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Archive for August, 2009

Diane Birch at Stubb’s

Austin, Texas, August 8, 2009.

Diance Birch live at Stubb's, August 2009, photo by Laura Lea Nalle

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Diane Birch’s performance at Stubb’s this past Sunday as I was not familiar with her music, and I hadn’t yet done much research.  I arrive a little early to find the venue full of very enthusiastic fans awaiting her performance.  I learn from some of them that Birch is the daughter of a preacher man, she listens only to vinyl records, and many folks discovered her when she opened for James Morrison.  As soon as Birch takes the stage and begins the first song, I know I am witnessing a special talent.  Birch sits behind an old Rhodes, her chair stacked tall with newspapers to make it the right height, belting her lyrics with a confidence and possession that belies her young age.  Her band is tight and clearly enjoys the music, and the crowd is right there with them.  Birch’s style is indeed evocative of classic rock and soul singers of the highest caliber, and she brings strong elements of gospel, funk, and folk to her music as well.  People have rightfully drawn comparisons to Karen Carpenter, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and others.  Many aspects of her music are a throwback to classic rock and soul while still maintaining its own unique sound that has its place in today’s popular music catalog.  She and her band achieve an effortless and authentic analog sound that makes plenty of references to vintage soul while also making their own unique contribution. After an hour set, the band comes back on stage for a two-song encore, one of which is a fantastically energetic arrangement of Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels.”  After the show, Birch and her band stand outside to sign copies of her debut cd Bible Belt.  It’s a testament to the magnetism of her talent that 98% of the audience waited in line to buy their own copy and have the chance to meet her.  I left the show a new fan, and I will definitely keep track of her work in the future and make a point to see her perform next time she passes through town.

written and photographed by Laura Lea Nalle, all rights reserved


M. Ward at Antone’s

M. Ward live at Antone's, Austin Texas, August 2009, photo by Laura Lea NalleM. Ward live at Antone's, Austin Texas, August 2009, photo by Laura Lea Nalle

See more of Laura Lea’s full gallery of M. Ward photos here.