and can still play the fiddle like nobody’s business, but he was unable to be the center of my album as I had hoped and planned. My Dad has cognitive issues now, and things he can and cannot do anymore are mysterious and ever changing. We made several attempts to record him and my producer, Richard Smith, was so kind and patient. It was heartbreaking for me on many levels because no matter how many times we played the songs at home, he nailed them around the kitchen table, we couldn’t coax him back into the project when we were in the studio. Appalachian Piece Meal, which was originally titled Appalachian Blue, became a musical surrender for me. Dad couldn’t do it, so I had to let it go and let it evolve as other friends and family stepped in to play so many parts that make this record unique. It was recorded bit by bit without a click track so the songs breathe a little more. To me, it reminds me of sitting on a front porch with loved ones having a jam sessions. Each person who collaborated on this album brought pieces of the sound my Dad would have added had he been all in. I’m grateful to have gotten a couple of fiddle tunes from my dad. The greatest lesson in this is that good things really do come to those who wait. This album has become so special; a quilt of sounds and influences from so many people I love and have been blessed to play music with for a long time; even my dad in his own way.
My new single off the album, “Picture”, was written after a break-up and it is as literal as it is tongue-and-cheek. It came out of a “what would Loretta do” mindset. It flowed right out of me; a 4/4 thing with attitude. I cut the track in Atlanta at Down In Deep with Martin Kearns on piano, Robert Henson on bass, and Colin Agnew on Drums. I brought it back to Azurat Studio in Virginia to get my sister’s harmonies, Patrick Keese’s fiddle and Richard Smith’s guitar. “Picture” is the most country song on my new album, and it really brings that old-time, honky tonk feel that I was looking for. I’d like to think I have a little Loretta and Patsy phrase-turning in me, and I already look forward to performing this song every time– Holly Renee Allen
Give it a listen right here, and stay tuned for the album release!