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Jeff Milo

On “I Guess I Don’t,” the lead single from the singer-songwriter’s forthcoming debut album, Allye Gaietto takes listeners into her mental space.

Allye Gaietto, Detroit-based singer-songwriter excels at capturing the emotional turbulence we experience, from hope to grief. Gaietto’s songs on his forthcoming debut album, hoping for more, tackle subjects (and often personal ones) that one could objectively conclude are heavy and difficult. But Gaietto constantly finds the words that fleetingly purge those unwanted feelings of tension. Put those words over major chords and energizing melodies and we can achieve a sense of transcendence, if only for four minutes. His piano arrangements heighten his exceptional sensitivity for poignant and moving ballads to the point where he exudes a sense of strength and perhaps even hope – albeit still bittersweet.

When Gaietto first visited our WDET studios in 2019, she told us how she knew she had wanted to be a musician from a young age. She briefly left Michigan to pursue studies at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota. Upon her return, she began performing on the local music scene as a solo artist and collaborating with other bands and artists. She released a five-song EP in 2016 and her debut album Hoping for more will fall in May.

On January 28, Gaietto published “I suppose not,” the first single from the next album. The new track crashes with guitars and cymbals before backtracking to let floor toms provide a chaotic beat. The piano and pedal steel guitars swirl around each other in a lilting melody that produces a hitherto eluded heaviness. But there’s an undeniable gravity to her voice, a compelling directness to the words she chooses, and a seductive earnestness to her vocal tone that immediately locks you into her wavelength. And as we head into her first chorus, her voice gets fuller, stronger and even deeper – with lyrics that complete that theme of extinguished patience, “…I pushed these feelings down,” she sings, “but they keep bubbling upstairs…”

On “I Guess I Don’t,” Gaietto takes us into her mental space, where she strives to heal the wounds of a toxic or dysfunctional relationship by seeking confirmation of a single simple emotion, from parent to the child: love. And if not love, at least recognition? The conclusion isn’t satisfying when she calls it, but there’s something about the simple voiced resolution, “…I guess I don’t…” that seems painfully eloquent and even provocative in the way she closes the case even if the case has not closed. Perhaps the song’s most defining moment is its bridge, as Gaietto’s haunting vocals deliver a stunning melodic series of wordless exclamation that effectively captures that feeling of a complex catharsis where one finds oneself.” .. hoping for more”.

Hoping for more presents a collection of songs written by Gaietto over the course of a decade. The album was recorded with a Detroit-based producer and renowned string arranger Herd of Maurice “Pirahnahead”, beginning in fall 2019 and ending in late winter 2020 before the pandemic hit. Included on these recordings are Gaietto bandmates Jonathon Hackett, Will Daniels and Phil Keller, along with contributions from Chris Codish, Steve Stetson and Ron Otis. The sound of these tracks were given extra spectacle and added vibe thanks to mixing by Andy Thompson, who has worked with everyone from Belle & Sebastian to Taylor Swift.

“I Guess I Don’t” is the first of what Gaietto expects to be a handful of singles released over the winter and early spring before the album’s official release in May. And you can expect an array of styles and sensibilities, from piano ballads to propulsive indie rock to lush orchestral pop. A shining example of the latter is the closer show, “False Hope,” in which Gaietto categorizes this sometimes necessary illusion as something that’s both “easy to see” and also “hard to let go of.”

Finding the balance in this dichotomy is at the very essence of Gaietto’s songs. While we hang on and hope for more, strength comes from keeping your composure and endurance – and that’s why these songs have such power.

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  • Jeff Milo is a reporter for CultureShift. He’s a longtime music journalist who’s been documenting the Michigan scene for 15 years.

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