Thursday, June 11, 2009

Diane Birch: Fire Escape

I was excited to receive my copy of Diane Birch's debut album Bible Belt from the lovely women over at the One2One Network earlier this week. I hadn't heard much about her myself, but the free single I found online got me interested. As did this snippet from her biography:

For singer-songwriter Diane Birch, music was a refuge. Although Diane was born in Michigan, her childhood was spent on the move as the daughter of a preacher, living between Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia, before her parents finally settled in Portland, Oregon. When she was in her early teens, Diane absorbed a unique and cosmopolitan perspective on life that shines through her music and makes a simple categorization of it impossible.

Unfortunately, my dad had read a lot of buzz about Diane Birch, and he had heard the free mp3 of Fire Escape himself. So, he snagged the CD out of my hands the moment it arrived to give it a listen or two (or five) himself.

When I finally got Bible Belt to myself, I was quite surprised with the tracks. I must have listened to it a half-dozen times before I sat down to write this review -- while working, while playing Zuma, while checking my email. It works just as well to actively listen (did I mention that I love her lyrics?) as to put on for some interesting background music.

There's a nice mix of upbeat and slower tunes, and Birch's voice is beautiful throughout. The music isn't dated, by any means, but there's something about Birch's voice that reminded me of singers from decades past. In fact, I think Vanity Fair hit the nail on the head when they wrote, "she pays tribute to the classics too -- Motown, Delta Blues, old-fashioned pop -- without sounding musty."

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed all thirteen songs on Bible Belt, although my stand-out favorites were Fools, Rise Up, and Mirror Mirror.

Interested? If you are, you can check out Bible Belt and support a great cause, at the same time. As you can see from the widget below, your purchase could benefit Autism Speaks. Or, if you go to the Discover & Donate page, you can get a button to benefit another charity, including Susan G. Komen for the Cure or the March of Dimes.

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