Tag Archives: Diane Birch

Sufjan Stevens or Diane Birch?

Both of them are playing tonight – which would you rather go and see? Sufjan Stevens is at the Royal Festival Hall, Diane Birch at Joe’s Pub, NYC. I don’t have tickets for either of them unfortunately (SS sold out in seconds, and I’m not in New York…). Wherever my listening takes me, these two I can always come back to – something connects, and they make me feel elated and re-charged (well, in Sufjan’s case, maybe depressed and terrible first and then elated).

I love what it says about Sufjan on his website:

“SS mixes autobiography, religious fantasy and regional history to create folk songs of grand proportions.”

That explains it! The ingredients he’s putting together are different to anyone else’s. I find his music melodic, almost child-like sometimes (not a criticism); accessible but mysterious, direct but enigmatic; epic but concerned with the world of the interior, the heart, the spirit, the mind… Sometimes I find there’s an ‘enclosed beauty’ about his sound-world – the equivalent of a Samuel Palmer painting (what with that and the biblical imagery). He never shouts; and there’s something intangible, like we’re heading to an unknown region…

Diane Birch – well, what can I say? She’s just a wonderful talent, you might say in the old school way. She writes great songs, plays and sings fantastically. It just does you good to listen to somebody with so much to give. Apparently she hung out in London for a year or two before her first album was released, honing her craft – how did I miss her? She’s been a bit quiet of late – let’s see what comes next…

Postscript – for what actually happened later, see above!