|Diane Birch — Speak a Little Louder [Deluxe Edition] (2013)|
Diane Birch — Speak a Little Louder [Deluxe Edition]
♥ Keyboardist/singer/songwriter who soaked up a multitude of musical influences before her 2009 debut. In addition to keyboards, Birch also plays guitar and the violin.
Born: January 24, 1983 in Michigan
Location: Portland, OR ~ Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sydney, Australia. ~ Brooklyn, NY
Album release: October 15, 2013
Record Label: S-Curve Records
01. Speak A Little Louder 3:46
02. Lighthouse 3:56
03. All The Love You Got 3:52
04. Tell Me Tomorrow 3:44
05. Superstars 4:52
06. Pretty In Pain 3:45
07. Love & War 3:58
08. Frozen Over 3:12
09. Diamonds In The Dust 4:36
10. UNFKD 4:13
11. It Plays On 5:47
12. Walk The Rainbow To The End 4:17
13. Adelaide 4:07
14. Staring At You 5:23
15. Hold On A Little Longer 4:04
16. Truer Than Blue 4:01
Chris Allen Engineer
Andy Baldwin Engineer, Mixing
Mike Barron Guitar
Bing Ji Ling Guitar
Diane Birch Composer, Keyboards, Liner Notes, Organ, Piano, Producer, Tambourine, Vocal Arrangement, Vocals
Thomas Brenneck Guitar
Cathy Dennis Composer
Margo Ducharme Creative Director, Photography
Tom Elmhirst Mixing
James Farkas Guitar
Steve Greenberg Producer
Steve Greenwell Engineer, Mixing
Jean-Philip Grobler Additional Production, Guitar (12 String), Synthesizer
Matt Hales Composer, Mixing, Musician, Producer
Jimmy Harry Additional Production, Composer
Drew Heffron Design
Tomek Miernowski Engineer, Guitar, Mixing
Angelo Morris Bass
Nick Movshon Bass
Luke O'Malley Guitar
S. Vaughan Merrick Engineer, Mixing
Sheldon Steiger Associate Producer, Engineer
Homer Steinweiss Bass, Composer, Drums, Engineer, Guitar, Producer
Phil Tan Mixing
John Taylor Bass
Ahmir Thompson Drums, Producer
Eg White Composer, Guitar, Keyboards, Producer
Mark Williams Guitar
Betty Wright Composer
Barrett Yeretsian Composer
♥ Writing both alone and with acclaimed Dap Kings-drummer-turned-producer, Homer Steinweiss on much of this new record, together with Aqualung s Matt Hales (Lianne La Havas, Paloma Faith) and Eg White (of Adele fame), this new collection of songs mark a distinct progression for Diane Birch. Throughout this new record, she lays bare the emotional rollercoaster of her life over the past couple of years; coping with heartbreak at the end of a long-lasting relationship, the pain of losing her father to cancer, and her dance with the light and dark of self on the road to womanhood.
♥ Though only in her late-twenties, 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. With hook-driven songs, Birch mixes piano-playing virtuosity with easy-going soul, and 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 70 s Karen Carpenter (when she was ruling the charts), while effortlessly incorporating New Orleans second-line rhythms, gospel fervor, doo-wop harmonies, country-blues guitar and classic AM radio-style melodies.
♥ Soft pac with fold out liner notes and credits.
Review by Thom Jurek; Rating: ***½
♥ Speak a Little Louder, Diane Birch‘s follow-up to her audacious debut Bible Belt in May 19, 2009, features heavyweight talent in the production department. Steve Greenberg is back, but it’s Homer Steinweiss helming most of the session, with contributions from E.G. White, ?uestlove, and Matt Hales.
♥ It´s 11 songs, recorded at seven different studios, are much more polished; her piano and keyboards are adorned by big, natural-sounding drums, humming basslines, and enough guitar to build a stable, dynamic foundation for her voice in a warm, amniotic mix. Birch is an unapologetic pop classicist. The influences of Elton John’s melodic sensibility and Stevie Nicks’ voice — in both timbre and phrasing — are ever-present. The long shadow of ’70s radio pop on Speak a Little Louder is a statement of defiance rather than one of nostalgia. On the title track/opener, drums are mixed in tandem with the lead vocal. Her hook is tight and alluring in its nod to John circa Tumbleweed Connection. Its fat, minimal bassline, pianos, and synths around her multi-layered backing vocals (all Birch) provide real drama. The enormous rolling tom-toms on “Lighthouse” recall Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” though the twist in the melody is less strident, more subtle; the arrangement for the mellifluous backing chorus is stellar. “Pretty in Pain” is one of the many places where this team uses Lindsey Buckingham’s production aesthetic to get maximum emotional effect. It frames a midtempo, souled-out rocker that recalls Carole King on Thoroughbred. “Love and War” contains funky rhythms and a string orchestration that suggests Betty Wright. “Frozen Over” combines a soulful hook with an anthemic backing chorus — that and a wonderfully complex bridge worthy of Laura Nyro. Set-closer “It Plays On” is the album’s most emotionally resonant cut. Its subjects are loss, grief, and acceptance. Birch’s piano is its dominant instrument, and it combines with Nicks’ sense of balladry and a transcendent, gospel-styled backing chorus. Though the singer is at her most vulnerable, there remains a steely determination in the grain of her voice that is buoyed by the choir. This album isn’t perfect. Birch’s weakness remains her lyrics — though in fairness, they too have matured since Bible Belt. They continue to sacrifice emotional depth in favor of rhyme in various places. On Speak a Little Louder, Birch does, showcasing her developing talent in (mostly) fine songs that place her in a lineage where sophisticated melodies, nuanced production, and skilled arrangements make for memorable music.
Artist Biography by Andrew Leahey
♥ Bible Belt: Diane Birch made her studio debut with 2009's Bible Belt, a combination of singer/songwriter soul and soft '70s-era pop in the vein of Carole King, Laura Nyro, and Elton John. Although born in Michigan, Birch traveled the globe as a child, bouncing between Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia, and Oregon with her preacher father. Her musical influences proved to be as diverse as her upbringing, and the Suzuki-trained pianist eventually moved to Los Angeles, where she began distilling her love for Motown, blues, and old-fashioned pop into a uniquely retro sound. After honing her chops in England, Birch returned to America and signed with S-Curve Records. Bible Belt, which featured cameos from members of Galactic, the Roots, and the Jive Five, was released in May 2009. The album — from which four singles were released in 2010 — was well received and afforded her the chance to tour extensively. ♥ In 2011, she recorded the benefit single "Wind Up Bird Song (For Japan)" as a digital download; its proceeds went to assist with relief efforts after the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown. In early 2013, British rapper Devlin covered her song "Rewind"; Birch appeared in the backing chorus. Her sophomore effort, Speak a Little Louder, was released in the fall of 2013.
Agent: John Pleeter at ICM, JPleeter@icmtalent.com (US) / Paul Franklin at CAA, PFranklin@CAA.com (Outside the US)
I initially thought I wouldn’t share this personal news with my followers, but as I started thinking about, it I realized that you all have become a part of my extended family and as i’m already an open book, I may as well not stop now.
♥ So, I have recently received the heartbreaking news that my beloved Father, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It’s been overwhelming for me to handle. Every day is a new shade of grey with a new set of emotions to tackle.. But I am SO blessed with the most loving family & most incredible mom who are all fighting to bring him back to health despite the odds. Nothing but a miracle, but I believe in miracles and the power of God, Love, the strength of the human spirit and the incredible gifts that nature and research has provided us for healing.
♥ I have now joined the cancer community and even after 2 wks of endless research, hours and hours of reading testimonials, hearing unbelievable recovery stories etc, I’m committed to being a part of this network and doing whatever I can to share in this struggle with my dad and everyone affected by this horrific disease.
♥ Somehow, I have also been finding myself impressed with a profound amount of gratitude for the things great and small that i’ve so often taken for granted. I’ve spent a lot of time, over the last few years especially, fighting off the moans of creative frustration, HEARTBREAK, depression, anxiety, day to day dramas, music business nonsense, and whatever else can be fueled by too much attention and spiritual unrest. ♥ BUT, as I sit here now in an impending darkness far greater than all those emotions combined, I’m humbled by defeat and forced to open my eyes and heart. For every moment that I have hope and health and love and family and friends and air and lights, food, bottled fucking water, rain on my window, a bed, a record deal, a band, songs, a voice, 10 fingers 10 toes, hands, strength and music and art and WILL and beautiful people who actually listen to what I make, for every glimmer of everything and so much more….I am truly THANKFUL. You just never know when something could be taken away.
♥ Please keep my precious Dad in your thoughts and prayers. He is the purest, kindest and most honorable human being I’ve ever known. Somehow I got lucky enough to be his daughter. DIANE BIRCH ♦
|Diane Birch — Speak a Little Louder [Deluxe Edition] (2013)|