Arielle Silver had a successful music career when she just up and quit 10 years ago.
After years of regional tours, and then a six-month national tour with her trio in support of her third album, she put away her guitar, moved to Los Angeles and landed a behind-the-scenes job in the music business.
After hours, she studied and taught yoga philosophy, won awards for her literary writing, got divorced, got married and performed at SoCal world music festivals as a background singer and instrumentalist.
But her own music came calling.
“The reason I quit and came back both came from a really deep place inside me,” Silver said. “When I stopped playing I couldn’t do it anymore. I had done it my whole life. It was the life force for me. It was just something I needed to do and loved to do until I didn’t.”
One day she woke up from a “crazy dream” and it inspired her to do something she never considered.
“It compelled me to go in the backyard and clear a space,” she said. “I didn’t know I was going to build a shed in which to write songs. I just suddenly felt I needed to clean the backyard and get back to something elemental, I guess.”
As soon as she built the shed—six weeks later—she started writing songs again.
“I was feeling my gut instinct,” she said. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.”
Despite 10 years off, when Silver launched a spring 2019 crowd-funding campaign, she raised over $26,000 to record a new indie folk Americana album, “A Thousand Tiny Torches.” The title comes from a lyric on the album.
The songs—about fireflies, wildfires and shining a light into the darkness—are slated for release in July.
Produced by Shane Alexander, the project was recorded by Michael Gehring at Secret World Studios in the legendary Sound City complex in Los Angeles. It’s being mixed by Grammy winner Brian Yaskulka (Lisa Loeb) and mastered by Grammy winner Hans DeKline (U2). The album features drummer Denny Weston Jr. (KT Tunstall), keyboardist Carl Byron (Rita Coolidge), bassist Darby Orr (Naked to the World), steel guitarist Jesse Siebenberg (Lady Gaga, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real) and mandolinist Mike Mullins (David Grisman).
The first single is “What Really Matters,” which hit streaming services on February 28. The song was inspired by the November 2018 shootings at the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, and the Woolsey and Hill fires. The events made her think about what really matters most.
“‘What Really Matters’ emerged from my process of challenging myself to write a song a week,” Silver added.
“All of California looked like it was on fire. A lot of people lost their homes. Thousands were evacuated. The sky was dark and ashy. That week, I wrote two songs. One was ‘What Really Matters.’ We have our personal tragedies in our lives, and then there are these cultural tragedies or local tragedies that are public. It’s terrible.”
The second single, “Headlights,” is due out this month.
Silver’s songs have been licensed internationally for film/TV. She has performed at venues around the country, including Club Passim, 12th and Porter, and Eddie’s Attic, with many of her favorite songwriters, including America, Elizabeth & the Catapult, Kris Delmhorst, St. Vincent, Jay Nash, Rebecca Loebe and Chris Pierce.
Also an essayist and poet, Silver’s literary work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets, and has appeared in Matador Review, Moment, Lilith Magazine, Under The Gum Tree, Brevity and Jet Fuel Review.
Silver said she can’t wait until the COVID-19 crisis is over so she can hit the road again.
“I want to head back east to Boston to play a few shows in July,” she said. “I just restarted my career, but I’m simultaneously making long-term and mid-term plans. I’m building the house as I’m living in it.
“I’m just enjoying living in California. There are so many great songwriters here. It’s been fun digging into person by person learning about new venues, acoustic music listening rooms, and events happening in wineries and hotel lobbies. It’s different than what I experience in the first go at this career.”