Sunday, May 23, 2010
Nothing but a miracle
Last night is likely the closest I will ever come to seeing Joni Mitchell live in concert. Or Carole King. Or Laura Nyro. As my musical heroines have mostly given up touring (or in Nyro's case, passed on to angelic choirs of the great beyond), I gladly turn to a new generation of musical genius. I had the good fortune of seeing Diane Birch at Park West last in a surprisingly intimate show (I think there were about 100 of us in the audience) and she completely blew me away. I even got to meet her after the show, and she is both clever and gracious in the way you hope your musical idols will be:
I have been in love with her debut album Bible Belt since it came out last October. From the minute I heard the first notes, I was transported to a golden era where soul music and a folk-based, singer-songwriter genre intermingled. Or to quote my friend Emily, who attended the show with me last night, "It's such a throwback sound, but it's vintage in a way that's never been done before."
Even more reason to love her? She's a favorite of Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates). Check out this full ep of Live from Daryl's House featuring Birch. (They mostly cover songs from Birch's album, but throw in a great rendition of Hall & Oates' "Fall in Philadelphia" and a transcendent version of a forgotten Aretha Franklin gem, "Daydreamin'":
The video for her single "Valentino" is adorably clever as well:
Above all is just the sheer power of the music, at turns soulful, rollicking and contemplative. Last night, she opened with a rocking version of "Choo Choo" and played through the entire album with so much passion that we were left somewhat dumbfounded. There was even a soulful, extended cover of Hall and Oates' "Rich Girl"... pure heaven. (And that gorgeous white Rhodes keyboard throughout the whole show was pitch-perfect!) If you get the chance to see her live, do yourself the favor. Top 10 show.