For Diane Birch, a girl growing up as the youngest child of a traveling preacher, music became a refuge. Although born in Michigan, Birch's father led the family to pulpits in such far-flung places as Zimbabwe, South Africa and Australia - her childhood an endless array of passport stamps and wide-eyed experiences. It wasn't until she was a teenager that she returned to the U.S, where the family finally settled in Portland, Oregon. Throughout it all, she gravitated towards music. In a household where pop songs were never played, Diane developed an early and impressive talent for classical piano. Learning to play by the Suzuki method - that is, by ear without reading the notes- she was able to lose herself in music and, in doing so, discovered an extraordinary gift. As she grew old enough to seek out records for herself she found an ardent passion for American music, everything from the Delta Blues to Motown, California surf, AM radio classics and many points in between. As a result, Diane Birch may be the only new artist this year who sounds like an old favorite, with all the freshness and allure of a significant breakthrough talent.