Rick DiDia & Aireene Espiritu
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Rick DiDia & Aireene Espiritu

Oakland, California, United States | SELF

Oakland, California, United States | SELF
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"What else can a lifelong Folk DJ ask for"

"I love what I heard, It's perfect for my kinda folk show-- bright, melodic,rootsy and with excellent vocals and hot pickin' too. What else can a lifelong Folk DJ ask for. Keep it up, you two!"
- Gene Shay, The Folk Show, WXPN, aka The Grandfather of Philadelphia Folk Music - The Folk Show, WXPN,

"Rootsy Americana with a whole lot of skill; a sound that's unexpectedly timeless."

Rick Di Dia & Aireene Espiritu do rootsy Americana with a whole lot of skill. Country, blues, and folk come together with slightly rough-around-the-edges male and female vocals and lyrics with a melancholy edge to create a sound that's unexpectedly timeless. Extra points for the particularly skillful banjo picking that lend an eerie edge to "Shine." (self-released) - East Bay Express - Local Licks

"4 out of 5 stars - Maverick (to be released in December 2010 issue)"

4 out of 5 stars - Maverick (to be released in December 2010 issue) - Maverick Country Magazine

"9 out of 10 stars - For True Lovers of Americana"

For true lovers of Americana.

There’s an ongoing debate as to what Americana actually is. This website gives a definition, but whenever I’m asked to describe it, I struggle. And I’m supposed to be an “expert”; well I’m not, I’m merely someone who has the opportunity to provide a personal opinion on music in a public space.

But fear no more Americana fans. Simply go out and buy this album and you will get what Americana is about; all the answers are here. Upon the first couple of listens it doesn’t happen. Well it didn’t for me, but persevere and then it all becomes apparent.

'The Ten Ton Feather' gives us most of the Americana genre including folk, blues, country, bluegrass, gospel, rock’n’roll, stomps and hollers. Hell there’s even some old-timey in the mix too. I think that just about covers Americana; don’t you?

What is so good about this album is Didia and Espiritu can cover each of the constituent parts of each of the aforementioned genres and leave us wanting more. Too many albums these days tend to flog one or another genre to death, whilst purporting to cover the entire landscape on one album. Not so here.

Kicking off with the immensely likeable Appalachian bluegrass of ‘Wailing Sun’ and swiftly following it with the gentle contemporary folk of ‘Big River’, this duo set their variety of wares out on display. Effortlessly combining their vocals and expert guitar and ukulele playing, these two were simply made for each other.

Espiritu is a native of the Philippines and she’s got a voice that’s reminiscent of Vika or Linda Bull. DiDia has developed a unique lap-style playing method that drives the sound along, but he can also be laid back and thoughtful, particularly on the acoustic guitar in the final song ‘To The Ends Of Love’.

This CD contains 14 tracks and I could rave about all of them. But for the sake of brevity, some of the highlights include the tracks already mentioned, plus the melancholic ‘I Dream Of You’, the moody haunting ‘Shine’, the boogie blues of ‘Mississippi’, ‘Flying’ with its simple harmony’s plus ‘Suzanne’ which falls into the “thought provoking” camp, as do many of the other songs. ‘My Country’ brings in some gospel inspired acapella.

And if I was to re-write this review, I’d probably concentrate on highlighting the other five tracks, not to mention the wonderfully written lyrics. The album has an extremely well balanced running order that allows the songs to compliment each other whilst also providing the light and shade that all great albums have. As DiDia & Espiritu themselves state this album “Makes the old sound new, in an old sort of way.”

Select random on your CD player, and you have an instant Americana jukebox; all in one package. Albums like this don’t come along that often, so get yourself a copy. You’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t. And if for some reason you don’t like it, I will personally refund your money. Or refer you to the Americana doctor for help.

Date review added: Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Reviewer: Phil Edwards
Reviewers Rating:
Related web link: Rick DiDia & Aireene Espiritu website - AmericanaUK


Still working on that hot first release.



Crossing the borders of folk, blues, bluegrass, country, rock and roll, gospel, stomps and hollers, Rick DiDia and Aireene Espiritu invoke an evocative musical landscape that flows seamlessly through various breaks in mood, tempo and melody and makes the old sound new in an old sort of way.

Since pairing up three years ago, this guitar and ukulele duo has supported musical legends Willie Nelson, Rickie Lee Jones, Odetta, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Robin Trower, Sugar Pie Desanto, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot. Their versatility in songwriting has also enabled them to share shows with acts as diverse as Rogue Wave, My Morning Jacket, Bill Tapia, Hot Buttered Rum, Harry Manx, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. This list puts them in great company, and continues to serve as a beacon for them when developing their own musical careers.

Aireene, a native of the Philippines, plays a 1950’s Martin tenor ukulele, and crafts simple yet hauntingly beautiful songs that are highlighted by the strength and richness of her 'spot on' vocal delivery. Rick plays guitar in various tunings and has developed a unique lap-style playing method that results in an intriguing

array of chords, single note lead runs and sliding that looks as if he is chasing notes from one end of the neck to the other. Their rich mixture of personalities, cultures and musical approaches – one simple and the other complex - sets the tone for an unassuming duo that walks small but carries a big sound.

Their sound is made even larger by the near perfect pairing of their voices and their uncomplicated approach to performing which leaves few barriers between themselves, the song, and their audience. This direct yet intimate style has led them from stages at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco and the House of Blues in Las Vegas, to top-tier perfromance venues like the Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, and the Bitter End in New York City.

On their first full-length studio release, the Ten Ton Feather, DiDia and Espiritu expand the scope of their musical horizons with help from some influential musical friends including, Scott Amendola, Bill Evans, Jon Evans, Brian Judd, Karen Goodman, Chad Manning, and Julie Wolf.

Hints of banjo, accordion, mandolin, organ, lap steel, piano, timple, and fiddle provide a lush backdrop from which their songs gracefully suspend. Between these layers different flavors begin to reveal themselves creating an odd pull to their songs. They sing their stories with an urgency as if their character’s welfare were dependent upon it. And the magic of the sadness in each tune rests in the redemptive powers of hope that lie just under their beautifully scarred surface.

Sometimes bold and breathless, and at other times mercifully sweet and tender, at its heart is a depth of clarity and honesty that provides powerful continuity from one song to the next.

As accessible as it is unique, the fourteen gems on the Ten Ton Feather showcase Rick and Aireene doing what they do best: distilling the essence of many genres down with simplicity, and extracting unexpected riches as if they were all mined from the same vein.