When you listen to Dierdre, it really is all about the voice—her voice. When you hear her speak on stage, the tone and timbre of her words are unassuming and plain, giving no clue about her potential. However, once the music starts, your attention is transfixed by the sheer, directed power that streams from her mouth.
I had only heard her in recordings days before her album release party at The Hall in Scottsdale (a.k.a. Pranksters Too) on Saturday, 3 June, 2017. In what little I heard, she had a deep, sultry voice reminiscent of the vocals from ‘70s bands like Rainbow. When I found out that she would be performing live, I definitely wanted to attend the show and write a review.
While other bands were on the bill both before and afterwards, time restraints, as well as fatigue from a long, busy week limited my attention to Dierdre alone (my apologies to Painted Bones and GUITARZAN for this omission). From the first note, her vocal power was breathtaking and definitely seemed inspired by a number of high-powered vocalists, both male and female, from the 1970s. However, in order for her to maintain an audience’s attention, she needs to have the proper playing and songwriting backing her. That voice would not go very far without it, and in terms of her backing instrumentation, she was surrounded by a wealth of talent. Her drummer and strummers were all old salts on the Rock and Roll stage in their 40s and 50s, playing Hard Rock in a mid-to-late ‘70s mode. Her energy and their playing carried the night from applause to applause.
At one point in the performance, she took the time to thank the musicians and her songwriting team for all of their hard work and this gratitude was well-deserved. For someone as talented as Dierdre, however, I think she needs a team of songwriters that are even better. The songs they played that night were good, mind you, but for Dierdre to meet her potential, she needs to sing compositions that are great. Mind-blowing vocals and mind-blowing instrumentation need mind-blowing compositions to complete the circle. If she had this, I have no doubt that this local girl would hit it big on the national stage.
If I had any criticisms of Dierdre herself, I would venture to say that there were times when she was, for all of her pure power, a little too reserved—holding back maybe a little too much. At one point in the set, between bites of a very excellent cheeseburger, I was thinking about all of the vocalists that she was reminding me of, when she broke into the intro of Black Dog. I have strong opinions of bands doing covers of Led Zeppelin songs because, most groups will either cheapen the songs, or they end up sounding too derivative of Zeppelin. My rule of thumb is that only Zep should be playing Zep, but when I heard Dierdre and her band begin to play, I thought that I was actually listening to a group that might have the worthiness to rock it. It was a pretty faithful, non-derivative performance of the song. The only thing that I was wishing was that Dierdre would just let it go. She was well-rehearsed and measured, and I wanted to hear her go crazy with this piece. That is what it needs. I know it is there, and I know that she can do it if she wants to—I can hear it. I wanted to hear some of that Robert Plant manic madness in her voice. It would have sent the song over the top for me.
This band can rock it, she can really belt it, and this performance really did make it. Never mind about my quibbling points or criticisms—Dierdre is an artist to watch, and I recommend that people experience her for themselves. She will be playing The Marquee in Tempe on 1 July and I plan to be listening to her again then. I hope to see you all there.
Due to her name, Dierdre is not the easiest artist to find online. Searches on Google often end up showing Celtic music. To find her, remember the spelling rule of I before E and not the other way around that you usually find with other spellings of that name. If you want to quickly find her on Facebook, just click here to go to her page directly, and get access to cuts from her new album I’ve Come to Life.
Photography by Surrealsister.
The Dierdre band is:
Dierdre Evans: Vocals
Jimmy Caterine: Vocals, Guitar
Jimi Powers: Vocals, Guitar
James Kulon: Vocals, Bass
Dwain Miller: Drums
I’ve Come to Life track list:
1. Hit Or Miss 2. Hold Steady 3. Dead Inside 4. Wasted 5. Suffer 6. Thundercloud 7. Black Widow 8. Life Coming Down 9. I’ve Come To Life 10. Between The Lines 11. No Way Out 12. Your Heart Is Black