Singer/songwriter Diane Birch’s passion for American music, which includes everything from the delta blues to Motown, California surf music, Top 40 pop and south Philly soul, mirrors the same eclectic influences that inspired Daryl Hall, so it seemed a natural pairing to put the two together for the 24th and latest installment of Live From Daryl’s House, available starting on Oct. 15 at www.livefromdarylshouse.com.
Birch’s S-Curve Records debut, Bible Belt, was written entirely by Diane and recorded in New York and New Orleans, with Grammy-winning producers Steve Greenberg, soul legend Betty Wright and Michael Mangini at the helm.
Birch was born in Michigan, but moved to Zimbabwe with her South African-born parents, who were missionaries; migrating to South Africa and then Australia before returning to Portland, Oregon when she was a teenager. An extraordinarily accomplished keyboardist, whether on piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer or Farfisa, Diane has been compared to fellow singer-songwriters Laura Nyro and Carole King, as well as Elton John and Jerry Lee Lewis. Rolling Stone calls her “Amy Winehouse-style retro pop, minus dysfunction…Her welterweight voice is strong and fetching.” The Huffington Post’s David Wild said: “I’ve just heard the future of singer-songwriters and her name is Diane Birch. Bible Belt is more than welcoming… it’s downright thrilling.”
“Diane has one of the best new female voices I’ve heard in quite a while,” said Daryl about the latest new artist to appear on Live From Daryl’s House. “She’s also a very evocative songwriter and kills on the Wurlitzer. We really had a blast.”
Diane and Daryl tackle a seven-song set that includes a pair of fairly deep Daryl Hall and John Oates album tracks in “Life’s Too Short,” from the 2003 album Do It For Love, while “Fall in Philadelphia” originally from the 1972 Atlantic debut, Whole Oates, and now available remastered on the 74 song box set DO WHAT YOU WANT BE WHAT YOU ARE, THE MUSIC OF DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES (RCA/LEGACY), which streets on October 13th . The two also perform four songs from Bible Belt, including “Fire Escape,” “Fools,” “Nothin’ But a Miracle” and “Don’t Wait Up.” Birch shows off her vocal range on her and Daryl’s soulful cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Daydreamin’.”
”I had to keep pinching myself, especially when Daryl started singing ‘Fire Escape,’” Diane enthuses about the experience. “It was a seriously surreal day and his whole crew could not have been cooler!”
Past episodes of Live from Daryl’s House have featured a mix of well-known performers like Smokey Robinson, The Doors’ Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Gym Class Heroes’ Travis McCoy, Finger Eleven’s James Black and Rick Jackett and the Bacon Brothers, along with newcomers such as Philly soul singer Mutlu, Canadian techno-rockers Chromeo, MySpace pop-rock phenom Eric Hutchinson, Cash Money rocker Kevin Rudolf, Wind-up Records’ Chicago rockers Company of Thieves, Bay Area singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson, Charlottesville, VA’s rising Parachute and Chicago rock band Plain White T’s.
Live from Daryl’s House started with Daryl’s “light-bulb moment” idea of “playing music with my friends and putting it up on the Internet,” and the show has subsequently been praised by such varied media outlets as Rolling Stone, Spin, Daily Variety, CNN, BBC, Yahoo and the influential Lefsetz Letter.