Lael Alderman
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Lael Alderman


Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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"After 10 years, Alderman as solo songwriter returns."

[SINGER-SONGWRITER] “My buddies used to call me a sensitive singer-songwriter,” former Bella Fayes frontman Lael Alderman says, laughing. “And I didn’t wanna do that at all.” He’s referring to Of Birds, Devils and the Heart, his new release—and his first solo album in a decade. “I was just taking what I’d learned in a rock band and bringing that intensity to a stripped-down song,” he explains. “I didn’t want sad bastard music.”

A glistening collection of songcraft, Of Birds saunters through a number of genres—New Wave, indie-pop, British-invasion balladry—all of which are led by Alderman’s confident, malleable vocals (equally capable of Britt Daniel falsetto, Pete Yorn warble or Julian Casablancas’ hesitant agression). The album’s fairly eclectic,” the 33-year-old Alaska native continues. “When you’re making your own record, you can be totally diverse. You can think, ‘Man, I really want to make this more like a ’60s soul tune,’ and [you don’t] have to worry. I really enjoyed the Bella Fayes, was a rock band. No matter what I wrote on my acoustic guitar, it [came] out as a rock song. I had a [solo] career before that, a deal with Geffen in the late ’90s, and I wanted to go back to that and see what I’d learned.”

Despite the variety of styles and lushness of sound, Alderman also played all of the instruments on Of Birds—save a few drum tracks by producer Greg Williams—and recorded the album entirely in his basement studio. “I’d make myself a cocktail and go down there just as something to do. I wasn’t sure I’d ever put out another record. There was no thought about how I was going to play it live,” he adds. “There were arrangements with strings and horns, but I was lucky enough to find a band that can pull most of that off.”

While national “destination” tours will still be solo and acoustic, Alderman’s formed a backing band for regional gigs, and they’ll appear on his soon-to-be-recorded follow-up—also likely to be self-released, which is relatively new territory for Alderman. “I spent all of my 20s trying to hunt down a deal,” he says. “I always enjoyed making the music, but that whole other side [ate] up all of my energy. This time, I just wanted to get it out there. I have friends that’ve been holding onto records for six, nine, 12 months. I don’t see the point. I’m not so precious anymore.”
- Willamette Week, Nov. 28, 2007

"Best Local Albums of 2007"

[POP MASTER CLASS] The home-studio era has much to answer for: Too many artists, given the opportunity to pursue their muse without constraint of time or money or clashing visions, flit through genres, add unfamiliar instruments on a whim, and obsess over every syllable until the production nudges near-inhuman perfection. Every so often, this turns out to be a good idea. After folding his shoulda-been-worldbeaters indie-rock group the Bella Fayes, Lael Alderman took to the basement studio and forged a solo album that tours nearly every era of pop (British Invasion through new New Wave) to forge marvels of songcraft that, largely by dint of heaven-sent vocals, organically build upon one another toward a distinct and coherent majesty. Don’t try this at home. (JH) - Willamette Week, Dec. 26, 2007

"Lael Alderman delivers"

Earnest singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen, which is why it’s refreshing to encounter one as good as Lael Alderman. The former Bella Fayes member returns with a new solo album, “Of Birds, Devils and the Heart,” filled with captivating songs that veer from buoyant to bittersweet.

Alderman’s voice has just the right touch of grit to make it unique and honest, whether he’s delivering optimistic, full-band numbers like “Brand New Day” and “(Won’t) Letyoudown,” whimsical Beatlesque pop like “She Is Tall in a Short City,” or the wistful “Desire! Desire!”

It takes a lot of talent to stand apart from the pack, and Alderman is proving that he’s only getting better as he goes along. His delivery, phrasing, lyrics and melodies. - Portland Tribune, Nov. 30, 2007

"Critics' Choice for 2007"

Alderman is the reason we love Portland. On this, his first solo outing after a stint with Geffen Records and fronting his band, the Bella Fayes, he steps out with a self-produced, wildly creative home recording of cerebral pop, indie folk and neo-psychedelia, without the bitter aftertaste that any of those genres can imply in the hands of wannabes. Alderman is a master craftsman who propels each of these 11 beautiful cuts from the heart with an eye toward the ears. Only music-scene injustice keeps him from being a rock star. (Don Campbell) - the Oregonian


of birds, devils and the heart (2007)
various releases under the Bella Fayes
diary (2000)
slowdrag (1997)



he lives in Portland, Oregon and has for some time. he has a day job downtown, a house on the east side, a studio in the basement. he has a knack for penning inspired pop songs, the charm to be unassuming about it.

lael has been doing this music thing for quite a while now. there was his stint on Geffen Records as the singer/songwriter-type in the late ‘90s. following that, he spent roughly five years heading up and down the west coast, playing shows, recording three albums with the Portland-based indie rock outfit the Bella Fayes. add to that another year or so for gathering his thoughts, writing and recording a new album on which he plays most every single instrument and pulling together a fine collection of local talent to back him up live, and you have the rough story up to the present.

his new record was released in late 2007 to much fanfare in his hometown of Portland, topping many critics' best of 2007 lists. working with a collection of songs that are informed as much by modern-day influences such as Wilco and the Shins as they are by such diverse songwriters as Morrissey and Paul Simon, it is clear that, here, lael has found his creative home. while there is an array of styles to be found throughout his work, lael has continued to keep his primary focus intensely trained on crafting strong melodies and writing sharp lyrics.