Alice Peacock Is Back to Making Music

Lee Zimmerman

When you’re in the music business — or any aspect of the entertainment arena for that matter — stepping out of the spotlight puts you in a precarious position. The public’s memory is short, and any absence, no matter how brief, all but guarantees you’ll be quickly forgotten. That old adage comes to mind — out of sight, out of mind.

For an artist like Alice Peacock, the decision was especially risky. Her career included five albums, a hit single (“Bliss,” recorded with John Mayer), and songs featured in any number of high profile television shows and motion pictures — “Because of Winn Dixie,” “Men In Trees,” “The Ghost Whisperer,” “What I Like About You,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Smallville,” among them. She toured with John Mellencamp, Aimee Mann, Toad The Wet Sprocket and Heart, and made frequent appearances on radio and TV, including a well regarded guest spot on “A Prairie Home Companion.” A socially conscious artist, she served as a trustee of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the same group that oversees the Grammys) and past President of the academy’s Midwest Chapter. A founder of Rock for Reading, an Illinois non-profit organization, she helped raise awareness and resources for reading and literacy programs in the schools.

Still, fans could forgive her for stepping back. After all, her reason for a respite was simple. She decided it was time to devote herself to her young family, and with three young children including twins, she literally had her hands full.

“Your brain tends to get sucked out of your body when you have kids,” she jokes before turning serious. “For me, it was a matter of priorities. I had to cut back on my music to focus on my children. I didn’t want to miss out of the chance to see them grow up and experience life for the first time. Honestly, sometimes it was like the wild, wild west, but I felt it was important to be off the road and there for them and I’m glad I was.”

Yet, just as she was willing to turn one page and put her career on hold, she’s now ready to open another chapter and resume her creative journey. She has several songs already written and slated for a new album, and in the meantime, she’s excited to hit the road. “I’m enjoying reconnecting with my fans,” she says and I’m open to exploring all opportunities. I literally feel like the sky’s the limit.”

While Alice has always seen herself mainly as a folk artist, she’s also eager to seek out new areas as well. She wants to pursue the possibilities of developing her piano prowess, given a newfound interest in New Orleans style jazz and blues.

“The shackles are off,” Alice declares. “I want to learn new skills and put different tools in my toolbox.”

First. however, she’s ready to pick up from where she left off before. In a real sense, that shouldn’t be difficult. She has plenty of songwriters to collaborate with before a planned return to the studio. Having penned some 20 songs so far, she also has several prospective individuals she’s eyeing as a producer.

“I have such a rich home life, so maybe I’ll write a bunch of sappy songs,” she chuckles. “I’m ready to do my thing; whatever that is. Some of the new songs may be jazzier than before, but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing intuitively. There have been lots of exciting changes in the music scene since I’ve been gone, especially in the Americana genre where boundaries don’t really exist, and I want to be a part of them going forward.”

Alice admits that she will need to find her way, but she’s not worried. “I’m into performing more than ever,” she insists. “It’s great to be able to share my music, have people show up and allow me to connect with them. I’ve always enjoyed that part of the process. It’s so much fun! Then again, it’s just good to get out of the house.”

Benjamin Woods