Kristin Diable, Extended Play (Speakeasy)

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With a look and a sound that is far beyond her years, Kristin Diable tells her story in the purest of folk tradition on Extended Play. Each song showcases her contralto voice that sounds as though it’s been tainted by cigarette smoke and experience, a sound that suits her. You’ve definitely heard this type of voice before, most notably in one of her idols, Lucinda Williams, but Diable, a Baton Rouge native, has been branded with inherent Southern soul, a quality that separates her from the rest.

On the simple blues tune, “What We Mean,” Diable explains with a smirk, “I gotta lover who says he don’t need me. / I guess we don’t always say what we mean.” Her voice soars with extreme confidence over the simple two-chord melody of the guitar as the song takes you back to doo-wop ballads without the call and response.

Though most of Diable’s guitar melodies sound similar from track to track, the words are what make her songs great. On “Holdin’ On” she sings, “He was running down that road so fast / praying God was with him now / and he hoped to God that this don’t last / ’cause just one bad move could break his back.” It’s a simple yet powerful statement of a place all people find themselves at least once in their lives. On “Be My Husband,” Diable channels KT Tunstall on her breakthrough hit, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” with the drum as the driving force of emotion and rhythm in this stripped down song about the complications of a relationship. But note to Diable: a broader sonic palate is your friend.

  • Greg

    Be My Husband is a Nina Simone song. I expect she's more trying to channel her. Pretty well in fact. As perhaps was KT Tunstall.