Detroit-based singer/songwriter Allye Gaietto excels at capturing the emotional turbulence we endure, from hope to grief. Gaietto’s songs on her forthcoming debut full-length album, Hoping for More, address subject matter (and often personal matters) that one might objectively conclude to be heavy and strenuous. But Gaietto consistently find the words that fleetingly purge those undesirable feelings of strain. Put those words to major chords and energizing melodies and we can achieve a sense of transcendence, if just for four minutes. Her piano-born arrangements augment her exceptional sensibility for poignant and stirring ballads to the point where it exudes a sense of strength and maybe even hope – if still bittersweetly.
When Gaietto first visited our WDET studios in 2019, she told us about how she knew she had wanted to be a musician from a very young age. She briefly moved out of Michigan to pursue a degree from McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota. When she came back, she began performing around 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 drop in May.
On Jan. 28, Gaietto released “I Guess I Don’t,” the lead single from the forthcoming album. The new track crashes in with guitars and cymbals before paring back to let the floor toms set a shuffling beat. The piano and pedal-steel guitars whirl around each other in a lilting melody that produce previously eluded heaviness. But there is an undeniable gravity to her voice, a fascinating candor to the words she chooses and an enticing earnestness to her vocal tone that locks you in immediately to her wavelength. And as we tide toward her first chorus, her voice grows fuller, louder and even deeper – with lyrics that complement this theme of extinguished patience, “…I’ve been pushing these feelings straight down,” she sings, “but they keep bubbling up…”
On “I Guess I Don’t,” Gaietto takes us into her headspace, where she’s toiling to heal the wounds rendered from a toxic or dysfunctional relationship by seeking confirmation of just one simple emotion, from a parent to child: love. And if not love, at least acknowledgement? The conclusion isn’t satisfying when she calls out for this, but there’s something about the simple worded resolve, “ … guess I don’t …” that feels achingly eloquent and even defiant in how it closes the case even if the case has no closure. The standout moment of this song is perhaps its bridge, as Gaietto’s entrancing voice delivers a knockout/breathtaking melodic run of lyric-less exclamation that effectively captures this feeling of a complex catharsis where one is left “… hoping for more.”
Hoping For More features a set of songs written by Gaietto over the course of a decade. The album was recorded with Detroit-based producer and noted string arranger Maurice “Pirahnahead” Herd, beginning in the fall of 2019 and wrapping up in late winter of 2020 before the pandemic hit. Included on these recordings are Gaietto’s bandmates Jonathon Hackett, Will Daniels and Phil Keller, along with contributions from Chris Codish, Steve Stetson and Ron Otis. The sound of these tracks was given an added spectacle and heightened vibe by the mixing of Andy Thompson, who’s worked with everyone from Belle & Sebastian to Taylor Swift.
“I Guess I Don’t” is the first of what Gaietto plans to be a handful of singles released over the course of the winter and early spring before an official album release in May. And you can expect a spectrum of styles and sensibilities, from piano ballads, to propulsive indie rock, to lush orchestral pop. A shining example of the latter is the show-stopping closer, “False Hope,” in which Gaietto categorizes that sometimes necessary delusion as something that’s both “easy to see through” and also “hard to let go.”
Finding poise within that dichotomy is at the essence of Gaietto’s songs. While we hang on and hope for more, the strength comes in keeping composure and endurance — and that’s why these songs have such a power to them.
Photo by Rolando Ybarra