On Saturday night at La Grange, local singer-songwriter Ashley Myrick, who performs under the stage name of lalagray, will celebrate the release of her debut solo album Devil's Nest.
And celebration, indeed, is in order: The piano-driven effort, which Myrick says is five years in the making, is a confident collection of alternately cutesy pop jaunts and haunting, near-apocalyptic ballads. It's an impressive release, let alone debut, that emphatically introduces Myrick as North Texas' answer to Kate Nash and other charming, critically acclaimed piano-poppers.
On it, Myrick's voice flutters gracefully above her bouncing piano play as her backing band--which features members of RTB2, The Beaten Sea, Sarah Jaffe's band, and other performers with ties (like Myrick) to the Dallas Family Band--capably offers up ethereal, alt-country accoutrement to the overall aesthetic.
Like The Beaten Sea, for whom Myrick's tender backing vocal efforts have made her something of a recognizable figure about town, the album was recorded at Junius Recording Co. by producer Lindsay Graham. With this and The Beaten Sea's self-titled debut from the spring, Graham's quietly propping himself up as one of the better producers in the region. Unlike so many other local releases we come across, this isn't some quick stab at putting one's music out for consumption; rather it's a very professional-sounding recording that, rightfully, places Myrick's vocals and piano efforts at the front and center.
In turn, the album stands as one of the year's finest debuts--and perhaps alone at the very top--in a cluttered year that has seen impressive first full-length efforts from Spooky Folk, The Beaten Sea and Sarah Jaffe, among many others. And, considering Myrick's efforts on The Beaten Sea's debut, as well as in that band's live offerings, one could argue that no other area artist has better introduced herself to the local music community this year than has Myrick.
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She's also been kind enough to offer DC9 readers a taste of her very tasteful debut. After the jump, give "Bag of Bones," Devil's Nest's lead-off cut a much-merited listen and download.