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Diane Chase - The Ride
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

It’s often said that in music, and you can pick the style or genre, there’s million “what if” stories. Stories that though told countless times are worth another serving. Stories that make the outsider ponder and think, while leaving those involved wondering just what might have been.

Take Diane Chase. She has a story. The good-looking singer once fronted a local Canadian band, Flirt. As the lead singer, she was touring and developing as an artist. It was all good. Then, as Chase explained in a later interview, a soon-to-be chart-buster entered the equation.

“Both Eileen (Shania) Twain and I grew up in Northern Ontario – her in Timmins, myself in Sudbury. We were in different bands, but had the same booking agent. Eventually, I made a decision to move to Toronto to pursue additional musical opportunities, so the Agent needed to find another lead singer for my band. They decided to pull Shania out of her band in Timmins to fill the spot. We worked together for a short while in the transition, and she was with the band for a year or two. When people ask how the road to success differs between us, I simply say that Shania took the interstate, and I’ve taken the scenic route!”

That could easily have been the end of the story. But it’s not. That scenic route came paved with its own rewards. Chase, a former investment banker and the youngest from a family of ten, a youngster who started singing at 5, need have no regrets. Her first album, In The Middle Of Something,” ignited notable interest. With more pizzazz than the 4th July, the titled single zoomed to the Top Ten. Then the album exploded with a slew CMT video hits, and in the wake, scored Chase a Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2000 and 2002 Ontario Country Performer and Fan Association Awards.

But the strength of Chase’s talent isn’t one dimensional –she’s more than just a performer. She’s also a capable and talented writer. It’s a point well recognized on both her albums. Her debut release had 7 co-writes, while “The Ride”, the new 10-tracker, offers 5. And it’s in the writing where the lyrically astute singer from Aurora, Ontario paints her mark with pop and country feel-good blasts and ballads.

“The Ride” opens the album. Co-written by long-term collaborator Steve Fox (Fox wrote “Daddy Won’t Sell The Farm” for Montgomery Gentry, and scores here with four songs on this album), Chase belts out an optimistic creed that tells the best part of living is moving forward. Produced by the in-demand team of Jason Barry and J.Richard Hutt, the tune, the album, is a polished team effort. An effort that runs to a half page liner list of musical credits, but for Chase, who has her career handled now by a strategist rather than a manager, the final wrap is a thumbs up.

Take the tune, “I Hate Love”. On the rocky crossover, branded with a style popularized by her former Flirt replacement, Chase cuts loose with an infectious toe-tapper. The declaration of love’s hatred is a waiting to happen hit, not unlike the “do-wop” possibilities played out on “Walkin’ Back To You”. Other paced rockers come sprinkled across the album, “Hearts Don’t Think Like That” , and the Cajun-spiced Soiree In The Kitchen” to name two. Listen out also for the last track, “Time To Make A Life”. Chase ambles, perfectly, over her co-written closing ballad. The tune shares the truth that life vanishes if it’s spent living rather than loving. And for those with a little pepper in their hair, and a slower dance stride, listen for “Harper Valley PTA”. Yes, that HVPTA. The tune telling of Mrs Johnson, a Harper Valley widowed wife with a bent for scandal, is a reworked gem.

With two solid albums to her credit, Diane Chase is starting to burn tread. She has a countrified style that sits well in the driver’s seat. She has a strong feel for lyrics, and her vocal performance wins on every outing. But then again, you’d expect nothing less from a lady who moved on for Shania Twain. But that was then, and this is now. Buckle up. Hang on. This ride has just begun.

Official Site: www.DianeChase.com  

The Ride song list:

1: The Ride 
2: I Hate Love 
3: Walkin’ Back to You 
4: Woman I Wanna Be 
5: Soiree in the Kitchen
6: Hearts Don’t Think Like That 
7: Way Back When 
8: Harper Valley PTA 
9: All in Your Mind 
10:Time to Make a Life


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