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Album: Diane Birch, Bible Belt (Virgin)

Here's a charmingly old-fashioned thing: a personal pop-soul exegesis by a white woman with no apparent interest in being musically trendy.

She's a (Seventh-day Adventist) preacher's daughter, which explains much, including her obvious taste for a gospel cadence and her preoccupation with "breaking out". Two eminences spring to mind, if not as direct influences, then as spiritual forbears: Carole King and Laura Nyro. The voice is no mind-bender, but things do happen when she sings her songs. Secular gospel for young souls.