Folk voices come in many hues, from righteous straight-talkers to ethereal sopranos. Now on her third album, Oregon-based Alela Diane musters just the right balance of grit and gossamer. She may have both her husband and her father in her latest band, and semi-retired REM producer Scott Litt on board for this most polished of her albums, but her voice rightly remains the dominant force. The songs? There's nothing world-class here, but you could easily listen to Alela Diane telling you "the wood of the olive is too sacred to burn" ("Elijah") all day.
Alela Diane: Alela Diane & Wild Divine – review
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666