Better Times Will Come CD
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Diana Jones had released two finely crafted albums in the 1990s, but it wasn't until she released "My Remembrance of You" in 2006 that she found her own voice and broke out of the singer-songwriter pack to emerge as a major figure in Americana music. She had discovered a connection, both biological and artistic, to the sounds of old-time Appalachia, unleashing her private muse and creating a record that landed on best-of-the-year lists in the Chicago Tribune and the Nashville Scene. The three years since that breakthrough have been a whirlwind. Diana has landed the opening slot on high-profile European tours with Richard Thompson and Mary Gauthier and has been the featured invitee at folk festivals in Ireland, England, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. One of her songs, "Henry Russell's Last Words," has been recorded by Joan Baez, while another, "If I Had a Gun," has been recorded by Gretchen Peters. Diana's own versions of those songs can be heard on her new album, "Better Times Will Come," an ambitious effort that consolidates and extends the leap forward of the preceding record. Diana's fellow singer-songwriters certainly recognize the quality of her new work. Gauthier, Nanci Griffith and Betty Elders add vocals to the project, and the Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor adds fiddle. The acoustic string-band arrangements, anchored by fiddler Alicia Jo Rabins, bassist Paul Kochanski and multi-instrumentalist Duke Levine, are deceptively simple, for their restraint reveals the haunting originality of the melodies and the understated skill of the performances. This reflects the deceptive simplicity of the lyrics, which tell their stories with the hypnotic repetition and plain speech of old mountain song. Tracks: Better Times Will Come / All God's Children / If I Had A Gun / Henry Russell's Last Words / Soldier Girl / Cracked And Broken / Ballad Of The Poor Child / Oh Appalachia / Evangelina / Something Crossed Over / The Day I Die
A voice as earthy,pure and clear as a newly discovered Appalachian spring, and songs so strong Joan Baez is moved to cover them ... sitting somewhere between Gillian Welch and a mellow Lucinda Williams, this is an absolute gem of a record, both warm and wonderful. ***** 5 Stars -- The Scotsman,February 22nd,2009
Jones engenders great respect amongst her peers. Additional vocals are suplied by Mary Gauthier, Nancy Griffith and Betty Elders while Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor provides fiddle ... I am struggling to find any kind of flaw in an album that is just about perfect in every way
-- Country Music People, February 27th,2009
Whether telling her own or anothers story, Jones's poetic eye for detail draws listeners close within her narrative allowing them to identify with and share the emotions of her protagonists ***** 5 Stars -- Rock N Reel,February 22nd,2009
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The title song is, perhaps, more in hope than prophecy but her nuanced tales of an abandoned child, a doomed miner, an abused wife or a young girl leaving home for boot camp come from a long American tradition of recording the trials and tribulations of life through old timey string band music.
This tradition stretches back through Gillian Welch and Iris DeMent to the Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers. There is the occasional electric guitar but the album is mainly acoustic, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bass, which with her clear, vibrato laden voice complements the stark simplicity, but undeniable beauty, of the melodies.
Guest vocalists include such revered legends as Nanci Griffith, Mary Gautier and Betty Elders and serve to underpin the sad grandeur of Diana Jones's original songs.
"If I had a gun you'd be dead
One to the heart, one to the head"
she sings to an abusive husband and the mournful fiddle heightens the emotion.
She hoped that sad songs would cheer her listeners up, too. Well, perhaps "cheer up" is a little strong but this is an album of intelligent, challenging songs with all the credentials of traditional Americana. Recommended.
I too saw Diana Jones on the BBC Seasick Steve special from the Barbican and thought, yes I'll give it a go. I am so pleased I did. Listening it to it on headphones it really makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand at times. I will most certainly keep an eye out for other work from Diana Jones.
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this gorgeous lady is a genius! the more i play this album the more i fall in love with her.Read more