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Creating art through grief: Singer/songwriter dedicates a new album to her late father

Singer and songwriter Alie Byland turned the pain and sorrow she felt from the loss of her father into songs of strength and inspiration.

The result is the 10-song album “Desert Days” by the band she fronts, Byland. An album release and listening party of Byland’s debut album will be held on Saturday, April 28, at Sidetrack Brewing Company. A viewing of the video for the song “Albuquerque” on the album also will be part of the event.

“Honestly, this whole album is creating art through grief,” she said. “I am hoping this inspires other people who have gone through pain and grief. I’m hoping that this will help heal them and find their own healing through music or whatever creative outlet they choose.”

Byland’s father is no stranger to the Albuquerque community. Gerald Martinez was a pastor in the Duke City who was deeply involved in giving back to the city he loved. So much so that the Martinez family’s home was transformed by the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in 2008.

“After my dad died in 2012, which this album is dedicated to him, after he died, we went to the Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, my family and I,” Byland said. “It makes me cry thinking about how much it helped us. We were really messed up after that and they were just there to walk us through it.”

A portion of the beer and merchandise sales during Saturday’s event will benefit the grief center.

“They just really impacted my whole family so I just wanted to give back to them because they gave so much to me and they give so much to Albuquerque in general,” Byland said.

Alie Byland is an Albuquerque native who currently lives with her husband Jake Byland in Seattle. Jake Byland co-wrote some of the songs and mixed the entire new album in the couple’s tiny studio located inside a closet in their home. Alie Byland sings, as well as plays piano, guitar and uses digital percussion on the new album, which took five years to complete. The long process was due to financial constraints, as well as it taking an emotional toll on Alie Byland.

“I found this old voicemail from my dad and what’s funny is I really struggled with this one and I ended up taking all words out of it and I just added his voicemail to it and it was just meant to be,” she said. “It’s the last song on the album and he’s just talking to me, and the last words he says is ‘my heart is missing you’ and then the album is done. I totally feel he is here. You know he was extremely proud to be from Albuquerque and extremely proud to be New Mexican. I think he would really like this album.”