You know the first time you hear an artist who grabs your ear and your heart? Who suspends everything else for a moment, and forces you to sit, listen, and absorb? I treasure those musical discoveries, especially because the older I get, the more it takes to sucker punch me and steal my breath.
Diane Birch’s debut, “Bible Belt”, (release date June 2nd) does just that. By turns swaggering, soulful, and sweet, it packs a wallop of authenticity, coupled with talent, that makes it really stand out in my daily rotation of music.
I first saw Diane play live in NYC this winter, in a tiny venue on a snowy night. I’d heard a few MP3s, and I knew she was gifted. But I didn’t know she would flip between her Wurlitzer organ and the piano, clearly at home with both, while belting out songs with a command and artistry that, quite simply, said she had serious chops. Backed by her tight band, she transfixed the room. I’ll admit, I do sometimes judge an artist by their live show: I like to know their recorded product isn’t studio magic, but a true expression of who they are. Diane’s record is.
It was recorded in New York and New Orleans, with a team of Grammy-winning producers: S-Curve Records founder Steve Greenberg, soul legend Betty Wright, and Mike Mangini, in their first project together since the trio produced Joss Stone’s first two albums. Tones of both cities shine through, as well as a solid retro vibe that’s interpretation, not imitation.
Diane recounts some of the process: “We tried to record a lot of things live. ‘Fire Escape’ was the third song we did; the band had never played it before. We had just been rehearsing with the ‘record’ button on. I remember the take and it was amazing. I was looking through the glass and everyone was saying, that’s the one. Steve said, ‘You guys are done, let’s move on.’ These are moments that you often can’t capture in a lot of modern music because you’re doing everything separately. It was really important to me to keep that level of authenticity.”
“Bible Belt” drops on June 2.
But YOU can download a taste of it, “Rise Up”, for FREE at the Itunes Store this week. And, after you do, enter here to win a 4 GB Ipod Nano, in the color of your choice, as well as a signed copy of Diane Birch’s debut, “Bible Belt”. Here’s how:
1. Download the free single, “Rise Up” from Itunes.
2. Listen to it!
3. Leave a brief review on Itunes (they’re usually about 2 lines, so no big thang)
4. Come back here and leave a comment!
For 1 additional entry, Tweet a link to the giveaway, or post a link to the download or this giveaway as your Facebook status. Come back here and leave another comment! If you’re getting your 2nd entry by Tweeting, please leave your @ name in the comments.
And, for yet another additional entry, join Diane’s Fan Page on Facebook, and leave another comment letting me know.
The contest runs through Sunday, and you can keep earning additional entries by tweeting and posting to your FB status. Just leave a comment each time with your Twitter name.
The contest will close at 6 PM on Sunday, May 24th, and I’ll pick six winners via Random.org by 8 PM EST.
1st Prize wins: 4 GB Nano, color of your choice, and a signed “Bible Belt” album to go on it!
5 others will win signed copies of “Bible Belt”.
Trust me, you’ll want it.:) Good luck!
In case you want a second opinion, here’s what the June issue of Oprah Magazine says:
I love it when the next big thing is also the real deal.
UPDATE: WINNERS ARE POSTED BELOW:
Thank you all so much for your support of Diane’s debut! It’s been an amazing week, with “Bible Belt” breaking into the Top 10 of Pop Albums for pre-order the day. That, my friends, is pretty amazing for a new artist, and people like you who helped spread the word of the record played a huge part in it. So, thank you for sharing new music, and for entering. (Note: I used random.org to choose winners.)
The Winner of the Ipod Nano and an autographed copy of “Bible Belt” is:
Ann! See, updating that Itunes paid off.
And for the 5 other autographed copies of “Bible Belt”:
Shannon, Christina, Vintage Squirrel, Emily, and Kim Deal.
Thank you all again so much for your support of Diane’s debut, and I’ll email the winners later tonight to get their physical addresses. xoxo, Lindsay
(Note of disclosure: I do consult for Diane’s label, S-Curve, but because of my passion for her music, not vice versa. This is not a sponsored post, but my opinion.)
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