I listen to a lot of music, but, it is rare for me to find someone who is truly a rare bird.
Diane Birch is that fresh new voice whose debut album “Bible Belt” just came out this month.
Diane is in her mid-twenties, but she truly sounds like an old soul.
As I listened to her cd, so many of my favorite women singers came to mind: The Indigo Girls, The Dixie Chicks, Aretha Franklin, Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Adele, Laura Nyro, Ricki Lee Jones, even Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday.
I truly questioned how someone could remind me of all these stellar women and yet be completely her own person, yet that is the paradox and the joy of Diane Birch.
Diane’s music has an eclectic feel and seems to encompass all sides of her personality and musical loves. Her life has covered a lot of ground thus far as well. She was born in Michigan, but spent her childhood traveling between Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia before her family settled in Oregon.
Her father was a preacher, and, in some ways, Diane rebelled against the constraints that this placed on her. And, yet, what’s fascinating is that after all that rebellion, a lot of her early influences are part of her music now as she is inspired by church hymns and sings about angels, heaven and forgiveness.
Now, imagine taking blues, classic rock, du wop, and combining them with jazz and gospel and you’ll have a hint of what Diane’s music is about.
She’s also a brilliant piano player.
The cd opens with one of my favorites, “Fire Escape”. It’s a soulful sultry song about love and loss.
Diane’s music is the type that slowly saunters in wearing an unlikely hat. It beckons to you, seduces you, slowly charms you and soon you find yourself dancing in a familiar dream.
Her music speaks of heartbreak, of finding oneself, of life’s experiences – but even through the tears, it soars. Her music does not drag but instead finds wings, upbeat grooves to carry it. Another favorite, “Rise Up” is inspiring.
I have gotten so tired of people trying to be trendy, of musical fads that come and go, of formulaic overproduced pop. And, for me, Diane Birch is the antidote.
She writes all of her own songs and is a gifted musician in the true sense of the word. She is fresh and new, yet her music hearkens back to the 60’s and 70’s. In short, her music is timeless, which to me, is the very best thing to be.
I can’t really give it enough stars, but, I can say, give it a listen.
I really think you’ll love it.
Another favorite of mine is “Rewind”, about how you wish you could just
go back and press start again, but, you know you can’t.
“Valentino” has rhythms which, for me, are reminiscent of “Iko Iko”,
a popular New Orleans folk tune, covered by the Dixie Cups.
Honestly, there is not a song on this cd I don’t like.
“Bible Belt” was recorded in NYC and New Orleans with the same producers who collaborated on Joss Stone’s first albums. Diane is working with the best and it shows.
Diane Birch’s voice is heartfelt, full of soul, and completely fearless –
powerful, yet nuanced.
Her music is that of a true artist who needs to create to fulfill their
vision and their passion.
Sometimes you have to “sing the blues” – and sometimes the blues just have to sing, dance, and soar beyond the sky.
This is the magic of Diane Birch.
Check her out at Amazon, iTunes, and on her myspace page where she calls herself: ‘That Piano Girl’.