For years, Kristin Diable, a New Orleans-based singer from Baton Rouge, has performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell on the small Lagniappe Stage.
Not Friday. Diable stepped up to the festival’s biggest performance space, the Acura Stage. Jazz Fest producer-director Quint Davis introduced her.
“She’s someone we’ve known for a while,” Davis said. “Now she’s exploding nationwide.”
For her Acura Stage debut, Diable assembled a group including backup singers, a horn section and former Dr. John guitarist John Fohl.
A Louisiana girl, Diable found her Southern voice during an extended stay in New York. Then she came home.
Diable’s short but effective Acura Stage show featured several songs from her new album, “Create Your Own Mythology.” She opened the set with one of them, “I’ll Make Time for You.”
The sandy edges of Diable’s voice suggest Steve Nicks. And the mix of pop appeal and roots connection in her songs recalls Fleetwood Mac, the coed collective that made Nicks famous.
Diable’s songs often start soft and slow. Then they build, increasing volume and musical forces. Featuring changing tempos and contrasting sections, Diable’s material sometimes achieves near Bruce Springsteen-style uplift.
When Diable sings ballads, such as the aching “Bird on a Wire,” she brings to mind Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge. Her vocal range is impressive, too, moving from dusky low notes to a ghostly falsetto.
She’s going places.