Diamond in the Sand

Review from Mike Joyce at The Washington Post, "IT DOESN'T take long for singer Annie Sidley to deliver the goods on her new CD, "Diamond in the Sand." Stirring vocals rooted in soul and gospel power the opening track, "Keepin' It Strong," with its themes of unity and affirmation, and spill over into the rest of the album, charging it with strong emotional and spiritual currents. "I'm holding onto faith," a line from the album's title song, pretty much sums up the prevailing mood. Even so, Sidley often turns in her most affecting performances when she appears to be holding on for dear life. That's certainly the case on the back-to-back tracks "What Are We Fighting 4?" and "Bitter River." The latter, a mournfully yearning piano ballad, quietly stands out, displaying both the power and beauty of Sidley's voice. Other cuts, including the hypnotic coda "Marrakesh," reveal cross-cultural influences, but because Sidley's strong R&B ties are always evident, she seldom sounds as if she's drifting too far from shore."

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