I heard Diana Jones on stage many years ago, playing support to Richard Thompson, and I thought then that she was a cut above the run-of-the-mill support act. It took a long time for recognition to come – for most people her career began ten years ago!
Live In Concert is, I think, put together from a number of performances, featuring Beau Stapleton on mandolin, tenor guitar and vocals, and is remarkably homogenous. In effect, this is a career retrospective – nineteen songs including some of her best known titles. Once you have been suckered in by the gentle opening tracks, the unaccompanied ‘Cold Grey Ground’ grabs your attention with its raw Appalachian cadences. From that point on I was hooked: ‘I Told The Man’, ‘Evangelina’, ‘The Day I Die’ (dedicated to Levon Helm, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson) and ‘Appalachia’ come in quick succession but if your eyes stray down the track list you’re anticipating ‘Pony’ and ‘Henry Russell’s Last Words’. Don’t wish the album away so quickly.
With just two musicians the feel is very intimate and at one point Diana responds to a suggestion from the audience to play the plaintive ‘Drug For This’. She uses some interesting tunings, sometimes producing notes that should be “wrong” but aren’t. If you are not yet acquainted with Diana Jones’ music this is the perfect place to start.
Artist’s website: http://www.dianajonesmusic.com/
‘Henry Russell’s Last Words’ – live: