Byland Rocks the High Dive at their Debut Album Release of “Desert Days”
At a sold-out High Dive on Saturday night, Alie, front woman of BYLAND, played a heartfelt and much-awaited performance of her debut album Desert Days. Paying homage to her childhood and southwestern roots, she even set the stage with cacti and kentia palms, opening with a dreamy instrumental on her electric guitar before inviting her full band and a perfect pairing of cello and violin to showcase the lyrical and cinematic strength of her album. The impetus of the album for Alie, who recorded, mixed and mastered Desert Days with her husband Jake, was to honor her father who passed away in 2012. Having performed vocals, piano, and digital percussion on the album, she also says it was the help of her amazing musical community including the talent of Rosenoak (Came and Jodi Reed) on strings and friends and family that made Desert Days a reality.
Her lyrics lend powerful wisdom to the beauty that grief can often bring when healing through struggle and loss—and you can feel this radiating warmth and elevated mindfulness when she sings. The opening song in Desert Days, named after her hometown, “Albuquerque,” Alie invites us to journey back towards that nostalgic place of recalling our youthful foundation. She sings, “Everybody’s got that place, that town…where your roots are found…where you learn to dream.”
Leading the band effortlessly between her electric and acoustic guitars, as well as a moving and stripped down piano performance were some of the highlights of the show while she encouraged the audience to “Hang on tight to every memory,” and to “Be all you can be” on your journey.
Her genuine warmth on stage stole the limelight as she dually showcased her keen sense of family and community, having her sister play on drums and her husband playing the harmonica, as well as featuring some of her favorite local bands to support her debut, Hallstrom, Temple Canyon and the Skylar Mitchell Raye Band all attributing to making the evening a true celebration amongst friends and a gathering to remember.
Catching her between sets in a packed house, Alie sited that some of her inspiration for creating music and this album was to truly bring people together. “I want to take people back to a different place and time,” she said, when speaking about Desert Days. “I want them to remember their roots—the good and the bad—and realize how far they've come.”
Through her performance, you could feel the audience clinging to her lyrical advice, to “Make peace with the memories you wish you would forget,” the theming of her songs also reminding us that it is often that lingering dust we carry and collect second-hand in a satchel through the desert of life that propels us to become who it is we are meant to be.
And for Alie, that is someone who is capable of curating a magical and special evening, all made possible by honing in on her own journey, her grief, reflection within her art, the music of Desert Days.
You can learn more about BYLAND at https://www.bylandmusic.com/