Posts Tagged ‘bible belt’

Diane Birch – Bible Belt
June 2, 2009

I remember that awhile ago, must’ve been last summer, I was catching up on some late night television and while I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on and primarily focusing on other things I had laying around, I suddenly heard something that made me turn my attention back to the screen. I’m not sure what late night show it was, but there was Diane Birch, performing one of her songs and apart from immediately thinking that this act could become a huge star very fast, I found myself captivated by the music.

While I had only heard one song at that point, I could already hear many different influences and clever use of lyrics and metaphors. So after that, I looked up Diane Birch on the internet and the next day I went out and bought her excellent debut album “Bible Belt”. The diversity of Birch’s character and personality reflects in her music and it makes for a record that doesn’t just range in influences, but also shines in subtle variety without giving up the organic flow a good album needs.

For a young artist (Birch is only 27, 26 even when the album was released), she is showing a lot of maturity in her music and is able to target an audience that ranges from 8 – 80. Her ability to write excellent pop songs that lean towards pop, soul, rock, folk, blues and even gospel gives her a lot of range to play with and showcase her music in. For example, take the very catchy Valentino which is an uptempo pop song with nice rhythmic subtleties where Birch shows excellent vocal control, while on a song like Nothing But A Miracle there’s a certain bluesy undertone in the song that gives the song a character boost. Highlights are Ariel, which rivals Billy Joel in his best days, the potentially worldwide radio hit Rewind and the folky/americana-influenced (a la Carole King) Mirror Mirror.

The album focuses more on the songwriting and arrangements than it does on Diane Birch’s vocals are presentation. And while there’s nothing wrong with those on the album, it doesn’t hold the power and intensity that Birch showcases when she is on stage. Her comfortable attitude and ability to easily connect to her audience is remarkable and makes her an all around artist. When you listen to the album, it might not blow you away right the first time you hear it, but when you let the music sink in and you hear the strengths and subtle creativity that went into this record, it is hard to deny that this is a very strong debut.

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Diane Birch @ Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
March 4, 2010

Bitterzoet Logo

My day was already pretty good when I got to Amsterdam. Tried to see if I could get into Bitterzoet early (it was still between 6pm and 7pm) to see if I could talk to the musicians themselves, maybe persuade them into setting up an e-mail interview, but the door was very, very closed. So I decided to come back later and see if I have time afterwards. Made my way to my favorite Irish Pub in Amsterdam to kill some time with Kilkenny’s (no pun intended).

So then I made my way back, door was still very closed, but more people were waiting. As time went by we were wondering if they were ever gonna open the doors, haha, but they did. So everyone got in, found a spot and waited for the show to start. It was supposed to start at 8:30PM but it ended up starting around 9:20PM instead. The stage was really low, so it was hard to see sometimes, but Diane and her band put on a very splendid show. It was done in about 45 minutes and then another 10 minutes for encore. Which wasn’t such a bad thing for me, since I had to make my train to get back home. So unfortunately there was not much time for talking to anyone, but I had a good time.

Diane and her band played most of the songs off “Bible Belt” (an album I would highly recommend to all of you!). For me the highlights were Rewind and Ariel. She also did songs like Fire Escape, Fools, Valentino (crowd favorite), Magic View, Forgiveness and several others. And another absolute highlight was her cover of Haddaway’s What Is Love?. A very, very solid performance by this gifted young lady and her excellent band.

I was very impressed and somewhat surprised by how comfortable she was on stage and the ease with which she connected to her audience. This girl has stage presence and killer vocals. If she’s playing a show near you, you might want to check your calendar, cause it really is worth it. I went in just appreciating her music, but I came home a fan.

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