by Kevin Burton
The inside photo is the most evocative of the two that come with “Decades of Creation” an album by Alison Trelfa.
That one shows her seated on a porch swing, holding her ukulele and smiling. That picture lets you know you’re at home with Alison Trelfa, who is at home with herself and with her music.
That scene plays out musically in her song “Play That Ukulele” the decidedly sunny first song on the album.
My endorsement of Trelfa, a blind singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough, England, began yesterday on Page 7 (Discovering The Music of Alison Trelfa, Aug. 21) and continues today.
Trelfa dedicates the album to her husband and children. Family is a theme of many of the songs, such as “Miracle” and “Can You Tell Me.” “Kerry’s Song,” is written for a very close friend, which in my book counts as family too.
You can hear the Carpenters influence on just about everything on the album. I wondered out loud on a zoom call last week if Trelfa ever thought about what Karen or Richard would think of her music. Would they like it? Would they cover it?
“I would have been most greatly honored if Karen and Richard had heard any of my songs and thought ‘yeah, that’s worth doing.’” Trelfa said. “I’ve often thought I’d love to give Richard one of my songs and let him loose on it, let him arrange the heck out of it, because he would do a far greater job than I did.”
Trelfa says Decades is doing well, though she of course would like to sell more copies and gain greater exposure.
“It’s doing well in the sense that I’m getting good feedback from those who have heard it,” Trelfa said.
Trelfa said she created the Alison Trelfa Music page on Facebook for “totally selfish reasons,” along those lines, to get her name and music out there. She wanted to let the world see that she could play and sing at the same time, that she wasn’t just studio driven.
But something happened as Covid 19 gripped the world that took it to another level.
“It started to become something else. Trelfa said. “I started to hear people saying ‘You really make a difference in my day. I don’t go out. I don’t see people. I look forward to your songs. I started to hear such personal stories.”
“I started thinking this is bigger than I thought it was going to be.” Trelfa said. That’s why she is so diligent in doing the posts, rarely missing a day.
But there was at least one critic that Trelfa mentioned to me, and I have heard her mention on one of her videos.
Trelfa said she posted a song on a Carpenters site once and one guy was harshly critical.
“I had a gentleman coming back to me and saying ‘you’ve got no talent, you’re not Karen Carpenter and you never will be. And I said ‘whoa, that’s not what I came here for,’” Trelfa said.
I was at first reluctant to mention the Carpenters in writing about Trelfa’s music because I think she has real talent and, because nobody, but nobody comes off good in comparison to Karen Carpenter.
Trelfa was secure and confident enough to dismiss her critic. She knows who she is and what she is doing.
“I am in no way shape or form even going to attempt to fill Karen Carpenter’s boots,” Trelfa said. “That’s not happening.”
Trelfa has fun making her videos and her advice to aspiring musician begins with fun.
“As soon as you start writing your first line you’re a songwriter,” Trelfa said. “Have fun first of all it’s the most important thing.
“You have to enjoy the experience.” Sometimes you have to do lots of different things. Spend as much time getting pleasure out of songwriting as you can,” Trelfa said.
We’ll get more songwriting advice from Trelfa Tuesday on Page 7. You will want to be here for that, and to hear about her next project, scheduled for release in November.
“I feel like I’ve still got an awful lot to learn,” Trelfa said. “I don’t see myself as any further on than anyone who is just starting.”
That is great to hear from an artist. It lets you know that burgeoning talent isn’t always accompanied by raging ego.
Let’s not kid ourselves though, Trelfa is probably beyond you musically dear reader and she is most assuredly beyond me.
To quote from my favorite Trelfa song, “I am just a planet, orbiting a star.”