You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your ReverbNation experience.
Alyssa Carlson was 5 when the voice first spoke to her. To keep her occupied while he worked in the family garage, her father popped in a cassette tape and pushed play. The voice that emerged was that of fellow Minnesota native Bob Dylan, singing “My Back Pages.” “From the first note, I whipped my head around, sat on the floor and stared at the stereo,” she remembers. “There was something in his voice—the yearning, the desperation, the longing. That was the day I decided I wanted to be a songwriter.” Carlson’s deep connection to music was certainly forged during her upbringing in Minneapolis. As a teen she turned to songwriting as a refuge. “I knew that at the end of the day, I could go home and my guitar would be waiting for me,” she remembers. “Music didn't judge me, it didn't care that I didn't have any friends, that I got beat up, or what I looked like. It was always there for me.”
Carlson left her hometown in January 2005 for Nashville, where she had earned an internship at the Country Music Hall of Fame. She was fascinated by the richness and diversity of Nashville’s creative community. When the time was right to make her first album, she didn’t have far to look for her ideal producer. She sent an e-mail to Nashville-based Neilson Hubbard (Glen Phillips, Kim Richey, Matthew Perryman Jones), whose work she had long admired, and the two met for coffee. “The moment Neilson walked in,” she says, “I knew he was going to be my producer. He knew exactly the sound I was going for.” This Side of Innocence came together across three weeks at Hubbard’s studio. They were joined by a team of top-flight musicians including guitarist Kris Donegan, drummer Kirk Yoquelet and vocalists Alice Peacock and Mando Saenz. The Greencards’ Eamon McLaughlin supplied string arrangements on several songs. There are pieces of all these musicians on the recording, but it remains Carlson’s own very personal vision. “I am proud of this album,” she declares. “I did it my way, on my terms.”