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BIG BAD WORLD  (Windeagle)  •  Diesel

I'm driving home from work, punching impatiently around the radio dial looking for something unfamiliar and pleasant to listen to, and I come across a sound that catches me ever so gently. Rather than trying to label the appeal in musical terms, I think I'd just call this quality kindness. Traffic starts inexplicably backing up, I'm muttering "What now, what now...?"--but here is this younger-sisterly voice saying something to me about surrendering. Maybe she knows something I don't. "Okay then," I think, "let's just shift down and stick around." (Fifteen minutes later we crawl past an accident, feeling lucky.) The station signal has been getting a little sketchy, probably straining from one of the college stations up north as I drive further south, but I stay tuned to it, hoping to find out who that song was by. Finally the fading DJ says, "And before that, we heard 'I Surrender' by Diesel."

Diesel. It seems an improbable name for a band with that kind of sound. But looking into it online when I get home, I find that even more improbably Diesel is the given name of the singer herself. And from Hawaii? Everybody has a story. Actually she's from the U.S. Midwest by way of Hawaii and now settled in Nashville. Big Bad World is her second CD.

There are a lot of artists out there whose music you'd love if you could only know it exists. Each time I accidentally encounter something I enjoy amidst everything I'm not interested in, it's like a little miracle. I can't even say what types of music I listen to anymore, now it's strictly on an artist by artist basis, just a question of whether or not an individual has and does something that gives me what my moods demand. I don't know what genre this album supposedly belongs to, but what I respond to is the way she sounds like somebody who'd make a long drive much more agreeable. (Having been introduced to Diesel while commuting may be partly responsible for this impression--hey, maybe her name isn't really so at odds with her music after all.) There's some country and some pop in the writing and production, it's got a tenderness but it kicks as well, and though you can imagine her fronting a band when she plays live, she's probably mostly gigging solo with an acoustic guitar.

Well, that could be a million people, but Diesel's got something all her own. Listen to the clips, they'll tell you what you need to know. And when you're over at cdbaby.com picking up Big Bad World, check out her debut album, I'll Be Ready In A Minute, as long as you're in the neighborhood.  
• James Meyers

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