Born in New Jersey, but a long time resident of South Oregon, DiMicele has fourteen albums to her name, all released via her own independent label, and plays what she terms an Organic Acoustic Groove. Roughly translated, that takes Folk-Americana and wraps it in a heady cocktail of jazz and R&B influences, her sound prompting comparisons with the likes of Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt, Chi Coltrane, Valerie Carter and Nicolette Larson.
The simple acoustic cover of Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, while pleasant enough, feels rather redundant, bringing nothing particularly new to the party and at odds with the soul and gospel vibe that largely informs her own eight songs. These open with the mid-tempo seductive groove of the bluesy Hammond driven title cut, the mood carrying over into ‘Desire’ that finds her soaring across her vocal range with a hint of Billie Holiday in there too.
Featuring cello, ‘The Other Side’ is a more acoustic track, but no less steeped in soulfulness in its optimistic approach to the recovering from the end of a relationship, while, by contrast, the accordion backed ‘Lonely Alone’ sees her steering into a more Patsy Cline tinged country vein, though again the keys and brass keep the R&B influences burning.
‘Waiting’ rings the stylistic changes again with a breezy calypso feel, including steel drums and some puttering bass, a little light perhaps but pleasant enough before ‘Nature Reigns’ introduces shades of a bluesier Karen Carpenter and, backed by cello, ‘Seeds’ offers a gentle sway through a song about trying to find your way out of a garden of self-destructive weeds and planting the seeds that will nourish your spirit.
The last of the self-penned tracks, the Hammond-led environmental-themed ‘Voice of the Water’ returns to her R&B and gospel infused sound, at times reminding me of Buffy Sainte-Marie and underscoring the power of both her voice and delivery. I have to confess, this was the first time I’d encountered her and, I suspect the same will hold true for many others, but if you happen to like the late 60s/early 70s sound of those comparisons above, then you should track her down.
Artist’s website: https://www.alicedimicele.com
‘Seeds’ – official video: