Proper Records (label)
19 February 2016 (released)
27 February 2016
Starting life in New York it wasn’t until Diana Jones he was in her twenties that she met her birth-family in Tennessee and so leading to a deeper connection to the music of the south, in particular traditional American folk and the music of the Appalachians.
This live album is not a one concert recording; it’s a set made up of recordings from across Europe and the US. These can sometimes lead to a certain dislocation and lack of continuity but the performances are first class so that element doesn’t really become a problem. What does come to the fore is Ms Jones’s inspiration, passion and knack for storytelling, and of course her distinctive resonant voice, accompanied as she is with just an acoustic guitar, for much of the album. Though that’s dropped for the wonderful A Capella Cold Grey Ground, which just sound tingles down the spine.
At 59 minutes its relatively long and being mostly acoustic there’s sometimes the danger that the songs can just drift by. However, the changes in mood and tempo prevent it being one paced but it is also a grower so requires some patience from the listener. The likes of Evangelina and Prayer for My Brother hit the bullseye straight off. It’s with subsequent listens that others come into their own like the sparse, bare beauty of Appalachia, or the intricate almost melancholic Rain and Cold.
This collection serves as a consolidation/retrospective of Diana Jones career so far, or equally as a stepping on point for newcomers. Both are well served: there are some new songs for those already familiar with her work and newbies have a thorough compilation.