By Jorge Antonio Vallejos
Braithwaite and Whiteley’s new CD is appropriately named Night Bird Blues as Braithwaite’s voice soars on every track. Pulling her listeners in, keeping them, and then letting them fly away in between songs only to come back is what Braithwaite does.
Diana Braithwaite not only shines in studio where you can pause, stop, break, and regroup to make the best CD possible, she is just as talented live. A packed crowd at the Silver Dollar Room in Toronto, January 15, 2011, had the pleasure of seeing Braithwaite sing, clap, and dance in celebration of Blues legend Curly Bridges’ 77th birthday.
An award winner both in Canada and the U.S, Braithwaite introduced herself to birthday partiers as a descendent of runaway slaves who came to Canada via the Underground Railroad. Singing songs of protest and history, the birthday crowd was into Braithwaite and her partner Chris Whiteley from beginning to end.
Just as captivating is Night Bird Blues. Starting off with a slow tune titled It’s a Brand New Day, a song of love lost and found, a violin accompanies Braithwaite’s opening, “It’s a brand new day”. For a first song it’s fitting: new CD, new song, new day, new experience.
“Put your troubles behind you,
and love, it may find you.”
A slow horn breaks up the song leaving time for thoughts of heartbreak and heart building. Its lyrics are truthful but not preachy, and very soothing. It’s A Brand New Day is a short lullaby that could be used in films and commercials.
All The Rubies is old school Blues, this writer’s favorite type of Blues: broken heart lyrics! A slow guitar melody plays throughout as Whiteley sings and Braithwaite hums. A gambler sings of money loss, his weeps and moans, and of course losing his love; “The gal I loved left me all alone.”
“All the rubies in Walsagee cannot help me win that girl,” sings Whiteley.
There are no loud yells or moans in All The Rubies yet you still feel Whiteley’s pain. His teary lyrics are soothed with Braithwaite’s vocal balm. You could fall asleep to her hum, feel safe, and dream of having all the rubies needed to get your love back.
As much as this writer likes old school Blues it does get tiring to hear of the woman who likes money and jewelry and leaves her man for someone who can provide such things. Many women could care less for material possessions and would take the poor man who treats her right over the sugar daddy who’s an ass. Where are those songs? Those are songs and CDs this writer wants to own and review.
Night Bird Blues has different Blues songs throughout: Judge and Jury Blues, Night Bird Blues, Bumblebee’s Blues, and the Greedy Blues. Braithwaite and Whiteley have a diverse collection demonstrating how vast the Blues are and can be. Whether you are listening to Braithwaite and Whiteley live or in the comfort of your own home, once you give them your ear, or pop the CD in, you might just stay up all night.