Diane Zeigler is one of the shining stars of the contemporary acoustic music circuit. She first appeared on the scene in 1995 with a recording called Sting Of The Honeybee on Rounder Records. She quickly generated a buzz that only a lucky few have known. She became a favorite performer at festivals and concert venues alike. And as quickly as her star rose, and at the top of her game, she disappeared, choosing to devote herself to her husband and growing family. These Are The Roots is Diane Zeigler's triumphant return to the recording studio, and to live performances. It has been well worth the wait.
Zeigler possesses a lovely, bell-like voice that shimmers and shines. It is a beautiful instrument. Her songwriting skills match the quality of her voice-rich, descriptive and filled with deep emotion.
"What You've Always Known" opens the recording. It's a song of faith and support for a partner who is weary and somewhat troubled:
If you just raise your voice to the highest star
On the wings of the words that can fly that far
You could see straight into the deepest dark
And you would find what you've always known
With Zeigler on your side, how can you lose?
These Are The Roots describes that place we all call home in a new and meaningful way. Zeigler manages to capture the push/pull of the place where we have our roots. Zeigler's guitar is front and center, and her nimble playing is captivating. Able support is provided by husband Geoff Sather on bass, Dean Sharp on drums, Josh Colow on electric guitars and Barry Stockwell on harmony vocals.
One of the recording's best cuts is "I Know My Baby's Cry." It perfectly describes the songwriter's two roles-that of a mother of young children and that of a performer who belongs to the open road-and how her family remains at the heart of all she does.
The song "Forgiveness" is desert island material. It's so simple and lovely that you would hate to leave it behind.
Dean Sharp's drums, Zeigler's poetic lyrics and T-Bone Wolk's accordion lend some mystery and grace to "This Too Shall Pass."
"You Were Welcome Here" is a gentle song with a powerful message of memory and love. It tells the story of a woman who gave up her child for adoption when she was more or less a child herself. With Zeigler's gorgeous, simple vocal and guitar, the poignancy of the tune comes through:
Sometimes at night when the wind is right
It can haunt my memory still
It happens every December
I think it always will
Listening to Diane Zeigler is one of life's pleasures. These Are The Roots is a beautifully realized work from one of the most talented singer-songwriters New England has produced. Let's hope that she continues to tend to her music as well as her family, and continues to produce the kind of music represented here-pure, moving and simply beautiful.
-Roberta B. Schwartz