New York-based singer/songwriter Diane Birch may only be in her mid-twenties, but there's an "old soul" quality to her debut album Bible Belt, a soulful, playful touch that's more Laura Nyro, Elton John and Carole King than any number of the young, contemporary piano-women baring their tortured, Tori Amos-stoked souls. Fortunately, Birch's old-school influences are simply touchstones for her own prodigious talent. Critics have been falling over themselves with "time machine" comparisons and yes, the organic Bible Belt really does sound like it could have been recorded in the 70's. But to restrict Birch to moth ball Tapestry revivalist is to miss the point. At the core of Birch's success is the ability to write great songs and perform them with inherent soul, intelligence and passion. That stuff, needless to say, never goes out of style.
Bouncy new single "Valentino" is shuffling, syncopated slice of pure singalong pop bliss, Birch's piano chords playing off a New Orleans beat with her fluttering sandpaper vocals adding a flirtatious wink. Included on the soundtrack to the forthcoming Valentines Day, "Valentino" just might get the attention it deserves. We're also particularly fond of "Magic View", a gorgeous, string-backed ballad that is blessed with a melody that makes you think you've discovered some amazing lost song from some past parallel universe. Enthralling with a small "e", Birch make Bible Belt sound deceptively easy with an astonishing range of both songwriting finesse and charismatic panache. If you haven't discovered it yet -- do so...now. Videos after the jump...
Diane Birch - "Valentino" (from the album Bible Belt)
Diane Birch - "Magic View" (from the album Bible Belt)
For a special treat, watch Diane perform with Daryl Hall and band on a memorable episode of "Live From Daryl's House" here.
Photo Credits: Jeremiah Wilson