Saturday, August 1, 2009
Review: Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters - The Spirit Ranch Sessions
Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters - The Spirit Ranch Sessions
2009, Diana DiGiovanni
Toronto's Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters want to take you on a trip. Rock, Blues and Country will be meted out in the appropriate portions as you travel down the dusty trail of Catherine's muse on the band's debut album, The Spirit Ranch Sessions. Musical gypsies; delightful enablers of the terpsichorean muse; whatever you wish to call them, Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters will delight you eleven songs full of toughness, vulnerability and panache.
The Spirit Ranch Sessions were recorded at the aptly named Spirit Ranch in Florida in 2008; produced by Bud Snyder (The Allman Brothers) and Matt Blackie (also the drummer). The album has a little bit of everything. Diana Catherine plays guitar and harmonica in addition to singing duties, and is joined by Kevin Robinson on guitar, Nic DiSanto on bass in addition to Blackie. The Spirit Ranch Sessions opens with Walk; part honky-tonk and Americana and a real pleasure to start things off. The arrangement is reserved enough to allow Catherine room to roam on the vocal line and she makes a great first impression. Sober (Is Too Hard To Stay) will give you an idea of what might happen if Kirsty MacColl ever embraced country music. Travelin' Man is one of those songs that is so familiar the first time you hear it you'll swear it's a cover, but it's not. There are some turns in the chorus that are reminiscent of Neil Young however, but the song is very well written and well performed.
Long Road breaks out some Lynyrd Skynyrd southern rock but sticks to an understated ethic ala Cowboy Junkies. Things slow down a bit on the second half of the disc. Train Song stands out as the beacon of the second half of the disc and is probably the best song on the whole disc. Lucinda was a pleasant listen, but songs like Last Dance, 4 Leaf Clover and Drifting just felt a bit bland after the first half of The Spirit Ranch Sessions.
Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters have embraced a sound that mixes the genteel side of Americana with Southern Rock; when they're on they're really on. The first half of The Spirit Ranch Sessions is very strong, but the disc gets a bit bland as it progresses, leaving a brilliant 5 or 6 song EP stretched out to an above average but slipping at the end full-length LP. Diana Catherine has a unique blend of toughness and vulnerability to her voice that will guarantee listeners and the band is quite good instrumentally, so I suspect this is not the last we'll be hearing from them. Put Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters on your "to-listen" list.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters at www.myspace.com/dianassound or http://www.dianacatherine.com/. You can purchase a copy of The Spirit Ranch Sessions at House Of Bands