Oh, Canada!

By Abby Weingarten, Herald-Tribune

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We’re not Tampa, no 1-800-ASK-GARY begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-800-ASK-GARY      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Amphitheatre here, so we need to embrace as many music tours as we can in Sarasota-Bradenton. Maybe that’ll convince the city bigwigs to bring us more, right?

Start with the Canadian band, Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters, which is playing five — yes, five — shows in town this month. The group’s Trust or Bust 2011 tour is promoting the new album, “The Spirit Ranch Sessions.”

Did I mention this record was laid down right here in Sarasota, with Grammy Award-winning producer and engineer Bud Snyder? Since the album was released in Canada in September 2009, the band has toured Canada four times, graced hundreds of stages and garnered acclaim from Toronto Exclusive Magazine and CBC-TV.

With a mix of country, rock, folk and twang, Catherine and her Tweeters are known for their Southern Soul, universal lyrics and catchy rhythms. Their altruism is worth noting too, as the band has partnered with the organization World Vision, which helps impoverished children worldwide.

Check these dates:

Feb. 19: Ace’s, Bradenton

Feb. 20: Pastimes Pub, Sarasota

Feb. 23 and 25: J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Café, Sarasota

Feb. 28: Gilligan’s Island Bar and Grill, Siesta Key

Buy the new album, “The Spirit Ranch Sessions,” at www.indiepool.com/DD2009CD1.

Diana Catherine & the Thrusty Tweeters - The Spirit Ranch Sessions

They may well be contenders for the title of Canada's hardest working party band. True road dogs they are, Diana Catherine and the three burly men who comprise the Thrusty Tweeters, as they tour their infectious bluesy rock up and down the map non-stop.

When I saw the band perform at the old Ironwood Bar & Stage in Calgary about a year and a half ago, I was a little awestruck by just how charismatic a performer Diana Catherine is. With a huge stage presence that is part swagger, part vulnerable clown, she is pretty mesmerizing.

 

Lately I've been revisiting the CD that I brought home from that show - The Spirit Ranch Sessions - and it transports me right back to that night at the Ironwood. This album manages to capture much of the exuberance of the Thrusty Tweeters' stage experience. From the opening wail of Diana's harmonica on Walk, through to the crying guitars and heartfelt yearning of the closing notes of Drifting, The Spirit Ranch Sessions is the journal of a traveling band. It's also a journal of drinking and fighting and getting your love on the run.


Sober (Is Too Hard To Stay) is an unapologetically boisterous track that hooks you with handclaps and a call and response chorus, while Train Song hypnotizes with lazily seductive blues. These are tales of restlessness and the road, hard living and the sweet regrets of tender loving.


This is Southern rock served up Northern style. And it's tasty.

 

Pick of the Day: Wednesday Night Folk

by Gregory Beatty

Wednesday, September 1, 2010 12:08:02 AM - PRAIRIE DOG MAGAZINE

As noted in this space before, Bushwakker Brew Pub hosts regular live music performances. Monday night at 8 p.m., the focus is on jazz. Wednesdays at 9 p.m., a folk/roots band of some sort is typically featured. Tonight its a group from Toronto called Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters.

In the publicity blurb we received from Bushwakker the band’s style was described as “authentic Americana”. Here’s video of them doing their song “Travelin’ Man” at a Vancouver cafe in August 2009.

Thrusty Tweeters at the Rockwater

Golden Star - Entertainment

Published: July 27, 2010 2:00 PM

 

A travelling band of misfit, musical gypsies are bringing a party to town.

On August 10, Diana Catherine and The Thrusty Tweeters will bring their “Northern” Americana sound to The Rockwater Grill and Bar for a night of confident vocals, splashes of harmonica, tight rhythm and tasty guitar. The Tweeters are Matt Blackie, Mark Wilson and Kevin Robinson, led by the cutting intensity of Diana Catherine.

Catherine says the band jokingly uses the term “Northern Americana” because they feel Americana is the best suited label for them, music that has a lot southern (US) history but with a Canadian twist.

“I’ve never been much one for labels but if I had to choose, that would be it because it encompasses so many styles, Rock and Roll, Alt- Country, Blues and Roots. We aren’t straight ahead in any one style, so you’re gonna get variety from us.”

Catherine paired with the Tweeters in late 2008 to play many live shows including various summer festivals.

“Common friends drew us together for the most part, except for Mark [Wilson] our newest member. He was referred by a common associate who is in the Humber College Jazz program with him. But I think what makes us stick together is that we all have a passion for music, it’s part of who we are as individuals but when we put it together the chemistry is there and it’s incredible,” says Catherine. She adds that all of the band members have been playing music for a long, long time.

“I think most of us came into it seriously as teens, but I used to get a quarter from my grandfather every time I sang Yankee Doodle, so I’ve been making money at this for a while,” laughs Catherine.

While she writes the music and all the lyrics, Catherine says, “This is not to say that the guys don’t bring something to the table, I like to say that I build the skeleton and they put the meat on it. I get inspiration from personal experiences, everyday life stories I’ve heard, or just over hearing conversations people have in bars when they are drunk. Sometimes it’s all fiction. That’s the great thing about songwriting, you can be a storyteller, fact or fiction it all makes it’s way into the songs.”

Fresh on the heels of recording their first album, The Spirit Ranch Sessions, Catherine says recording their first album was one of the best experiences of her life.

“We went down to Sarasota Florida to a five-acre horse ranch to record it. We worked with the amazing Bud Snyder who had won a Grammy for his work with The Allman Brothers. It was so beautiful down there and to work with a man who has worked with some of my heroes was just incredible. We are like family now, I’ve got my own bedroom for when I come home to the ranch.”

This is not Catherine’s first visit to Golden.

“I have a good friend, musician Todd Menzies, who has spent many years living there. So I have been back and forth a few times to see him and play as well. Last year we played to an absolutely amazing crowd at The Rockwater and we’re hoping to make it even better this year! We’d love to meet new people and see old friends too. I find Golden to be a very relaxed town with an amazing vibe and I’d love to develop a following so we can keep coming back every year.”

As far as the band’s future, Catherine jokes that plans include “taking over the world”.

“Well not really,” she laughs. “I’d be so happy if we can keep touring and making records. Grow our fan base and have fun in the process.”

Catch Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters at the Rockwater on August 10.

Toronto News 24

May 19,2010

TORONTO - Persevering through obstacles often leads to unexpected rewards - and  memorable occasions.

That Saturday, this past March 13th, the challenge was the weather. It was a cold, windswept night with sheets of rain that slapped me around then ambushed with lake-like puddles. By the time, I arrived at the Cadillac (Lounge), I was sporting a right foot “soaker” and wondering if it was all worth it ...

My luck changed the moment I entered. At once, I was bathed in the warmth of cheerful, serene faces and a folksy gathering milling about on the dancefloor. This was a place and time to meet old friends and share in both the luxury of their company as well as that emanating from the stage.

The attraction? Diana Catherine and her Thrusty Tweeters who were creating a feel-good groove that crossed over several styles, lept into different tastes, and narrowed the chasm between genres that usually limit people's appreciation of each. Yes, they had a country music influence in there, a bit of blues, a lil' folk, instances of rock and periodic injections of harder edge riff action. Their toe tapping, head nodding, humming sound glides on a stellar rhythm section featuring lively bass thumping work (Nic Di Santo) and drumming & percussion (Matt Blackie) that was easy, effortless and effective. Guitar riff master, Kevin Robinson, played in the background but his contributions were anything but. He'd move from pleasant accompaniment to rave-ups that riveted attention, notably from the rockers in attendance and delivered in a non-chalant manner.   

Their unique style, which strolls then gallops, is ably demonstrated and represented by songs like 'Walk' and 'Blueberry Eyes,' and by Diana Catherine's velvety voice that hiked the rises and trails of her vocal range. At times, like on 'Last Dance,' her warbling abilities were remincient of Buffy Sainte-Marie's classic, “Indian Cowboy on a Rodeo.” Her accoustic strumming was an apt, icing sugar-like contrast to her band mates' more deeply resonating notes. And when she stepped back to her left and later to her right to play temporary duets with bassist Di Santo and guitarist Robinson, it was two friends sharing good times and a melody all their own. It was also musical intimacy; each sequence elicitings fanciful smiles and expressive dancing from those especially affected.

The Thrusty Tweeters don't so much perform as they invite their audience to hang out with them for a while, put their feet up, sit a spell. There's an air of comfort that envelops their presentation, just like a comfortable silence between friends. Maybe that's because, off stage, they are friends – and longtime ones too.

“We've hung out together and jammed for years and supported one another in other projects,” said Di Santo.  Overall, we're 'feel' players. When the way we're playing feels good, we feel good – and our audiences get into it. We've always had people dancing, which makes us feel even better.”

The band became one in 2008 “after Diana called each of us up, said she'd written some songs and wanted to hear them played. So this began another project which continues to this day.”

Their first album, The Spirit Ranch Sessions, released last year was produced by veteran Bud Snyder, who's worked with the Allman Brothers Band, among others.“At his (Bud's) Spirit Ranch, where we laid down our tracks, there were pro's from all over, some of whom we'd only heard of.”
 
“When we plugged in, all these people realized we were actually in a band and just stopped what they were doing to listen to us: it was a humbling experience. And when Kevin began going off on his (guitar) tangents, they just looked at each other with open mouths as if to ask, “Who is this guy?” They were astounded by his talent, describing him as “Automatic Heaven.”

The band just finished a 19-day (15 show) tour of Quebec and the Maritimes and leave again for a swing through Western Canadian this August. Locally, you can get your helping of Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters' feel good groove this coming July 23rd as part of the Toronto Independent Music Awards showcase at the Phoenix Concert Theatre.

For more information, check out their website at www.dianacatherine.com 

Brian J Anderson 

Special for Toronto News 24

Beat Surrender

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters "The Spirit Ranch Sessions"

The Spirit Ranch Sessions is the debut release from Toronto roots rockers Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters, the albums title taken from the studio where it was recorded, the band - Diana Catherine - Vocals, Guitars, Harmonica, Nic DiSanto - Bass, Matt Blackie - Drums and backing vocals, Kevin Robinson - Guitar, travelled south to Sarasota Florida last spring to put their music - a rootsy mix of rock, blues, country and  a smattering of soul - to tape.

The result is a solid eleven track album of original tunes - all of which were written by Catherine (Diana DiGiovanni), the lead track Walk kicks things off with a nice harmonica opening up into an up-tempo roots rocker with a great shuffle and you immediately know you on to something good with this album, track two Blueberry Eyes is my pick from the album showcasing Catherine's rich vocal talent, the band are tight and hold things together through the stylistic left and right turns. Given the band set-up it's hard not to draw comparisons to Sarah Borges and The Broken Singles and Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs and this band are certainly have the qualities to follow in their footsteps.

 

 

Beat Surrender - Saturday, 24 April 2010

Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters - Mitzi’s Sister

 

 Loney Vagabond.com

“These are songs for the people who like to drink, because god knows I do!” Diana Catherine & Thrusty Tweeters are firmly rooted in the tradition of road warriors playing-any-town-near-you while radiating good vibes onstage. This four-piece deliver uplifting gypsy-fired southern roots-rock, strong feminine vocals, combining a balladeers spirit with working-class rock fervor showcasing Diana Catherine’s natural storytelling abilities in between songs. Staying true to their path, the journey continues.

Southern Rock from North of the Border

by Dennis McGough

Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters – The Spirit Ranch Sessions

Although in the title of this post I hung the Southern Rock label on Toronto’s Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters (I don’t name them folks), they are in fact much harder to pigeon-hole.  Recorded in Sarasota, Florida this melange of Americana, roots rock and gut bucket Blues was certainly influenced by Producer Bud Snyder who has recording credits with Southern Rock stalwarts Dickey Betts and The Allman Brothers.

The Spirit Ranch Sessions jumps styles from the rootsy guitar gambol of Walk to the alt.country tinged Blueberry Eyes to the roadhouse blues of Travelin’ Man and Lucinda.  Singer/guitarist Diana Catherine’s assured wail  moves easily from the soulful (Sober) to the sublime (Long Road) to the wistful Come With Me Baby).

The Thrusty Tweeters are an accomplished band with nary a misplaced note anywhere.  The band really shines though on the 70’s era Southern Rock influenced songs (Last Dance, Drifter).  The end of Drifter is especially reminiscent of the guitar army sounds of The Outlaws or Molly Hatchett.

I don’t particularly like to say bands sound like specific other bands but Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters certainly bring to mind Susan Tedeschi, Grace Potter and (insert your favorite Southern Rock band here). If you like any of these performers or musical styles you will not go wrong with The Spirit Ranch Sessions.

Yesterday I posted that Wendy Bird had produced the first great CD of the year.  Today I don’t hesitate to say that Diana Catherine & Company have produced great CD number two of the year.

Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters / Mitzi's Sister /  Toronto, Canada / March 18th, 2010 - RivetingRiffs.com

Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters played Mitzi’s Sister in Toronto on March 18th and the three musicians and singer demonstrated once again, why they have a bright and long career ahead of them in the music business, as they injected some new songs into their ten song set and the quartet easily transitioned between rockabilly and southern rock tunes. To refer to their music as Americana or alt country is really doing them a disservice, because Americana has become a catchall phrase used by the American music industry to keep from having labels applied to an artist or a band and has evolved to become a label itself. To apply the description alt country is not so much a disservice as it is inaccurate, because although Diana Catherine’s vocals can easily suggest that sound on some songs, the guitar riffs of Kevin Robinson and bassist Nic DiSanto, as well as the drumming of Matt Blackie are not those of a country band, because these gents simply enjoy rocking out too much.

 

Opening with the acoustic guitar and harmonica driven “Come With Me Baby,” Diana Catherine and her band mates quickly got the audience involved with their music, as toes were tapping, bodies were swaying and the crowd was keeping beat to the music. It is easy to understand why a plethora of radio stations in the southern United States have been playing Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeter’s music and why recently another twenty-six stations added to their rotation, songs from the band’s album The Spirit Ranch Sessions, a remarkable feat for a band that has only been performing together for about a year and one half. All four band members have a hand in the writing of these songs and they are the kind of music that appeals to the musical sensibilities of the everyday woman or man, with lines in the song “Come With Me Baby,” in which Catherine talks about heading to Memphis and looking for the promised land. The song has an upbeat melody and it is supported wonderfully by Nic DiSanto who is oh so smooth on bass.

 

The band is not arrogant, showy or flashy on stage, but they are relaxed and project confidence, which creates an instant connection between them and their audience. All four members of the group project genuine warmth and it is easy to detect that they enjoy their gigs. The result is instead of reacting to the playing of DiSanto, Kevin Robinson (electric guitar) and seasoned veteran drummer Matt Blackie with the attitude “is that all you have got,” you marvel at their talent, especially Robinson as he magically weaves his chord progressions along the fretboard. As one song comes to a close the listener eagerly anticipates the beginning of the next one. Songs such as, “Last Dance,” invite you to move to the music, as Blackie kept his drumming smooth and stayed in the pocket, while Robinson and DiSanto lit up the club with their playing. Kevin Robinson’s finger work was spellbinding. This may be the song that does the best job of showcasing the individual talents of all the members of the band, as Diana Catherine demonstrates there is far more to her vocals than grit and a growl and that she possesses a beautiful voice that is never strained.

 

In contrast to “Last Dance,” the band rolled out one of their strongest songs “Walk,” a tune that is born straight out of the life of a traveling musician and the relationship between Diana Catherine and drummer Matt Blackie, who until recently also played with a couple of other bands. The song talks about Blackie going away on tour, but how he always returned to her and it is a fine tribute to one of the nicest couples whom you will meet in the music industry.  Diana Catherine’s signature harmonica introduces “Walk,” and she has a growl in her voice, which compliments subtle Zydeco overtones, and whether you are in Florida, Texas or Louisiana it would be difficult to imagine anyone seriously fighting off the urge to dance to this song. 

 

The growl in Diana Catherine’s vocals is even more evident on the band’s new southern rock song “Figure This,” when she sings the line, “I’m here to stay!” There was also a charming little song “Old Dog,” about a feisty dog named Mr. Mike who belonged to a friend. Mr. Mike has now passed away, but his spirit lives on in the lines, “This old dog struts around / This old dog will stare you down.”

 

Diana Catherine appears to have a song for every occasion and since the band was performing the evening after St. Patrick’s Day, it is only fitting that they roll out their drinking song “Sober Is Too Hard To Stay,” especially since Matt Blackie is of both Scottish and Irish descent. The band was joined on stage by another outstanding singer – songwriter Sarah Burton as she combined with DiSanto to sing the response to Diana Catherines’ vocal call.

 

Kevin Robinson donned a finger slide and Diana Catherine attached a capon to her guitar as she sang the emotive “Blueberry Eyes,” and during “another southern rock tune “Travelin’ Man,” Blackie and DiSanto seemed to feed off of one another’s energy as they rocked the house.  

 

It is difficult to determine which is more interesting, the song “Birdman,” or the back story about how the song was born. We would probably not do the story justice if we tried to retell it, but suffice to say that Diana Catherine talked about writing the song while the band was at a music festival and she noticed a picture of a naked man and a woman who was wearing antlers on her head.  Saxophonist Darrin Davis of the Toronto band The Strip joined Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters, as they closed out their set with “Birdman.”

ROOTSTIME.BE - DUTCH EZINE

Eerste CD van een viertal uit Canada , dat muziek maakt waar je gewoon wil op bewegen, dansen, fuiven en waar je zonodig zeker ook een beter humeur van krijgt. Globaal genomen hebben we hier te maken met een verzameling heel degelijke rootspopsongs, die de makelij van bekendere artiesten vaak overtreft . Diana heeft een leuke stem met een vettig kantje , maar dit is zeker niet de sterkste kant van dit stelletje outlaws. Neen, het is eerder de aanstekelijke fun en de passie die van de songs uitgaat die me meer aanspreekt . Bij de muziek die mij écht raakt kom ik vaak spontaan in Texas terecht maar blijkbaar komt deze noordelijke americana uit Toronto . Het zal me worst wezen, als de gevoelige snaar geraakt wordt, wordt ze geraakt. En dat is hier zeker het geval . Geen ingewikkelde muzikale toestanden of songteksten. Gewoon het gevoel van “we gaan er eens een lap op geven” dat hier domineert. Voor mensen die vergelijkingen willen met bekende namen : Texas Americana. 

Geopend wordt er met “Walk” een vlot countryrock deuntje met een crusty kantje. Bij de eerste nummers denk je zeker een stuk in de richting Lucinda Williams, mede door de breekbare, niet supervaste stem van Diana én de aangename melodiën en natuurlijk. Op “Sober (Is Too Hard Too Stay)” gaan we de rootsrock toer op met een leuke danstune waar we ergens de vrouwelijke variant van Neil Young menen te ontwaren. Mijn favoriet is “Long Road” een ijzersterk rocknummer met een geweldige beat, een dito gitaar en niet te vergeten : een tof , meezingbaar refrein. Dit wordt mijn lentehit van 2010 ! Als je dit nummer hoort wil je die bende zeker aan het werk horen en zien.

De nummers met een hoog Rock en Roll gehalte zijn hier voor mij gewoon het sterkst . Er staan immers ook wel een paar “vullertjes” bij, die voor mij niet echt hoeven en het geheel zeker niet ten goede komen. Luister naar de nummers 7 en 8 en je weet wat ik bedoel. Smaken verschillen natuurlijk, maar als ze de ietstragere tour opgaan wordt het naar mijn gevoel soms net iets minder . Maar life kan dat natuurlijk een totaal ander verhaal worden . Niet alle muziek is immers luistermuziek , je hebt ook nog zoiets als fuifmuziek…En daar is dit quartet wel hoorbaar het sterkste in.

Zo hoor je op “Train Song” duidelijk dat ze met een zeer goede producer , Bud Snyder, aan het werk geweest zijn . Blijkt dat die man ook met de Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Jeff Buckley, …. samengewerkt heeft . Dit nummer heeft dan ook een geweldige groove en is voor mij één van de toppers van deze plaat. We mogen zeker besluiten dat we hier te maken hebben met een kwalitatief meer dan gemiddelde CD met uiterst leuke muziek die de lentekriebels prettig aanwakkert….

Luc 'The Healer'

Diana Catherine shares her soul

Your Media Pass
By: Emily Santos

It's like being at home on a ranch while listening to some of Diana Catherine's singles. Her country singer-like voice is accompanied by the strong sounds of harmonicas, acoustic guitars, and keyboards. But that isn't all the talented Diana Catherine can do. Aside from the obvious country genre projected in many of her songs, Catherine's voice also reeks of folk and rock.
But who is Diana Catherine? Well, she is just another genuinely kind, laid back, Canadian gal - who just happens to be the lead vocalist of the Thrusty Tweeters, who, by the way, were named one of the top ten bands out of Ontario by CBC Radio.
Since releasing The Spirit Ranch in 2009, Catherine and the Tweeters have literally been touring non-stop. The foursome made a few appearances at Canadian Music Week (CMW) in Toronto and now they are packing their bags and preparing to hit the road again, visiting venues in Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
"We're focused on doing a national tour. We're going all the way across Canada and hoping to have somewhere around one-hundred dates by the end of the year," says Catherine. "We're going to be gone for a very long time. We're actually leaving in a couple of weeks - out East!"
In between Catherine's unpredictable schedule, she still manages to find time for worthy causes. Along with artists like The Barenaked Ladies and Jann Arden, The Thrusty Tweeters have become World Vision Artist Ambassadors - a cause that has Catherine passionate and emotional about.
"We've partnered with World Vision and we're hoping to spread the word about injustices happening throughout the world. We're trying to make a difference in these kids lives. It's something we all feel very strongly about. We come from a country where it is sometimes easy to take things for granted. Even on the toughest days we still have way more than what these kids have. They are starving," explains Catherine. "There are plenty of places around the world where people are hurting. We're musicians and we're in a position that people can trust us. We speak from our heart and hopefully we can change people's mind. Encourage them to give anything."
And while Catherine keeps her fingers crossed for a brighter future in poverty stricken countries, she also has her hopes set on one more thing: a duet with a legend. "I'd love to collaborate with Tom Petty! I think I would be tickled pink," she laughs. "He's my absolute favourite. He's the reason I picked up a guitar."

Interview with the Editor of RivitingRiffs.com - March 2010

People are using Twitter to tweet about just about anything these days; what they had for lunch, earthquakes, their favorite movies and a hot new song or singer, but now there is a band that you can feel completely justified about including in your tweets, Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters, a rockabilly – southern rock group from Toronto Canada, whose music is being played by radio stations across the southern United States and they have become a favorite of numerous radio stations in Florida. The band’s name is not an attempt to leverage technology, but instead originated as a result of a concert, but not one of their own.

 

Lead vocalist and songwriter Diana Catherine explains, “We (the band) are the type of people who are big jokers and we are all very sarcastic, people that like to tease and just have a good time. We were at a show and the guy performing said, ‘This song is the emotional thrust of the album.’  We all started giggling and after that we started saying things like, ‘Why don’t you thrust me anymore,’ and ‘the emotional thrust,’ as we started making up words like thrusty and thrustable. When Nic DiSanto (the bass player for the band) rolled in the next day, he said, ‘the thrusty tweeters,’ and I thought that is brilliant. It made me think instantly of the Traveling Wilburys and their song “Tweeter and the Monkey Man.” I love the Traveling Wilburys and they are one of my biggest influences. I just thought from that time on, “Thrusty Tweeters,” was the name for the band. 

 

In its current form, the band Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters is barely more than one year old, but this is not Catherine’s first band, drummer / percussionist Matt Blackie has been an integral part of several groups, bassist Nic DiSanto and guitarist Kevin Robinson, although still young, are veteran musicians. Diana Catherine also plays guitar and the harmonica. Yet despite the newness of the band, their debut album The Spirit Ranch Sessions has ignited a fever pitch throughout Canada and the southern United States. In Canada their music is being played on radio stations across the country and during the second week of March the band will be performing at Canada’s largest single annual music event, Canadian Music Week, an event which draws solo artists and bands from across Canada, as well as artists and music professionals from around the world. At last year’s event Swedish pop star Sofia Talvik who is now beginning to make a big splash in the United States, was one of the performers and it is rumoured that this year’s Canadian Music Week had requests for credentials from more than six hundred members of the media, quite an accomplishment in a country which has a population which is approximately eleven times smaller than that of America.

 

The Spirit Ranch Sessions opens with “Walk,” as Diana Catherine plays the harmonica and the infectious guitar chords immediately prompt swaying hips and feet shuffling to the music as the singer’s good vocals with a bit of a rasp, introduce a melody that invites the listener to sing along, while the lyrics speak to the life of a traveling musician traveling the Canadian highways.

 

“I am dating a musician and he is our drummer (Matt). He plays with a lot of other bands and so he is constantly out on the road. When we first started dating each other, it was kind of odd to be in a new relationship with somebody who was almost never there. It just felt new for a very long time and yet he would keep coming back to me, even though it had been a very long time. I was like, great this is still working and I know that you have to walk away from me, but as long as you come back, this is all still good. That is where the song comes from, the experience of him walking away and coming back,” she says.

 

As for the influences that have shaped her own musical style, Diana Catherine says, “I grew up listening to classic rock stuff and Tom Petty, who has undoubtedly been my biggest influence. He is the reason that I do this, and when I was young I heard him play the songs that he wrote and it made me want to pick up a guitar and to do that. I pretty much have done it ever since. There’s a lot of him (Tom Petty) in the way that I write, because he writes from a lot of different perspectives; a little bit of rockabilly, a little bit of boogie, a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll and countryish kind of songs. I think that really reflects the way that I write, but I have listened to a lot of other stuff along the way too. During my teenage years I listened to a lot of rock and even metal, and it got that frustration out. It is funny when you listen back to your old mixed CDs or tapes and you go, ‘Oh my God I can’t believe I listened to this.’ My musical tastes have grown and matured as I have. It was not all bad, it was just different, and it helped to carve me into who I am as a songwriter.”

 

In the later part of 2008, Diana Catherine’s career appeared to be on the upswing with performances in Nashville at a showcase of Canadian talent at which she performed with Linda McRae of Spirit of the West and blues singer-songwriter Colin Linden who was doing some work with Catherine’s friend Cindy Doire, joined Catherine and her band for a song. As she says, since they were a bunch of Canadians they decided to cover “The Weight,” by legendary Canadian musicians The Band, which consisted of Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko, as well as American Levon Helm.   That sojourn into the south was a filled with thrills and chills and the chills came as Diana Catherine and her band left for a mini tour of Florida.

 

“It didn’t start out very well, because we were having car troubles, we were running out of money and things were looking gloomy. We had a few of the venues screw us over for money and they didn’t pay us. We were feeling really low and we were thinking about cancelling the rest of the tour, but I am not a quitter and I will see it through even if it kills me. I decided that we had to soldier on and that decision led us to meeting Bud (their producer). If we had just quit and turned around, we wouldn’t have met Bud (Snyder) and none of this would ever have happened,” says Diana Catherine.

A chance meeting with Acoustic Pete at a Sarasota music venue where Diana Catherine and her band were performing, led to an invitation to stay at his place, which it turns out also was the same parcel of land and ranch on which Bud Snyder lived.

 

 

Casual conversation over some beers, it was revealed that Bud and Pete had been in the music business for a combined sixty-two years between them. “I asked what they had done and Bud said, “I have produced for the Allman Brothers and I was their live sound guy for twenty-two years.’ It is a good thing that all of us were sitting down, because we would have fallen down. He kept telling us about all of these people that he had worked with (other credits include Jeff Buckley) and it was just amazing. When we saw the recording studio it was like a dream come true. For me it was like walking into a musician’s heaven. They took us to the barn which has been converted into a studio and it has musicians’ quarters upstairs for recording musicians to stay there. We didn’t expect that, because you do not meet people like this randomly. We are like family now.”

 

The band had already been thinking about recording an album and they had been writing to the Canadian government to see if they could obtain some money through grants, so they could produce a CD. Once they met Snyder it was like a no brainer.

 

“When we met with Bud and we saw the studio we thought, ‘This is it. This is a sign?’ We were not able to get any money from the Canadian government, because we were spending money in the States and we would have had to spend all of the money in Canada or wouldn’t get anything at all. I took everything that I had, and everything that I could sell, saved up my money, and with some help from my parents, we were able to do this album. We met half way between what the guys wanted and what we could afford, then we went down there and we did it. As soon as we saw that studio and we met Bud there was no looking back.  Before we met Bud, Matt was going to produce the whole album, but then they decided to co-produce it,” Catherine recalls.

 

As for the lyrics of her songs, which often refer to the names of Canadian places or roads, Diana Catherine says, “I am very proudly Canadian and I love that I am from Canada. We have amazing musicians up here and we have an amazing country. We have our problems, but all in all it is a pretty good place to call home. I think that it is nice that you can leave those songs open ended for the cities that you are in and sometimes you can switch a line over and it gets the crowd excited, but generally, I like keeping them the way that I wrote them, especially (the names of) the Canadian highways, because those are some serious highways to drive. We are Canadian and we sing it that way, just like Americans will sing it about Chicago or New Orleans and they are singing it from where they are from, and I am singing it from where I am from. It is truer to who you are when you sing it that way.”

 

One of her songs “Blueberry Eyes,” is particularly personal. “I wrote that song in my backyard. I have a cherry tree in my backyard and I feel very lucky to have it. It is a beautiful tree and I like sitting under it in the spring and in the summer, because it is a nice place to think and to play the guitar. I wrote that song the day after Matt left for the first time. I sat under that tree and I sipped on some whisky, while I was reflecting on what I was feeling at that moment.”

 

In contrast to the more wistful mood of “Blueberry Eyes,” stands the raucous bar song “Sober (Is Too Hard To Stay),” which features the vocals of Randy Tracy. “What a character. He (Tracy) is the guy in the song. Every last drop of him is the guy that I am singing about. We met him in Florida at the Ranch and then we went out to see him at J.R.’s Old Packinghouse Café.  From the moment that we walked in and heard his voice, I said, ‘This guy has got to be on the album.’ I had to ask him to put backing tracks on “Sober,”  I had to make sure that everybody thought that it was okay and then we made it happen,” she recalls. 

 

The ninth track from The Spirit Ranch Sessions, “Come With Me Baby,” has a reference to which Americans will easily be able to easily identify. After an east coast tour and then a trip to Nashville, Catherine had a persistent melody in her head that just would not go away. She wanted to capture the energy that came with touring.

 

“It wasn’t quite working. I had that energy with the guitar, but I couldn’t find the lyrics. Nothing was coming out that struck a chord with me. It wasn’t coming out. I went down to Nashville and within two days that song came. It ended up still being about traveling, but more about my trip down there. That Johnny Cash line refers to (the fact) I was going to go hang out at Johnny’s grave. I wanted to put that in there that I wanted to hang out with Johnny,” she says.

 

If you are planning on taking in the Canadian Music Week between March 10th to 14th you may want to catch Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters at the Cadillac Lounge on Queen Street West in Toronto. Their gig does not start until 1 am, but then if you do not have a workshop to attend the next morning, you can always sleep in.

 

To listen to Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters you can click here

 

 

Interview by Joe Montague

Yorkton This Week - Yorkton Saskatchewan Newspaper

THE SPIRIT RANCH
SESSIONS
Diana Catherine and The Thrusty Tweeters
Indie
8.5-out-of-10

Good Americana music does not mean it comes from the U.S., and Toronto’s Diana Catherine and The Thrusty Tweeters prove that.
The music here has that folky heart based on solid lyrics which generally tell stories. The songs are all written by Diana DiGiovanni (Catherine), and she has a knack for the genre. This lady can write folk/country/rock that resonates with the current day.
Vocally, Catherine is the strength of the album. The voice lands itself somewhere between country star, soft rock diva, and a folkie that reminds a bit of Sylvia Tyson with an amped up sound.
This is another band which seems to have a pretty steady handle on what they are about. “Ladies and Gents, this group of unruly characters will spin yer marbles, cause yer feet to tap, and provide a warm fuzzy feeling all over; Sonically described as “Northern” Americana, these Tweeters are very thrustable. These boys (Matt Blackie, Nic DiSanto and Kevin Robinson), led by the cutting intensity of Diana Catherine, are a family of travelin’, misfit, musical gypsies who always bring a party to town,” detailed information at their website; www.dianacatherine.com
As a complete package, The Spirit Ranch Sessions are just that — complete. Not every song is an out of the park home run. Some songs, such as Long Road, one of the rockier cuts, may only be a double, to extend the baseball metaphor, but when you mix it into an album with great songs like Blueberry Eyes and Come With Me Baby, you still have a superior effort.
— CALVIN DANIELS

 

QUOTE :

"Authentic Americana from a Canadian band. Diana Catherine and The Thrusty Tweeters are tight and full of southern flavor. I dare you to listen to "Long Road" and not think of John Mellencamp or Lynyrd Skynyrd"

Jason Lawrence - Sony Music Entertainment Canada

AMERICANAROOTS.COM REVIEW

Posted by Don Zelazny |

Missed this one last year, but better late…. The Spirit Ranch Sessions by Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters; now this disc I flat out love!  Many things fall under our Americana umbrella,  but this is my favorite combination of ingredients.  Great songwriting,  killer voice, and some great energetic music with an electric touch (and killer band name!)  I love tons of great acoustic music, but there is just something about a plugged in electric guitar!

You may not have heard of this bunch, as they just got together in 2008 as  “a family of travelin’ misfit, musical gypsies who always bring a party to town.”  In their short existence the Toronto bunch have toured extensively across their native Canada playing what has been described as “Northern” Americana.  (I like the term Canadiana better myself!)  The band consists of Diana (Catherine) DiGiovanni) who wrote the tunes and provides lead vocals, guitars and harmonica;  Matt Blackie, drums;  Nic DiSanto, bass;  and Kevin Robinson, guitars.

The disc is full of great lively stuff, no snoozers here.  Highlights include the opener, Walk,  as well as TravelinManSober (Is Too Hard to Stay) and 4 Leaf Clover.   The glue that holds it all together is the powerful Sarah Borges type expressive voice of Diana.  Diana and band remind me a bit of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.  Similarly, Diana is the face of the group but her band was certainly not an afterthought and she relies on them for stellar support.  My rating: 5 Molsons!!

NEW QUOTE FROM WSLR RADIO GUMBO HOST

"Wow! This is a debut?  It's seems after just one listen that I've loved this album forever!  Great songs, a passionate singer with a terrific band equals an album that can't be ignored!  I can't believe these guys recorded this right under my nose in my hometown of Sarasota, and I didn't know about it.  It's early, but this is now the best new album I've heard this year and it may be some time before anything better comes along!"
Charly Lukhardt
WSLR-LPFM Sarasota Florida

Thrusty Tweeters take on the Salty Dawg

Vaughan

October 27, 2009 11:30 AM


BY ROSE DITARANTO

Vaughan resident Diana Catherine and band the Thrusty Tweeters hope what they feel is real life can be heard through their music. They also hope it will set a new standard for the folk rock genre.

"We write songs people can relate to. Well, we try to anyway," said Ms Catherine, who is lead vocal for the goup. She also plays harmonica and guitar.

The band wants their listeners to know they are not alone in what they feel about this thing called life.

"We just want people to have a good time," she added.

Ms Catherine has been musically inclined since she was 11. Her band mates Matt Blackie on drums, Nic DiSanto on bass, and Kevin Robinson on lead guitar, have also been playing since their early teens.

"Nic and I have known each other for eight years and Matt and Kev grew up together. We knew a lot of common people in our musical community and met through that community," she said.

"We consider ourselves really lucky to have found each other."

Along their mission of keeping it real, some subjects the Thrusty Tweeters examine musically is heartbreak and missing loved ones. They have also just recently become ambassadors for World Vision.

"We also like to be socially conscious and give back to the community since we come from families who never hurt for anything," said Ms Catherine.

The band's debut CD, The Spirit Ranch Sessions, was released Sept.17, and sold out in the first run.

The CD's title was inspired by the ranch in Sarasota, Florida, where the band recorded the album. It was produced by Bud Snyder, Grammy Award-winning producer for the Allman Brothers, and the Thrusty Tweeter's own Mr. Blackie.

"We don't have a label, we are independent, we fund everything ourselves. All the money we raise touring and selling CDs goes back to us to continue what we are doing," said Ms Catherine.

"It was a life-changing experience and a beautiful moment in our lives. We have had quite a bit of success considering we are still pups," said Ms. Catherine.

The band tours Ontario November and December.

To learn more about upcoming shows, visit Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters' My space page at www.myspace.com/dianassound or www.dianacatherine.com.

CATCH THEM LIVE: The Thrusty Tweeters band plays the Salty Dawg Roadhouse Restaurant, 9732 Hwy. 27 in Woodbridge Fri., Nov. 13 at 9 p.m.

Diana Catherine's Blueberry Eyes - by Joe Montague

 

Album: The Spirit Ranch Sessions / Band: Diana Catharine and The Thrusty Tweeters / Americana - Folk Rock

 A funny thing happened on the way to the Kate Voegele concert a couple of weeks ago, one of the opening acts was a terrific group, the Sarah Burton Band and over on the right hand side of the stage playing the harmonica and shakers, was a very good singer by the name of Diana Catharine who was providing background vocals. Well as fate would have it, after Kate Voegele’s gig was over and as I was leaving the music venue, I stopped outside to talk to members of the Sarah Burton Band, and Diana Catharine held out her brand new CD The Spirit Ranch Sessions, and asked me if our magazine would consider reviewing it. I said sure and since it was a long drive home, I popped it into the car’s stereo system. Since that time not too many days have passed by when Diana Catharine’s CD has not been played.  She is a very gifted singer and musician, who also penned the music and words for all eleven tracks which were recorded and mixed at The Spirit Ranch in Sarasota Florida. Catharine’s songs are for the most part a good blend of up-tempo and slower Canadiana (Americana) numbers with strong folk rock influences.  

Diana Catherine’s harmonica introduces us to the scintillating album opener “Walk,” a song that defines the rest of this fine record, as Catharine’s earthy, sassy and soulful vocals have you singing along to the catchy melody and lyrics. This is a song about two lovers going in opposite directions, one due to their music career and the other is staying behind, but this is an upbeat song, not a downer. The guitars courtesy of Kevin Robinson and Catharine, with bass guitar by Nic DiSanto, are spirited and get your feet tapping and your hips moving.  Matt Blackie is on drums and percussion, and provides backup vocals. Collectively they are known as Diana Catharine and The Thrusty Tweeters. “Walk,” is a fabulous song that deserves a lot of radio play.

Musically The Spirit Ranch Sessions is strong vocally and instrumentally, and most of the room for improvement will simply come with life experiences that will add to the evocative nature of Catharine’s vocal performance. Overall, this is a band that should not do a lot of tinkering; because once radio stations get hold of The Spirit Ranch Sessions the songs should climb the charts rapidly.

The magic continues with the second track “Blueberry Eyes,” which features more splendid guitar riffs, this time serving as the intro. This is another relationship song with references to St Clair West, an avenue in Toronto and that is in part what makes this album work so well, because Diana Catharine is a Canadian singing about landmarks and places with which she is familiar rather than referring to the American Midwest or the bayou of Louisiana as some Canadian artists are prone to do. Think of what it would be like for someone who had lived all their life in San Antonio Texas to be singing about the streets of New York City. After all, Gordon Lightfoot made a career of painting Canadian images against a canvass of well crafted songs and Diana Catharine is doing the same thing.

Catharine’s gritty vocals make the beer drinking rounder song “Sober (Is Too Hard To Stay),” and Randy Tracy who guests as a vocalist on this song, sounds like his head is hanging low in a western saloon.  The songs on this CD invite the listener to sing along and the choruses are simple, not philosophical, heaven knows right now Americans and Canadians just want some relief from the stresses they are facing and they want their music to entertain them. They need music that they can relate to, and that is not to suggest that everyone is going to relate to a beer drinking song, but there are plenty of other good alternatives on this record.

One gets the feeling that perhaps some of these songs were authored while Diana Catharine and The Thrusty Tweeters were touring, as there is a whole lot of traveling on this album with the aforementioned “Walk,” alluding to a musician who is getting ready to hit the road, and “Travelin’ Man,” and “Long Road,” spinning mid-disc.

Catharine’s vocals are softer on “Last Dance,” but on this one she is upstaged by the splendid duo of bassist Nic DiSanto and guitarist Kevin Robinson who are incredibly smooth, as Robinson plays in the pocket.

Diana Catherine’s understanding that to hold the listener’s attention her vocals cannot be the same on every song, is a strength that shines through, both on “Last Dance,” and the eighth track “4 Leaf Clover,” a tune on which her vocals have less grit, and while not quite airy, they certainly are lighter. This is a song about coming to the end of the road in both life and relationships, while realizing that you are mostly responsible for the situation that you are in through the choices that you have made.

The more languid pace that was so evident on “4 Leaf Clover,” is quickly abandoned for the darker “Lucinda,” which features guitars that cut like a razor and lyrics that are moody and foreboding.

“Train Song,” is more blues than it is Americana, and the soulful tones are back in Catharine’s vocals. There is a very good guitar solo and a blues shuffle is ever present as an accompaniment to Catharine’s vocals.

The Spirit Ranch Sessions closes out with “Drifting,” which is once again setup nicely by some good guitar work, but this time, much this time it is much more plodding, a suitable accompaniment to a singer who has lost her anchor and has lost her way.

When Riveting Riffs Magazine looks back over the past ten months Diana Catherine and The Thrusty Tweeters record The Spirit Ranch Sessions would certainly have to be considered among the top three Americana albums that have come our way.  They deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Eilen Jewell another fine artist who along with her band which is garnering a lot of respect from listeners and those in the American music industry. 

 

Visit Diana Catharine's myspace site to listen to her music

 

Reviewed October 2009


AUDIO REVIEWS  CANADIAN 

by Jaimie Vernon - Sept 11, 2009

 
 

DIANA CATHERINE AND THE THRUSTY TWEETERS
The Spirit Ranch Sessions
(Indiepool)

Don't let the name Thrusty Tweeters throw you off. This isn't some jokey traditional Country & Western throwback from Memphis, Tennessee. This album is a heaping helping of alt-country, blues, and a smattering of new and old female pop vocal sensibilities. Diana Catherine is the focal point of this release...and with good reason. She offers up a sweet alternative country charm without the trappings of Neko Case angst or snoozy Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) blandness. She's been compared, vocally, to Stevie Nicks and Chrissy Hynde but has neither the monotone gargling glass harshness of the former or the nasal mid-western flatness of the latter.
 
The first three songs out of the gate are rollicking fast shuffles - "Walk" showcases a Carl Perkins guitar feast (presumed to be played by guitarist Kevin Robinson); "Blueberry Eyes" gives one of the few 'Canadian' sounding tracks which recalls Lightfoot, Murray MacLaughlin or even Bruce Cockburn's earlier work; and "Sober (Is Too Hard To Stay)" is a lyrical bed of confessional drinking-gone-wrong.

Just when you think drummer Matt Blackie is stuck in a rolling steam-train rut, along comes a change-up with a more traditional blues number called "Travelin' Man" where Blackie and bassist Nic DiSanto lock step for a sultry 12-bar showcase. They take another stab at the 1-4-5 with a sassy bump-and-grind number called "Train Song" later on the album.

Much of the album rests on variations of the alt-country feel with the likes of a Dylanesque "Come With Me Baby" complete with harmonica which gives it a peppering of Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels"; "4 Leaf Clover" walks a more 'Americana' route and could be the book end to "Blueberry Eyes"; and "Lucinda" takes the power of "Train Song", and wraps it in a Linda Barry -- of 4 Non-Blonde fame -- scorching vocal treatment.

Between and amongst all of the band's bread and butter tracks comes a few welcome curve-balls when they move away from Country all together. For instance, they're quite adept at modern pop courtesy of "Long Road" which not only shows Diana Catherine can out-sing Sheryl Crow, but writes a better song (at least compared to Crows last few albums worth of output); "Last Dance" has the most dynamic arrangement as it recalls some of the best of the 1970s A.M. Top40 radio chanteuses like Maria Muldaur, Rita Coolidge and even Chi Coltrane.

Without a ballad on the album to lull the listener into a false sense of relaxation, the proceedings cool down effectively at the very end with what used to be called an 'album track'; "Drifting" is aptly named as it doesn't rely on a traditional hook and chorus arrangement to engage the listener, but instead develops from a rolling wave of moody guitar and dreamy vocals as though the band were wandering off into the sunset. The album ends before you know it...and you end up wanting to hear it again.
http://www.myspace.com/dianassound

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ 1/2 out of 5

 By: Sheena Lyonnais
September 15, 2009
 
Every woman has a little bit of country in her, which is why I am grateful for Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters debut album The Spirit Ranch Sessions.  She harbours the female integrity of Shania Twain, but with a folkier, bluegrass feel and less pent up poppy sexuality.  Recorded in Florida and produced by Bud Snyder (The Allman Brothers) and drummer Matt Blackie, the Spirit Ranch Sessions grabs harmonicas and charm by the horns and tosses them in a paddock with some old school blues influences and Stevie Nicks’ storytelling.


While the majority of the tracks have a chill vibe, Diana Catherine embraces a little bit of rockabilly flare in standouts “Walk,” “Sober (It’s Too Hard To Stay)” and “Lucinda.”  In a city of rock’n’roll, I sometimes forget about the talented Toronto musicians who dare to experiment and defy conventions.   This record puts me back to when I was 18 and I’d wear a torn mini skirt, a leopard print cowboy hat and use fake IDs to get into Nashville North (now West 7) to drink Whisky Sours just outside the town where I grew up.
 
This is a stylistic debut that is original and different yet manages to draw from notable classic influences such as Tom Petty.  Lyrically, it is a ton of fun, though I admit when “Blueberry Eyes” mentions St. Clair West it kind of threw me off.  Really, we have this kind of kickass country in Toronto?  Don’t believe me?  Give the Spirit Ranch Sessions a spin and it won’t be long before you grab your girlfriends and head to Dakota Tavern.
 
TTTT (out of 5)

The New Women Of Canadiana -GWNtertainment Magazine

Canada has had a long history of genre and gender defying female singers and singer-songwriters who've elevated their craft to global success. From the First Ladies of Canadian song Anne Murray and Ginette Reno to the folk legendry of Joni Mitchell, Sylvia Tyson and Edith Butler to the power rocking Lee Aaron, Darby Mills, Alannah Myles and Sass Jordan to the angst-in-your-pants Grrrrl Power of Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne and Bif Naked to the soulful R & B stylings of Shawne Jackson, Jackie Richardson, Jully Black and Deborah Cox. Every pop permutation has been explored and celebrated to international success.

So, who are the current women on the horizon to push the boundaries and borders of music in Canada and beyond its shores? Take a look...


Diana CatherineDiana Catherine (And The Thrusty Tweeters)
It all began in the summer of 2008. Diana Catherine teamed up with her boys, the Thrusty Tweeters, to play  live and soon they were gracing the stages of summer festivals such as Come Together, the Mariposa after party, and WAM in Saskatoon. This led to successful tours across Canada, the southern United States and where they continue to grow their fan base, and call home, Toronto.


In their most recent venture Diana and the Tweeters traveled down to Sarasota, Florida to record their new album, "The Spirit Ranch Sessions", with Bud Snyder, studio experienced engineer/ producer who has worked with such legendary greats as Tom Dowd. Producer/Engineer credits Include The Allman Brothers, Greg Allman, Dickey Betts, Warren Haynes, Gov’t Mule, Jeff Buckley, Derek Trucks and the list goes on.

The album takes you through a barrage of rock, blues, country and soul. You can't quite put your finger on their sound but it feels familiar. Neko Case may need to look in the rear-view mirror because there's a new Alt Country Queen on the horizon.
http://www.dianacatherine.com
http://www.myspace.com/dianassound

BAD TEMPERED ZOMBIE

Monday, August 17, 2009

now the girls sing

 

Allison Brown, Sarah Burton, Diana Catherine
Ironwood Stage and Grill
Aug 16/09


The Ironwood Stage and Grill is the sort of place where you can invite
the performer out the back door to the parking lot, in order to conduct an interview in the urban assault vehicle, and nobody thinks twice about how weird that is. The front door is propped wide open, the stage is a tiny triangle at the back, a mere foot off the floor, where friends of the band will wander on and off to add a few vocals or some crazy harmonica, if the song demands it. Bar staff will cheerfully jump in and move an empty table or two over to the side if people feel like dancing, and with the grill going all night long, you never know whether that next song is going to be tempered by the wafting scent of grilled steak or some melty cheese.

We got there early, so that I could meet up with Allison Brown to ask her some questions about her cross-Canada Greyhound tour and the new album she just finished recording at David Essig's studio on Protection Island off the BC coast. When Allison was called up to the stage to start the show early, Urban Blonde (my charming date for the evening) and I chose a table right near the front, ordered drinks and settled back to hear an evening of roots and folk rock, done girl style.

In keeping with the lack of formality at the Ironwood, Allison simply walked onto the stage, looking ever so demure in her flowered dress and sensible sandals and her glasses, but when she let loose with those first notes, all preconceptions were out the window. With a gorgeous voice that seemed way too big for one person, and accompanying herself on guitar and ukulele, she easily sang over the building ruckus from the drunk guys at the front of the bar. And she was remarkably good-natured about it as well, fielding shouted requests for Iron Maiden with charm and an almost believable regret that sorry, she couldn't play that one.

Next on the playbill, Sarah Burton upped the rock factor in the folk rock evening, starting out with an accompanying drummer, inviting Allison Brown back onto stage to join her on "totally trad" Wayfaring Stranger, and finally morphing into a full band sound when playbill partner Diana Catherine brought her crazy harmonica playing and her bassist to the stage for several songs. They've obviously played together quite a lot, judging from the tightness of the sound, and it came as no real surprise that they had pocketed $30 from busking Tom Petty's Free Falling the day before at the Banff bus station.

Sarah Burton's incredible mullet came dangerously close to overshadowing the music, however. Scandinavian blonde to play up the no makeup look, and unevenly hacked, it was simply a marvel of DIY barbering. At the risk betraying my gender by focusing on a female artist's physical attributes, I have to say that I could not take my eyes off her hair all night, that's how awesome it was. Definitely keep the mullet, Sarah!

During the break, Allison and I retired to the urban assault vehicle to chat, so that my Barbie Cub Reporter recorder would be able to record more than just those drunk guys over by the tv. When we returned, Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters were already wailing away on stage, stealing hearts with their ballsy bluesy sound.

As I often do at shows, especially those featuring emerging musicians, I bought a pile of cds at the Ironwood that night, but I regret only buying one copy of Diana Catherine's release, The Spirit Ranch Sessions, because I would love to send each of you a copy. It's that good. It's an album that even manages to capture some of the stage presence that Diana oozes. You may not be able to see that swagger on the disc, but you can sure hear it in her voice and in her insane attack on the harmonica.

My advice to you is if you get the chance to see any of these incredible musicians while they are touring the country, just do it. Better yet, see them all on one playbill. I guarantee you will have one memorable night to tuck away into your mental scrapbook, and I am willing to bet you'll have a few new cds as well.

Diana Catherine & The Thrusty Tweeters - The Spirit Ranch Sessions

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)

Diana Catherine and The Thrusty Tweeters, The Spirit Ranch Sessions

July 28, 2009

First off, I wanted to get the inside scoop on Diana Catherine and these Thrusty Tweeters—just who they are really? Well, if you’re going to go strictly by the definitions of thrust & tweeters then they would be a band pushing or driving their music with force through a small loudspeaker. The first part maybe correct, but the latter not so much. This Canadian group is definitely making a push forcefully, but there is nothing small or small-sounding about the new album, The Spirit Ranch Sessions.

This bunch of thrust-worthy, tweeter-heads is made up of: Diana Catherine on lead vocals, guitar & harmonica—Nic DiSanto on bass & backing vocals—Matt Blackie on drums, percussion & backing vocals—and Kevin Robinson on guitar. This record offers an array of musical genres from folk to southern rock to country to roots rock to straight rock to even elements of blues. I, myself, would label this album Rustic Rock because of its countryesque charm. The CD has a real down-on-the-range, country-prairie type vibe. The sound is very rootsy, rugged and earthy while also rockin’ at the same time.

One major factor on this new record is the voice of singer/songwriter, Diana Catherine. She sings with such passion and conviction through every line and note. Her heartfelt and soulful approach to singing is without a doubt one of the shining moments on the record. You can really feel her emotions just by the way she vocalizes on The Spirit Ranch Sessions. I also loved the kick-ass guitar solos that were simply just sweeet & thrusty!

Catherine adds a nice touch of the harmonica to some of these tracks. The harmonica playing really gives that train-keeps-a-rollin’ tone and perfectly matched up on the bluesy number, “Train Song”. One of my favorite tracks on the record is “Sober (is too hard to stay)” because of its fun, carefree attitude displayed by Catherine & company. The song offers some real cool energy that could even be coined as a rebel-rousing anthem with a joking punch. I’d dedicate this one to all you barflies out there who like to have a good time.

Overall, Diana Catherine and The Thrusting Tweeters are bringin’ the heat with this one. Turn up your tweeters and get ready to thrust full range ahead. For more on this Canadian foursome and their latest release, The Spirit Ranch Sessions, SKOPE out www.dianacatherine.com.

By Jimmy Rae

Rating: ★★★★☆

Party inKingston Review


The Spirit Ranch Sessions
Diana Catherine & the Thursty Tweeters
by Matt Hartwick
Entertainment Editor
July 2009

Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters - The Spirit Ranch Sessions combines blues, Country, Bluegrass and Rock and catchy guitar licks.

The opening song to The Spirit Ranch Sessions is “Walk”, the song opens up to a wicked harmonica intro. The intro sucks you right into the song and to the album. The harmonica has a Bob Dylan and a Neil Young influential sound and also to me the harmonica pretty much drones out the acoustic guitar until the drums kick in. In addition to the wicked harmonica I really like how the song is simple there isn’t any added sounds or the song has not been tinkered with for hours in the mastering stage. The song has a simple and a back to basics sound, this is what also draws to me the song and to most of the album because of the simplicity of it all. The electric guitar that kicks in to the song when the song is about three quarters done has a major impact to the song, the guitar takes away the need for vocals, the electric guitar almost overplays the rest of the instruments.

What I like the most out of this album is the fact that songs represent what people are about. These are actual real life songs, not the so called “songs” that we are lead to believe that are real but we all know that there is a good chance nothing in the songs is ever going to happen to most of us. A case in point song would be the song “Sober (Is Too Hard To Stay)”. Now here is real lyrical song, have a listen to the song a couple of times and you will see exactly what I am talking about. This is why me and the guys at work have favoured this album over most songs that are playing right now on the radio( We Can Relate). Here is a sample of the lyrics that open the song

Well I like to drink
And I like to fight
And I like to smoke them big fat cigars outside those honky tonks and bars.
pay check is coming and I’m going to drink my pay cheque away

Just like the first two songs on the album the song has stuck to the basics, the guitar intro at the start was a good addition to the hook of the song but the lyrics took the glory. About three quarters of the way through the song, backup vocals start up after each line which adds a little bit extra to the song, The backup vocals are strong enough that you really take notice.

“Lucinda” is a fine mixture of a couple of genres that come together. There is a rock element, a Country Sound and mixed with a little blues. The vocals have the Rock and blues edge to them but mostly rock because of the heaviness of the vocals. The Country touch in “Lucinda” comes from the acoustic guitar. The slide guitar and the riff along with the vocals gives the song that little blues feel. The Rock edge of the song comes from the heavier vocals, the electric guitar and the overall sound of the song. What I like the most out of the song is the how the vocals follow along with the guitars in the song. The placement of “Lucinda” was a good idea because the song still leaves you wanting more after ninth song.

You can pick up your copy of the album at www.DianaCatherine.com.

Matt Hartwick
m.hartwick@partyinkingston.com

Halifax News Net
Rocker chick duo kicks off tour in Halifax
SUZY TEUBNER
Halifax News Net

When Toronto singer/songwriter Andrea Ramolo decided to set out on tour, she thought the East Coast would be a good place to start.
Ramolo, 28, who partnered with fellow musician Diana Catherine, 27, for the Thank You for the Ride tour, is making stops in Halifax at The Seahorse on Oct. 3, and the Wired Monk on Oct. 4 before heading to the Fairtrade Community Cafe in Truro on Oct. 5, and then on to New Brunswick.

CREEM MAGAZINE
SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Diana – The Great Catastrophe Of The Sixth Sign (self released) :: Diana DiGiovanni sure knows how to write a song that's full of drama and passion—and on this excellent EP she slings together five of her best. Then, armed with only her acoustic guitar, she opens up her heart full of soul and sings them with a voice that'll validate your very being. So check her out and learn something important about yourself.

The Peaceful Revolution Radio
Song: No Not alone

Wow girl, we decided to further look into what you had to offer and unanimously agreed here at The Peaceful Revolution to elect this song of yours as our tentative anthem of our Stations intent, for it depicts perfectly compared to other artists we have looked at, that which it takes at the beginning, in the middle, and indeed throughout the entire mission of what our Radio Station's entire objective is. Once again, we are honored by your gifted talent being represented at, The Peaceful Revolution.




Eagletalents Radio
Song: No Not Alone

Diana Catherine is an Artist is the truest meaning of the word. Armed with talent and a songwriter spirit, the future is a wide open recipe for success. Welcome Diana to IAC and Eagletalents Radio...peace

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Buy Diana's Music Here

Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters: The Spirit Ranch Sessions The Spirit Ranch Sessions - Diana Catherine and the Thrusty Tweeters

Diana Catherine- The Great Catastrophe of the Sixth Sign The Great Catastrophe of the Sixth Sign - EP - Diana

Left of the Sun LeFt Of ThE sUn

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