Maybe it's folk or country. Americana, pop. Maybe even a little blues. However you classify it, one thing is clear -- it's all about the voice. And the owner of the voice is Madi Diaz.
Raised in the Amish country of Pennsylvania in a highly musical family, Diaz is an alumna of the Paul Green School of Rock, an after-school music institute in Philadelphia, and also prominently featured in the documentary made about the school in 2005.
She toyed with the idea of exploring her passion for drawing after high school, but luckily for us she decided to head to Boston's Berklee School of Music. At Berklee, she met Frank Charlton and Martin Cooke, two up-and-comers in the school's music production and engineering program. The three began work on a full-length album, and Charlton put together a group of Berklee's finest roots rock instrumentalists to play the sessions. The group would later become Madi's touring band, with Kyle Ryan on lead guitar, Adam Ollendorff on pedal and lap steel, dobro and guitar, Adam Popick on bass and Zach Mangan on drums and percussion.
Skin and Bone has been out for over a year, but her new EP, featuring the more popish songs that you heard on her MySpace page, is coming out in November and it's called Ten Gun Salute.
Now based in Nashville, the sound Diaz and her coterie of contributors found and perfected was featured on Diaz's debut solo album, Skin and Bone, released a little over a year aho. At the center of the sound is Diaz's voice, powerful but still soft, with the stylings of classic country, a slight twang and personality in spades. It's a hybrid sound that puts the vocal on a pedestal, and with good reason. We particularly like "Emmaline" and the more rock 'n' roll sounds of "Rust" from the album. But next week Madi and crew will be releasing a brand new EP called Ten Gun Salute, of which we've become very fond of the songs "Nothing at All" and "Just a Kiss". Both lean a little more on the pop side and can be heard on her MySpace. "Just a Kiss" even features the xylophone, and who doesn't love a xylophone?
Other than picking up a copy of Skin and Bone, you can also catch Diaz and her boys on the road in the next few weeks promoting the album. Here are live renditions of Diaz and Ryan performing "Joan" and "Pictures" at a Cherry Lane Publishing showcase in April of this year.
Madi Diaz tourdates
11.11.08 â€“ Philadelphia, Penn. (World CafÃ© Upstairs)
11.12.08 â€“ Baltimore, Md. (Baltimore Chop)
11.13.08 â€“ New York (The Bitter End)
11.14.08 â€“ New York (The Living Room)
11.15.08 â€“ Cambridge, Mass. (Toad)
11.19.08 â€“ New York (The Living Room)
11.29.08 â€“ Chattanooga, Tenn. (St. Elmo Holiday Fest)
12.3.08 â€“ Nashville, Tenn. (The Basement)