Bonnie Raitt, Maria Muldaur, Stevie Nicks. All great ladies of American song. New Orleans-based singer-songwriter Kristin Diable earns comparisons to them.
This week Speakeasy Records/Thirty Tigers is releasing “Create Your Own Mythology.” It’s Diable’s first nationally distributed album. She recorded it in Nashville with Dave Cobb, a hot producer whose previous projects include Jason Isbell’s “Southeastern” album and Sturgill Simpson’s “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.”
NPR’s “First Listen” recently featured “Create Your Own Mythology.”
“Diable has the same grit lining her throat that Amy Winehouse had,” NPR’s Katie Presley states at the “First Listen” website. “But she sings from a place of levity that Winehouse never found.”
Diable will perform her local album-release show Thursday at One Eyed Jacks. In March and April, she’ll play an extensive tour with Nashville-based singer songwriter Anderson East.
David Macias, Diable’s Nashville-based manager at Thirty Tigers, suggested she work with Cobb. Diable hesitated because Cobb is associated with that rather nebulous musical style, Americana.
“I didn’t envision it being an Americana record,” the touring as usual Diable said a few weeks ago. “ I thought it was more pop-centric than straight Americana.”
A meeting with Cobb, however, convinced Diable to work with him. Cobb persuaded Diable in part by playing deejay for her. He played vintage Alan Lomax field recordings of folk songs for Diable and classics by American chanteuse Nancy Sinatra and the musically audacious French singer-writer Serge Gainsbourg.
“That was right down my ally for this record,” Diable said. “Dave can do everything. His ears are wide open to every genre and style. He just happened to have produced really great Americana records.”
Unlike Diable’s 2012 album, “Kristin Diable and the City” — an intimate production recorded in the attic apartment she had above Jackson Square — “Create Your Own Mythology” goes big.
“I wrote the songs as band songs,” she said. “Layers and strings and background vocals bring them to life.”
There’s also a lot of reverb on Diable’s voice, as heard in the album’s swampy opening song, “I’ll Make Time for You.”
“Even a naturally big voice, once you put a little reverb on it, it gets to more of that anthem sort of arena sound it,” she said. “I love that in records.”
And Diable has never sounded as confident and relaxed on record as she does in “Create Your Own Mythology.”
“I’ve grown into my voice a little more,” she said. “And Dave, as a producer, he really gets voices. That’s his No. 1 thing, making voices front and center, like you’re sitting next to the person.”
At the conclusion of the production of 2012’s “Kristin Diable and the City,” Diable promised herself that she’d no longer produce her own albums.
“Having someone (Cobb) at the helm, to make sure it’s all going like it’s supposed to go, it freed me to be the artist,” she said. “Instead of thinking about what’s happening technically, I could be right in the center of the performance.”
Diable began performing when she was a teenager living in Baton Rouge. She’d been writing songs since childhood. Hoping to advance her career, she moved to New York, spending five years there. In 2009, Diable returned to Louisiana, moving to New Orleans.
“Leaving New York was the most useful thing I did, spiritually and creatively,” she said. “When I moved to New Orleans, I decided, ‘OK, this is it. I’m only going to play music, come hell or high water. I’m not going to wait tables or do side jobs. I’m going to make it work.’
“And in New Orleans, you can do that. The cost of living is reasonable and there are a lot of shows that pay here. I know more working musicians in New Orleans than any other place. It’s a beautiful town for that.”