Diane Birch with Special Guest Bing Ji Ling - 1/7
at City Winery New York City
Singer-songwriter Diane Birch took half her lifetime, and traveled across the globe, to get to America, where she literally found her voice and made her remarkable debut, Bible Belt in 2009. Now three years on, following worldwide touring success, Birch is readying to release her sophomore album (Darklight) in early 2013.
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, Eg White (of Adele fame) and Barrett Yeretsian, her new collection of songs mark a distinct progression for Diane, who lays bare the emotional roller-coaster of her life over the past couple of years, with the break-up of a long-lasting relationship, 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.
Her first album, Bible Belt, was recorded in New York City and New Orleans with a formidable team of Grammy-winning producers: S-Curve Records founder Steve Greenberg, soul legend Betty Wright and Mike Mangini. And among the players accompanying Birch were guitarist Lenny Kaye of The Patti Smith Group, bassists Adam Blackstone from The Roots, and George Porter of The Meters, acclaimed drummers Stanton Moore of Galactic and Cindy Blackman of Lenny Kravitz fame, saxophonist-about-town Lenny Pickett, and trombonist Tom “Bones” Malone, along with veteran singer Eugene Pitt, lead vocalist of fabled Brooklyn vocal group, the Jive Five.
A lengthy period of touring – both at home and overseas – followed, where Birch and her band honed their skills on the road, playing to bigger and bigger audiences and winning die-hard fans. When she returned, while starting to work on new material, she recorded an EP of her favorite Goth covers, released under the title ‘The Velveteen Age’.
Now with an incredible body of new work written, Diane is currently in the studio in New York recording with Homer Steinweiss – who will share production duty credits on the record with Eg White, Roots’ drummer Questlove and long-time Diane collaborator (and label President) Steve Greenberg.
Her appearance at City Winery will be the first outing for these songs in New York – which showcase the remarkable breadth of Birch’s talent, both as a songwriter and performer.
ABOUT BING JI LING
The nom de plume of one Quinn Luke, Bing Ji Ling is an NYC–based producer/musician with a rich legacy of work behind and in front of him. Having co-produced, written, recorded and performed two full length records, an EP, and a slew of singles, collaborations and remixes, Luke thought the time was right to work with outside producers for the first time. Produced by Embassy Sound Productions (Sean Marquand and Daniel Collas, the men behind Phenomenal Handclap Band and records for Unao Black and Joe Bataan, among others), the album is an infectious, ambitious concoction of Soul, Pop and Psychedelia full of summer jams destined for heavy rotation. Featuring members of the Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Scissor Sisters, Antibalas and Phenomenal Handclap Band, the soon to be released "Shadow To Shine" is a work of stunning, soulful talent, marking the finest chapter in Luke's already accomplished career.