The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Alli Beaudry. Courtesy photo.

Alli Beaudry 

When: Friday, April 17, 7 p.m.
Where: Café La Reine, 915 Elm St., Manchester

Natural woman
On new album, Alli Beaudry keeps the music honest

By Michael Witthaus

If it’s not clear right away that Alli Beaudry both plays and teaches music, it will be a few minutes into a conversation with her. 

Recently, the Manchester singer-songwriter talked about a new project, The Voice from Within. It’s Beaudry’s first album in seven years, and while discussing it, she’s buoyant, radiating positivity. 
At the same time, her teacher’s voice is unmistakable. Beaudry is guiding and instructing as she describes the spark that led her back into the studio to follow up 2008’s Wicked Webs We Weave.
“For a while I had a stint of not writing that much,” she said. 
Last summer, Beaudry sat on a beach pondering the death of her beloved grandfather. She took out her ukulele and began strumming. 
“Not expecting anything, I wrote this song … that kicked it off, and now it’s constant,” she said.. “I’m so thankful that fire has been ignited. When I did it, I knew: I’m recording a new album.”
As an instructor at Berklee College of Music and a private tutor of aspiring local musicians, Beaudry spends her days helping artists create. It is inspiring work, she said, but it is occasionally maddening on a personal level. 
“You want to create for others, you want to help them, but to do it for yourself can be a struggle,” she said.
Armed with a stack of new songs, Beaudry began recording rough tracks with her musical partner Ryan Sandford at the Wilton studio of musician/producer Charlie Chronopoulos. She launched a site offering perks like a house concert, hang time at sessions and hand-bedazzled lyric sheets. The fan-funded effort is two thirds done with a couple of weeks to go.
She’s working toward finishing the album this summer, with a celebratory coming-out show at Tupelo Music Hall in August. However, fans can pledge $40 to her campaign for a pair of tickets to an intimate pre-release performance at Apotheca Flower and Tea Shoppe in Goffstown. 
“Plus your latte or tea is on me!” she said.
Soon, she’ll bring in a studio band to flesh out the music, but one track is nearly complete in its rough form. “Keep The Light” is an upbeat ballad about embracing goodness and hope. “Keep the light, be the light,” Beaudry sings, playing piano and accompanied by a spare cello line from Sandford. 
“I feel that song is the theme of the album at this point,” she said. “I hope that’s the message I translate. … It’s an overall assessment of life and reflecting on other people in my life. It’s taking on its own energy.”
The record-making process is organic, enhanced by the natural acoustics of Chronopoulos’s loft recording space. 
“The goal for this album is [to] have it sound exactly as you’d see it,” said Beaudry, a ubiquitous live performer throughout the Granite State. “As much as I’m a product of Berklee, I love a simple sound. … I can appreciate production and engineering, but working with Charlie we are on the same page.”
Both eschew studio gadgetry. 
“Emotional things can sometimes take over the music, but we can’t think about singing to a metronome or a click track because it’s not who we are,” she said. “We’ve had kind of a breakthrough trying other things so it’s not artificial. Charlie’s an awesome beatboxer, so he’s been [doing that and] keeping me honest with my time.”  
Beaudry cites Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles as guiding lights; Joni Mitchell’s Blue is a seminal album. 
“You feel everything, the textures, the colors, the heartbreak, the transition from the most guttural to the most angelic,” she said. “I’ve never heard anyone like her; she’s definitely an idol.”
Beaudry often employs visual language to describe her music. Her voice and Sandford’s cello on the new song are “light and dark colors, and there are some warm rich tones … you can’t have too many shades.”
It’s also the way she teaches. 
“I once asked a student to write out all her lyrics in a form like you’d see on a page,” she said. “I told her if you’re writing the word ‘feather’ make it look like a feather so you can visualize it. Take sections of the song and give them a color or an emotional connection.” 
As seen in the April 16, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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