Rick DiDia & Aireene Espiritu

Rick DiDia & Aireene Espiritu

 Oakland, California, USA

Poaching from the blues, jazz, folk ballads, stomps, bluegrass and hollars, Rick and Aireene pick, strum, stomp, slide and sing their own brand of stripped down Americana. By taking pieces of the past; your story, my story, our ancestor's stories, they paint pictures of places and people's lives, the day-to-days, little stories from different times and cobble them together to make the old sound new in an old sort of way


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.