Alise Marlane
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Alise Marlane

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Review of "Room For Less""

After several listens, I am totally taken by this singer/songwriter Alise Marlane. Much can be said about the variety of music styles that she has easily woven into her jazzy approach to folk music. Aside from the very romantic piece, A Sailboat in the Moonlight, and the love song about the seal in Alaska, this new album is made of original material. Production of her previous album was in the hands of the muti-talented Ian Tamblyn, but the partnership of Alise and James Stephens is certainly no less impressive. Room for Less is very easy to listen to and makes a strong impression. Stillness Hold On has an outstanding reputation among music-lovers, and is especially known for having brought to the wider public a high quality, but lesser-known, singer.

Luckily, Alise lives up to the expectations with these 13 fresh works. Romantic, full of life, and with a careful eye for detail, she brings optimistic and lively perspectives on her surroundings, ideas and experiences. Room for Less is somewhat introspective, but her reflections are chock-full of beautiful and memorable metaphors. Alise looks at daily life with all of its possibilities and impossibilities. There are challenges, unfulfilled moments, wrongdoings, and much more, but this does not mean we have to close our eyes. She doesn’t give any answers, but puts the accent on purity rather than being paralyzed by sorrow and complexity. Life is limited, so let’s make sure we make something beautiful of it is her central message.

The voice of Alise Marlines sits comfortably in the mix, and the multiple instruments featured are a nice complement to it. There is wonderful musicianship here provided by diverse Canadian artists that help to make this album very rich. Old friend Fred Guignon is in the party, but so is John Geggie, Don Cummings, Peter Von Althen and Alvaro de Minaya. It took some time, but Alise can now say again with a peaceful heart that she has created an outstanding album. This is a thoughtful and rustic singer song-writer album that I heartily recommend to everyone to enjoy. - Rein Van Den Berg,, 04/05/09

"Review of "Stillness Hold On""

Sometimes very, very good things come out of Ottawa – GST cheques, Kathleen Edwards, Rebecca Campbell, public anti-war declaration – here's another one for that list. Marlane's début is fresh and invigorating as the great Canadian wilderness with images like: “where no angel dares to leave impressions of wings for fear of disturbing a surface so clean.” A voice charmingly like Suzanne Vega, and the timelessly brilliant production of Mr. Ian Tamblyn, results in a record that makes Canadian folk music proud. Marlane's songs are grand on their own (especially notable numbers include Crows for Life and Rice Paper), but the tasteful and lush orchestration makes them into real national, northern wonders – part of the elusive and distinguished Canadiana genre. - Annie Clifford, Penguin Eggs, Summer '04

"Folk Fest Find Makes Her Mark"

People are beginning to talk about Alise Marlane, a singer-songwriter who makes her home in the Wakefield area, like she's the next Kathleen Edwards or something. She's not. Her music is completely different. Really, the only thing she has in common with the red-headed edwards lass is that both songwriters wrote a bunch of material in Wakefield. In Edwards' case, it came off with an alt-country edge. Marlane's music is a little more elusive to categorize, but after careful inspection of her well-crafted first disc, Stillness Hold On, let's call it lyrical folk with a jazzy twist. Marlane's clear voice and sparkling guitar work are the hallmarks of her sound, a style that puts her in the company of fellow Ottawa-area singer-song-writers such as Lynn Miles, Jennifer Noxon and Chris MacLean.

With help from some of the cream of the local scene, including Ian Tamblyn's production, Peter Keisewalter's soprano sax and John Geggie's bass, this Montreal native, who's been living on the Gatineau side of the river for five years, has come pretty close to defining an Ottawa sound, if there is such a thing - and whether she realizes is or not.

As a songwriter, Marlane's work on this disc is characterized by images of the Gatineau Hills, changing seasons and the conflict between civilization and nature. She mentions the Gatineaus by name in Hard Winter Soul, then goes on to sing about great blue herons, crows and hummingbirds and other creatures. Often, she's an impressionist who conveys her emotions with strong visual imagery instead of a straight narrative.

When Marlane sings about the "day blowin' in swirling chills round my heart" in Snowglobe, you'll feel the chill of a snowy day, too, perhaps not realizing the song is actually about a lost love. But when her crystalline voice evokes the joy of a warm breeze from the southern skies" in Hard Winter Soul, there's no mistaking the triumph of having survived another tough winter, the thrill of the first signs of spring. It's a song we can all relate to, especially after last month's bitter cold.

Marlane's music is not all wintry. Cover Me Bridge is a lilting ode to Gatineau's historic covered bridge, while the multi-layered Stones, co-written by Antoine Lurette-Fraser and Marlane, has a warm chorus of chanting singers in the background, and Crows For Life takes a light, smartly worded view of the "personable" side of the big, black birds.

The instrumental Highway Dogs and the weightless Rice Paper, which was recorded live at Rasputin's, are the best examples of her impressive command of acoustic guitar. She's an assertive player, but not showy. Then she picks up mandolin for Ain't No Industry, a much more straight-driving song with sharp lyrics on love not being an industry (something we need to hear on Valentine's Day). Marlane also revives an old Tamblyn song, Angels Sail Away, giving it new life with her angelic voice and a nice skip to the beat.

The CKCU Ottawa Folk Festival stumbled upon Marlane's talent last year when she won a last-minute audition for a spot at the festival. This disc will help her find an audience among folk fans across the country. Alise Marlane plays at the Library and Archives of Canada at 8 p.m. tonight as opener for Ron Sexsmith. - Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen, 02/14/04

"Wakefield's Beauty Stirs Singer"

The new year did not get off to the greatest start for Alise Marlane, whose skills as a guitarist, singer and songwriter are apparently greater than her ability to play Canada’s game.

“I broke my leg while playing pond hockey on New Year’s Day,” Marlane reports. “I was feeling pretty good out there, ‘til Ian passed me the puck.”

That’s Ian as in Tamblyn, the legendary local artist who has deftly stickhandled his way through countless projects, including the production of Marlane’s collection of jazz-infused folk songs. And he’ll be on hand this Sunday to offer defensive support for a playing-hurt Marlane at the Black Sheep Inn, alongside bassist Ken Kanwisher, percussionist Alvaro de Minaya and a brace of vocalists—Chris MacLean, Brant Lucuik and Carol Goodman.

Up front, complete with leg cast, will be Marlane, the accomplished guitarist and vocalist who settled in Wakefield some five years ago after “bouncing back and forth” between Ottawa and her native Montreal for a number of years.

“I landed here at a point in my life when I was tired of moving,” she says of her picturesque home town. “It’s amazing to be living in this oasis not far from a big city with a lot to offer. You can’t do that in Toronto.”

Marlane’s compositions reflect the beauty of her surroundings, expressing emotions and a world-weary view through the eyes of an artist struck by the falling leaves and humbling landscape around her. It’s an influence perhaps best embodied by Cover Me Bridge, a song in which a vulnerable Marlane takes comfort in the enduring charm of Wakefield’s famous covered bridge.

“It is a love song,” Marlane says, “but also a love song to the bridge. “I wouldn’t see my writing as diary writing; there are levels in the songs. I’m looking for meaning that goes beyond the superficial aspects of daily life.

And a covered bridge is something tangible, a continuum. There’s a sense of history—of permanence—there.” “You dance me to a slower time,” Marlane sings in Cover Me Bridge. “One of glory, reason and rhyme.”

A time, needless to say, before there were big-box stores on the edge of town. “In the words of (singer-songwriter) Greg Brown, the country is turning into a coast-to-coast strip mall,” Marlane says.

“And places like Wakefield are worth preserving. Why they’ve chosen to develop here, I don’t know—I fear the mall is going to open the floodgates.”

Marlane is referring to the proposed construction of just such a strip mall at the entrance to Wakefield. “I’m sure some people are for it,” Marlane shrugs. “I haven’t met any, myself, but I have met dozens who are against it. Unfortunately, we have no voice at the municipal level. And that’s a shame.

“I know these things are supposed to represent progress, but there are different visions of progress and some do not have to do with big-box stores.”

Or, as Marlane expresses it in Cover Me Bridge: “I don’t worship the past unconditionally/But sometimes I can’t see which way this world’s got me spinning.”
- Allan Wigney, The Ottawa Sun, 01/07/09


Room For Less (2009 - just released in May '09)
Frida's Brow (2007 - Alise is also a member of this folk trio alongside Chris MacLean and Jennifer Noxon)
Cabaret Civil (2006 - music from a Theatre Production)
Stillness Hold On (2004)



Check out Alise Marlane "live" on youtube:

This Montreal-born musician is based in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec. She spent most of her life carving out various paths through the arts and worked many years as an art conservator before deciding to focus with more vigour on her life-long passion of writing music.

All is fair play in Alise's creative process - having produced a broad repertoire brimming with endless guitar adventures, some forays into mandolin territory, and an incredible range of subject matter. With influences as varied as Billie Holiday, Bruce Cockburn, Edith Piaf and Dr. Seuss, to name a few, the common thread is her desire to "serve the song", drawing from a range of styles while ultimately evoking her own unmistakably rich and original sound.

She has entertained audiences throughout the Ottawa/Outaouais region and beyond with her engaging repertoire - sometimes playing solo, sometimes backed by a double bassist and a percussionist, as well as being part of CFMA nominated folk trio, FRIDA'S BROW, alongside Jennifer Noxon and Chris MacLean. Alise has performed openening sets for the likes of Ron Sexsmith, the The Wailin' Jenny's and Terry Tufts to name a few. Other events she has performed at as a solo artist include "Absolute Acoustics - a celebration of the acoustic guitar" featuring Don Ross; "International Women's Day" at the National Arts Centre 4th Stage, hosted by Connie Kaldor; and summer festivals such as the CKCU-Ottawa Folk Festival, Blue Skies Festival and Eaglewood Folk Festival.

With her début album, Stillness Hold On, produced by Ian Tamblyn, Alise first established herself as an accomplished songwriter distinguished by a compelling, evocative voice and strong musicianship. Her newly released second solo album, Room For Less, co-produced with James Stephens, has already been garnering international acclaim.

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(re. Alise's new album: Room For Less) "After several listens, I am totally taken by this singer/songwriter, Alise Marlane. Much can be said about the variety of music styles that she has easily woven into her jazzy approach to folk music...Romantic, full of life, and with a careful eye for detail, she brings optimistic and lively perspectives to her surroundings, ideas and experiences." Rein van den Berg,

"Marlane's début (Stillness Hold On) is fresh and invigorating as the great Canadian wilderness…a record that makes Canadian folk music proud." Annie Clifford, Penguin Eggs, Summer 2004

"Alise is a damn good guitar player. Her sense of groove is remarkable. Her songs read like a good collection of short stories. She shares a deep sense of irony with Annie Proulx and wonderful exploration of the neighbourhood like Alice Munro. Her subject matter is often what is just outside her window, and yet she has a definite world view.” Ian Tamblyn, songwriter, playwright, producer

"Alise is one of Ottawa's best new songwriters. There is an enjoyable skew to her writing that catches one off guard. Her voice is evocative, her arrangements complex, her lyrics sheer poetry." Dean Verger, Owner Rasputin's Folk Café, Ottawa

"Alise has clearly demonstrated a dedication and genuine respect for her craft. More than once, the audience has been silenced by the quiet beauty of her voice and her songs." Paul Symes, Owner, the Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield, Quebec.

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In the spring of 2005 Alise took the reins as resident songwriter and musical director for Theatre Wakefield’s production of a new bilingual musical play entitled Cabaret Civil - a political satire revolving around the Quebec City anti-globalization protests of 2001. She was subsequently enlisted by Theatre Wakefield to produce the album Cabaret Civil: Songs from the Theatre Wakefield Production – a swinging collection of songs interspersed with provocative sound-scapes.

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"SABAH" directed by RUBA NADA, Executive Produced by ATOM EGOYAN, starring ARSINÉE KHANJIAN

"THE ELEVENTH HOUR" Gemini wining CTV dramatic series.

"A WINDIGO TALE" directed and written by ARMAND RUFFO, soon to be released.

(Music Supervisors please note that voice-free versions of the majority of Alise's recorded material are also available.)

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