"DEATH AND REBIRTH, connection and release, overcoming fear with heart. Birds, bones, surrender."
This is how Diane Cluck describes Boneset, her first album in eight years. Known for merging elements of light and dark—combining the sublime with the tragic—this kind of territory is nothing new to the Virginia-based singer/songwriter. "I'm exploring themes that are common for me, but the roots are deeper," Cluck says, "and I'm becoming freer in my voice. Learning what it feels like to be carried rather than pushing."
The freedom of Cluck's voice, and her unconventional ideas of what subjects can be explored in song, are largely what have drawn listeners in. While Cluck is far from a household name, those that do know her work often become feverishly obsessive. Cluck's shows are talked about like they're spiritual experiences, and she's been loudly praised by such indie luminaries as CocoRosie, Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons), and Devendra Banhart. Her music has even been cited as an influence by Sharon Van Etten, Laura Marling, and Florence Welch of (Florence and the Machine). And, up 'til now, all without a proper studio album.
Following six releases of home recordings that have ranged from sparse and tender to noisy and experimental, Boneset marks the first time she's taken her songs into the studio. It's also the first time she's added a collaborator to the process. The album comes out of two years of work with cellist Isabel Castellvi, who will be joining her on the tour in support of the album. "The voice of her instrument adds so much to these songs," says Cluck.
Cluck's Portland show coincides with the official release date for Boneset. Her current tour will keep with her tradition of stunning through intimacy rather than glamour. "I'm functioning in DIY mode and like to keep things simple and positive," she says.
Cluck also keeps any expectations for the show equally simple, adding, "We hold space for you to hang out in if you want it."