Fantasia Ball
label: delmore
produced by: diana darby, mark linn, jz barrell.
guests: jz barrell, david henry.
year of release: 2003
website: dianadarby.com
 
Last year, the Incidental label released the tribute to Kris Kristofferon's music "Nothing Left To Lose". On this compilation, various artists interpreted the country music of the probably better known as an actor musician. It was a heartfelt selection, with the artists caring for the music and songs they were performing. One of the songs was even going a little deeper than the heart, opening up the soul and exposing everything. The song was Diana Darby's version of "Jesus Was A Capricorn". A song that was silent, almost empty, minimalist and whispered. The same Diana now returns with an album full of her own tracks (ignoring the other cover version), that again bares a lot, and that gives us her view on the other f music genre: call this folk, not funk.

tracklisting
1. Fly Away
2. Falling Down
3. If It Feels Good
4. Summer
5. Ferry
6. My Own
7. The Only One Who's Listening
8. Happy
9. Mother
10. Caroline
11. Blue Turns To Grey
The noise level on this record barely reaches over the determined sung verse here and there. Diana has a whispering voice (done to almost disappearing proportions on "The Only One Who's Listening"), and thus almost shyly she voices her self written lyrics. And because she's looking out the window, as opposed to leaning out the window, her wish to "Fly Away" captures a spirit that wants to be free, but still feels best at home. The cello on this song played by David Henry makes this one of the most instrumented songs on the record. Because already "Falling Down" is stripped down, plugging in a four track, recording this to tape (what only makes the sound scruffy on "Mother" though), and barely recognizing the canned electronica possibilities. It's a simplified approach, that makes you feel even more present. Because with the one take approach of the records, the loudspeakers look more like a chair where Diana is actually sitting on. Playing to you.
"Summer" is one of those honest songs that everyone that every felt a ray of sunlight will appreciate. Despite the tale of lost, this is an almost upbeat moment. And further, the track itself separates its potency from much of the record, as with the little 'da-da-dum' singing, even brighter images are projected in your brain. That's part of the soundtrack quality this has. The other part is the sticky, and a little broader melody of this song. With a process like this, anger is as alien as warmth to a glacier. What makes a "My Own" sound even grittier, with a rising bass and guitar. What then sounds like your mother calling you with your first and middle name, letting you know immediately that you did something wrong.
The hurt is continued on "Happy", where an imaginary character requests happiness from Diana (while making her blush when he says that she's pretty). But her eyes are too open for that. Despite her being introvert, she still has to let too much hurt through, what is why she 'does not know how to be happy.' A guitar bridge gives a little comfort, by hugging Diana who then might just withdraw again into her doubts and insecurities. What's an interpretation. However, it's obvious that this music says a lot. Probably also about Diana. Like her eyes, this music can't seem to lie.
With the sadness being real, our joy is real as well, when the sky opens up for "Caroline". Another song that takes us on a travel, through rich of harvest fields, and golden shadows. This tale about a pure person, furthers the views on the earth that we see through Diana's eyes. Before she then borrows words from the Rolling Stones, by covering their "Blue Turns To Grey". Like "Jesus Was A Capricorn", she truly adapts the song to her way to do music. The guitar is her only companion. The melodic structure is thinned and her clean voice speaks the singing. With the tale again being melancholic, with her searching, missing confidence and security. Moments she must find in her music though. And as much as it speaks about pain, it still must feel good. And "if it feels good, do it. And don't care". She says on "If It Feels Good". So don't care, but listen.
review: tadah
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