The latest album from Australian singer/songwriter Grace Cummings, Ramona is a work of raw truth rendered in its most beautiful form. In a departure from the self-produced approach of her 2019 debut Refuge Cove and its 2022 follow-up Storm Queen, the Melbourne-based artist worked with producer Jonathan Wilson (Angel Olsen, Father John Misty, Margo Price) and dreamed up a lavishly orchestrated sound that fully accommodates the depth and scope of her vocal prowess. With its visceral reflection on grief, self-destruction and emotional violence, Ramona brings a stunning new grandeur to Cummings’ music while refusing to soften or temper its humanity.
“In the past I’ve been caught up in worrying about whether I’m being too emotional or over-the-top, but this time around I decided not to filter any of that out,” says Cummings. “My only intention was to be myself, which meant being extremely vulnerable in my writing and my vocal performance, without going back and editing myself later on. It reaffirmed for me that being completely yourself is really the only way to offer the world something that it doesn’t already have.”
Recorded at Wilson’s Fivestar Studios in Topanga Canyon, Ramona came to life in collaboration with a stacked lineup of musicians that includes harpist Mary Lattimore and string arranger/multi-instrumentalist Drew Erickson (Weyes Blood, Mitski, Lana Del Rey). “I wanted everything and the kitchen sink on this record, to make it as big and dramatic as possible and show a whole range of colors,” says Cummings. “Jonathan and all the other musicians are so incredibly good at what they do, and so considered in their approach, but there was also a sense of fun and lightness in the studio that allowed me to be myself.” Featuring Cummings on guitar and piano and Wilson on guitar, drums, banjo, and organ, Ramona ultimately serves as a dazzling showcase for the voice once hailed by The Guardian as “powerful enough to pound granite into dust.”

Angel Olsen recently visited Wilson’s studio and was floored by Cummings’ new album. “It felt like the wind of a hurricane entered the room,” Olsen recounted. “I remember feeling so activated and surprised by Grace’s vocal capacity that I actually felt my body brace itself against the wall.”

Also an accomplished stage actor, Cummings imbues all of Ramona with an unbridled theatricality. All throughout the album, Cummings inhabits every emotional state with a potency and passion that invites total surrender from the listener.
“A lot of the time the only way for me to process what’s happening in my life is to write about it,” she says. “So it’s a deeply personal record. But I hope that people come away from this album feeling like the songs were written just for them. Because they were, in a way. Watching the deeply personal evolve into something that’s shared by so many different people makes me feel less lonely in this world.”

Release: April 5th, 2024, Sugar Mountain Records