Diane Birch: Bible Belt CD 2009 Rock/POP
2009 debut album from the singer/songwriter. Though only in her mid-20s, Birch likes to think of herself as an 'old soul', and, indeed, there is a startling maturity in her singing and a veteran's self-assurance in her writing. Birch mixes piano-playing virtuosity with easy-going Soul, and she can strike an uplifting groove on even the most melancholy tune. Her work bears hints of Laura Nyro (when she was hanging out with LaBelle) and early '70s Karen Carpenter, while effortlessly incorporating New Orleans second-line rhythms, Gospel fervor, Doo Wop harmonies, Country-Blues guitar and classic AM radio-style melodies.
Among the players accompanying Birch on the album are guitarist Lenny Kaye of The Patti Smith Group, bassists Adam Blackstone from The Roots, and George Porter of The Meters, acclaimed drummers Stanton Moore of Galactic and Cindy Blackman of Lenny Kravitz fame, saxophonist-about-town Lenny Pickett, and trombonist Tom Bones Malone, along with veteran singer Eugene Pitt, lead vocalist of fabled Brooklyn vocal group, the Jive Five.
|4||Nothing But a Miracle|
|8||Don't Wait Up|
With its white suburban soul and pleasant, midtempo pop, Diane Birch s debut sounds like a relic from the 70s singer/songwriter era. Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King are obvious touchstones here, and the twentysomething Birch (who wasn t born until the mid- 80s) approximates their vintage flair by aligning herself with the likes of R&B singer Betty Wright and producer Steve Greenberg, both of whom helped launch Joss Stone s career several years prior. While Stone s debut focused on the sheer power of her vocals, however, Bible Belt functions instead as a showcase for Birch s songwriting. She pens every song here -- a marked difference from Stone, who performed cover songs on her own debut -- and sings them with understated grace, adding a touch of grit to the sustained high notes of Fire Escape and some coffeehouse sass to the sprightly Valentino. Few rookie songwriters play to their strengths this well, and that s the charm of this record, which doesn t blow your socks off as much as whet your appetite to fill your glass, recline your chair, and enjoy the record from start to finish. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi
|Rock / Pop|
|2 June 2009|
|EXPLICIT VERSION ~ Discs:1|
|Umgd/S-Curve Records ( ESCV )|