CD Review: Diana Chittester “Paradox”

Diana Chittester is a singer-songwriter that makes her home in Northeastern Ohio. It is in this location that she is free to be herself and express herself the way she wants. You can hear some of her struggles in the lyrics that are found in the music that she creates.  And while her personal struggles find a place in her music, it is the music itself that is created by Diana Chittester that sets her apart from the crowd.

One thing that is rather obvious about the singer-songwriter Diana Chittester is just how strong she is as a musician. To help flavor her playing, Chittester calls upon influences from artists such as Ani DeFranco, Joni Mitchell, Lindsay Buckingham, Jewel and plenty of others including Ann Wilson of the band Heart, whose playing on tracks like “Crazy On You” truly helped flavor Chittester’s own style of playing.

That being said, just listening to the music from Diana Chittester doesn’t really do her justice. You must see the musician in concert to truly appreciate just how talented she truly is. Very few musicians can fill up a room with just their voice and one guitar but Chittester is one musician who is able to do just that. The multi-layering effect that happens when she is in concert is a wonder to behold. And it’s done without the use of a looper, which just adds to the amazing playing ability of the singer-songwriter.  

The multi-layering from Diana Chittester can be found on the various releases that have been produced by the artist over the years, with the most obvious of that layering appearing on her previous album of Find My Way Home which features only the artist with her guitar. The sparse feel of the music on that album truly helps the layering effect to shine through.

Diana Chittester’s playing and the multi-layering feel to her music led to her being included in the Top 10 list of the publication Guitar Gods Magazine. Her video for the track “Paradox” was even included in the 43rd Cleveland International Film Festival to be included in an entire program of music videos. And just recently, Chittester was featured in the RiffJournal.com’s list of 50 Gifted Singer-Songwriters

As far as her music is concerned, Diana Chittester released a new six-song EP entitled Paradox not that long ago. Where the album Find My Way Home contained a sparse feel to the music on that release, Paradox comes complete with a much fuller feel to the music. The music contained within this EP is much different compared to the artist’s previous album because of that stronger production value. This six-song release shows off just what Chittester’s music can sound like when it comes with a completely full production value to it.

Paradox from Diana Chittester begins with the track “Freedom”. The track begins with the sound of the ukulele that she uses in much of her music. That ukulele is soon joined by the drums, guitar, bass and organ to create a Rock and Roll track with the ukulele in the forefront of the track. The track about needing to make one’s own choices in life feels both unusual because of the choice of the ukulele as the centerpiece of the track and familiar as the music contains a full amount of pop-rock flavor to it. You can even imagine yourself starting to sing along with the lyrics making the track a perfect anthem for those looking for inspiration.

Diana Chittester’s newest release continues with the track “In the Middle”. Where the track of “Freedom” ha a slightly unique flavor to it, “In the Middle” is much more mainstream in comparison. With the electric guitar and the rest of the instrumentation, the track of “In the Middle” brings to mind a style of Rock and Roll that was present in the mid-nineties. More specifically, the song contains a musical quality that brings to mind the song “All I Wanna Do” from Sheryl Crow. The Rock and Roll contained within the track creates one of the strongest moments on the release.

On the title track of the EP, Diana Chittester brings back a good deal of the simplicity that had been found on the artist’s album of Find My Way Home as the track begins with only the sound of the ukulele her vocals. The song of “Paradox” finds Chittester reflecting on years gone by as a relationship comes to an end. The singer-songwriter questions what happened and why it happened. She even wonders if it was all just a bad dream. As she follows her own thoughts, the music of the track gains momentum and becomes a lot fuller. To help fill out the music of the track, strings are added to the music. The strings add beauty as well as sadness to reinforce the meaning of the lyrics on the track. What results is a track where the lyrics are full of emotion and the music adds to that sorrow. The track of “Paradox” is easily the most personal song of the six tracks included on the EP.

The Paradox release from Diana Chittester continues with the track “On My Own”. With the lyrics of the track being what they are as they spell out a woman pushing herself to keep going after something bad has happened, the track feels much like a continuation of the EP’s title track. This is mostly likely just coincidence as the two tracks of “Paradox” and “On My Own” are right next to each other.  However, the two tracks with their similar lyrical approaches create a passage on the EP that is easily the most emotional.

Diana Chittester finishes off her release of Paradox with the song “Cry”. Like “Paradox” and “On My Own” earlier in the EP, “Cry” explores personal parts of Chittester’s life as she explains how her own path in life led her to lose friends and family for simply being who she is. The soft quality of the music and the strings that are contained within it combine to create a track that will definite tug at your heart as you experience just a taste of the pain that Chittester has experienced throughout her life. Musically speaking, the quiet delivery of the music on the track makes “Cry” the perfect track to help bring Chittester’s Paradox to a close.  

Paradox from Diana Chittester is quite different from the singer-songwriter’s previous release of Find My Way Home. This album contains a stronger production value. It contains a much fuller feel to the music. And most importantly, it comes across as much more personal. In many ways, this release shows the listener just how much Diana Chittester has matured as far as her music is concerned from one release to the next. One can only imagine where she will take us with the next release.

 

To discover for yourself the music of Diana Chittester, check out “Paradox,” the very video that was included in this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival. 

To hear the entire Paradox release from Diana Chittester on spotify, click on the  album cover below: 


 
 

 

 

 

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