Hail To The Rad Kids

Singer-songwriter Alice Limoges: Older, wiser and still cranking out the tunes

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 9:15am

    LINCOLNVILLE—If the name Alice Limoges is familiar, it’s probably because you heard about her when she was a teenager in the Midcoast, playing coffeehouses, festivals and other venues. She’s 19 now, on her second album, and that initial drive to stretch her wings through writing and composing original songs has matured. If anything, her skill set has broadened.

    Limoges’ initial drive intensified in high school, when she ended up completing her entire high school course load by her junior year. Rather than graduate a year early, she took college level classes in music at UMaine at Augusta so she could graduate with her original class last year.

    Although she was accepted into Berklee School of Music and New York University, she chose to attend college at SUNY Purchase to study music. “Of all the programs, the SUNY Purchase program is so much smaller and more one-on-one. I know all of my professors personally and can ask their advice because right now I’m working on making and releasing my second album,” she said.

    But let’s back up to how she started her music career.

    “I was 11 when my middle school teacher wanted us to pick up either guitar or the bongos and since my brother played guitar, I wanted to learn it too,” she said. “That just got me started. In the beginning, I started writing my own songs.”

    When a lot of girls her age were listening to Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana, Limoges’ guitar teacher Martin Gibson got her hooked on 1930s jazz, broadening her knowledge with singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Billie Holiday, and Bessie Smith.

    The first song she wrote, she laughs about now.

    “It was called ‘Forgotten.’ It was a really melodramatic song about horses and how one horse’s barn burned down. The same four chords over and over for three minutes.”

    As her songwriting developed, her style began to emerge in high school. In 2011, she created and released her first album in high school titled Not Gonna Fall Asleep Tonight. She released it both online and through printed CDs. “That definitely helped me become a better musician.”  The Portland Press Herald gave it a very good review.: “Rich voice and unpretentious lyrics create stellar results for 16 year-old [Alice Limoges].”

    All of this experience has led to her next venture, a new album of between 10 and 22 tracks that she has written but has yet to record. She plans on titling the new album As Close As I Can Be Without Touching. With the help of a crowd-sourcing campaign on Indiegogo, so far she she has raised more than 50 percent to finance it. Beyond that, Limoges has assembled her band (young adults from New York and Maine) and booked a series of live concerts with them from New York to Maine later this summer.  To book the tour first, before professionally recording the album, is a move that seems out of place until you see the brilliant reasoning behind it.

    “With music, it’s about what kind of momentum you’ve got going to get vendors interested,” she said. “I’m using this experience as my testing period if I do continue this as a career. With the shows, we’ll play a range of the songs, including the ones I have in mind for the album and if we get a bigger response, say on one of the songs, or less on another, we’ll use that feedback to decide what to include on the album. They’re songs I’ve been writing for the past two years and really influenced in jazz and folk, which is really my background. We’re going to orchestrate it with flute, French Horn, violins, viola and cello.”

    She grew up in the Midcoast and says that many of her songs reflect the natural beauty of the coast and the ocean. One of her songs featured in this accompanying video to the article is the title track. “There’s one line. ‘I try to be fine but water left on high will boil over.’ This has a lot of allusions to the ocean. I think this album is a little darker than my first one.”

    By the time she starts her second year at college, Limoges will have the title of singer-songwriter, band manager, booking agent, accountant and marketing director as part of her self-driven experiences, even before the new album comes out. Not bad for a 19 year-old. This won’t be the last we hear of Limoges or her music, which is why she’s considered one of the Rad Kids.

    To get a free download of some of her music and to find out where Limoges will be performing in Maine in early fall, visit her website: alicelimoges.com as well as her Indiegogo page. Their first Midcoast concert will be on August 7 Camden Library Amphitheater at 7 p.m.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com