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Diana Jones at Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Event:
Acclaimed folk singer returns to the UK
American singer-songwriter Diana Jones performs at Birmingham's Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, on October 13, 2021, as part of a much-anticipated UK tour.

Diana Jones, Songs To A Refugee, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham, Folk Music, Richard Thompson, Peggy Seegar, The Chapin Sisters
(pic: Ashlea Green)


The run of shows, which conclude at The Stables in Milton Keynes on October 14, has been prompted by the success of her sixth solo album, Song To A Refugee, released last year to widespread praise.

Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer and musician David Mansfield, who also plays multiple instruments on the record, Song To A Refugee boasts a number of special guests, including Richard Thompson, The Chapin Sisters, Jason Sypher on bass, Glenn Patscha on piano and Will Holshouser on accordion. The single, We Believe You, was added to the record with the help of producer Steve Addabbo and guest artists Steve Earle, Richard Thompson and Peggy Seeger who each sang a verse.




Speaking about the genesis of the album, Diana explains that she had writer's block until speaking to actress Emma Thompson about her work with human rights charity, the Helen Bamber Foundation.

"I don't think anyone could have called me out of my writer's block the way Emma did and I began to write the stories that I found so devastating, one voice at a time," she says. "My own need to 're-humanise' the people who were being de-humanised by governments and the press resulted in a flood of songs."

Diana Jones, Songs To A Refugee, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham, Folk Music, Richard Thompson, Peggy Seegar, The Chapin Sisters
(pic: Ashlea Green)


Tracks on the resulting album range from the story of a woman walking miles to the US border carrying her child to the experience of young children separated from their parents fleeing their homeland.

The album's songs and themes continued to resonate with Diana during and after lockdown. When COVID-19 restrictions began to be lifted in New York, she worked with local refugee organisations. The work was brought once more into sharp focus by the crisis in Afghanistan. She was particularly moved when helping to settle an Afghan family of five children and their parents in their new home, reminding her of her song The Life I Left Behind. Similarly, when she heard of a teenager who had endured two years in a detention centre, despite having a relative to take him in and had got through the experience by writing songs in his head and looking after the younger children, she recalled the track El Chaparral, also from Song To A Refugee.

Diana Jones, Songs To A Refugee, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham, Folk Music, Richard Thompson, Peggy Seegar, The Chapin Sisters
(pic: Ashlea Green)


Diana is known for her gritty, literary, Appalachian-influenced songs. Adopted as an infant and raised in Long Island, NY, the fact that Diana couldn't get enough of her brother's Johnny Cash records finally made sense when she found her birth family and musical roots in the Smoky Mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Her maternal grandfather, who had formed his first teenage band with a young Chet Atkins, was happy to pass on the culture and the music that he loved to his granddaughter.

Her first album, My Remembrance Of You, was released in 2006. It was followed by Better Times Will Come (2008), High Atmosphere (2011), Museum Of Appalachia Recordings (2013) and Live In Concert (2016).

Diana Jones, Songs To A Refugee, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham, Folk Music, Richard Thompson, Peggy Seegar, The Chapin Sisters
Venue: Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath
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Why? Singer-songwriter's much anticipated return to the UK
When: October 13, 2021
Phone: 0121 443 4725
Where: Kitchen Garden Café, Kings Heath, Birmingham
Cost: £13.20
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