Perigon: Full Circle
Born in West Tennessee, Dianne Davidson was singing and writing songs when she was just a child. She formed her first band when she was eleven. She completed her musical education by performing in bars, nightclubs and listening rooms from Tennessee to Greenwich Village. She recorded her debut album 1971’s “Baby” on Janus records when she was only 17. She followed up with 1972’s “Backwoods Woman” and 1973’s “Mountain Mama”. She had another album “1974” in the can but the label went broke before it could be released. In 1988 she released the album “Breaking All The Rules” on Olivia/Second Wave Records.
Davidson has performed with, and provided backing vocals for, Barry Manilow, Tammy Wynette, Jimmy Buffet, B.B. King and Leon Russell. She also toured as a member of The Linda Ronstadt Band. She is featured in an upcoming documentary “Invisible”. Davidson states “In the moments when I was alone and sad and lost, this album was brought forth from my soul. In all the years I was away, this dream never left me…What started as two songs for inclusion in the documentary, “Invisible”, became a being of its own. A labor of love, created by the joining of loving and incredibly insightful musicians and engineers…The addition of the genius of Larry Chaney…it had to be. I’ve always self-produced my records; this one had to be shared. The collaboration was not new; the musical pairing goes back to 1977. But in this moment in time, it was a perfect marriage of creative forces. Every note, every sound, every choice of players, every recording technique. It wasn’t always right the first time, but it was the second time…30 years from the last album. I’m sure most thought I was finished. I wasn’t. And I’m not now.”
The ensemble includes Davidson, acoustic guitar and vocals; Chaney, guitars; Austin Wireman, Tim McDonald and John Salem, keyboards; Leigh Maples, electric bass; Dave Roe, upright bass; Nancy Gardner, drums; Jim Thistle, percussion; Barry Walsh, accordion; and the horn section of Roger Bissell, trombone; Denis Solee, sax; and George Tidwell, trumpet. The string section includes Gideon John Klein, cello; Donny Reis, viola; Lisa Silver, violin; Marianne Osiel, English horn; and background vocalists Michael Mishaw and Vickie Carrico. Appearing as special guests are vocalist Ruthie Foster, and slide guitarist Mac Gayden.
All but two of the songs are Davidson originals written between 1978 and 2019. Davidson opens with “Just Out of Reach” and we once again get to hear her warm and beautiful voice; the horn section adds additional color to the production.
“Subtle Touch” features a bluesy duet with vocalist Foster, Gayden’s slide, and McDonald’s keyboards. The lyrics are fabulous, “you make me beg for mercy, when you love me with that subtle touch”. “Precious Boys” is another fine song with Chaney’s baritone guitar and Walsh on accordion; first recorded for inclusion in the documentary “Invisible”, the original version is also included.
Davidson states “Sounds of The City” “was written when I was on the road with the Moody Blues and started losing track of days and places”. Featured is beautiful lead from Davidson with backing from Mishaw and Carrico “quiet, listen to the sounds of the city, a strange and lonely site on the road”; the song was previously recorded by Tracey Nelson in 1978. The frenetic “Solitary” features the horn section of Bissell, Solee, and Tidwell. “They All Leave” is an emotional song about elusive relationships, featuring Chaney’s guitar and the backing vocalists.
The first cover is Gretchen Peters “Over Africa”; Davidson’s vocal is fabulous. The magnificent production includes keyboardist Chaney’s exotic samples and loops, Thistle’s percussion and Kenya’s Maasal Tribal Choir. The other cover is Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” which is a passionate plea as performed by Davidson.
On “The Island” Davidson sings “I’m never going back to the Island…nothing but wind and sand”. The closer “Missing You Tonight”, is the ultimate regret song, featuring Davidson’s beautiful vocal and acoustic guitar, Klein’s cello, Osiel’s English Horn, and a string arrangement by Chaney.
Davidson’s music is chilling, emotional but hopeful, as she starts on her new beginning. A success of enormous magnitude. Davidson is magnificent.