It’s all there in Diane Ward’s impressive new CD “Wonderlight.” There’s the impeccable production team of Diane and Jack Shawde, the great musicianship of the band and featured guests, as well as the superstar credentials of mixologist John Merchant (Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion) and legendary mastering guru Bob Ludwig (Sheryl Crow, Shawn Colvin). With “Wonderlight,” Ward’s celebrated vocals have developed more depth and purpose, and the melodies settle in the cortex and cannot be shaken. But above all it is the songwriting, the majesty of the lyrics, and the passion for life’s truths that take hold of our spirits as we bathe in the “Wonderlight.”
The mood has shifted here from Diane’s previous album, the critically acclaimed, “The Great Impossible.” While Impossible speaks of the restless spirit fighting to maintain its purpose, in “Wonderlight” we discover the seeds of hope and the emergence of redemption. As Diane explains, “There is the sense that society has not completely drained us of our innocence... not completely numbed us to those things that get us up in the morning and bring meaning to our lives.” No Diane Ward album is complete without love songs peopled by characters that careen in and out of relationships. From “This Love is Hard” where the main character laments, “And there’s no avoiding feeling the crush when you’re laid out under the wheel”, to the exquisite “Passion Field” where “The bar’s all sticky and damp with hearts hanging on the edge of a worn out jukebox ...”, Diane takes us through the myriad of feelings that surround this elusive emotion.
Finally, there is the matter of her exceptional voice. Music journalist Greg Baker recounts his visit to a recording session of Diane’s previous album, “The Great Impossible” ... “the sounds coming from the (recording) booth on this summer night – ghostly, pitch perfect, tough and fragile at once – boggle.” Numerous “Best Female Vocalist” awards attest to the special gift that has helped catapult Diane’s career into the national spotlight.
Such accomplished talent did not appear suddenly without hard work and the contributions of many other gifted people. Born and bred in Miami, Diane's talents were nurtured by some of the finest musicians in the area. In 1995, pursuing more of an acoustic sound, she went solo, teaming with Jack Shawde, whose eloquent guitar work helped bring her songs and characters to life. Jack's career has encompassed projects and tours with such notables as Bob Dylan, Dr. John, John Mayall, Al Kooper, and Stan Lynch of the Heartbreakers.
That same year Diane released her debut CD, “Mirror,” which was acclaimed by Album Network for its “acoustic based rock with rich, full arrangements that highlight her singular vocal style and accomplished songwriting.” Billboard Magazine called it “a stunning collection of husky emotional songs with Ward’s powerhouse vocals front and center.” “Mirror” landed in Gavin’s very competitive AAA chart, receiving airplay at 140 commercial and non-commercial stations with selected cuts charting on several stations’ top 10 lists.
Building on the success of it's predecessor, Diane released her sophomore album, “Move” which received acclaim as "a masterful collection of pop songwriting," and was awarded "Best Rock CD" in the April "Best of 2000" issue of South Florida's City Link Magazine.
In 2003, Diane released her tour de force CD, “The Great Impossible.” Produced by Jack and Diane, and mastered by Greg Calbi (Bruce Springsteen, Aimee Mann), the album received play on AAA radio nationally, and the band toured the West and Northeast in support of the record. MTV took notice of the CD and licensed the entire album. Several songs song have been featured recently on “Sorority Life.” In July 2006, the producers of the Academy Award nominated film “Crash” featured one of Diane’s songs on the premier episode of their new TV series, "Angela's Eyes" broadcast on the Lifetime Channel.
The Diane Ward band will hit the road in support of a national radio and press campaign for “Wonderlight.” The band features Diane on vocals, guitar, and keyboards; Jack Shawde on lead guitars; Debbie Duke on electric and upright bass, and Howard Goldberg on drums and percussion. Stay tuned for the unfolding …