Di Anne Price
Di Anne Price
In fact, she hasn’t gone a week in the 53 years since without a musical paycheck. “Both my parents were very much into the music, and so if I hadn’t wanted to do it, I wouldn’t have had a choice,” she says. “But I always wanted to do it. I don’t know of anything I would want to do other than this.” Born and raised in Memphis, Price works 9 to 5 as a social director at a nursing home.
But most nights of the week she can be found playing and singing in bars and restaurants or special events around town, sometimes with, sometimes without, her band, the Uptown All-Stars or “my boyfriends,” as she calls them. Price’s music, barrelhouse piano and “good times” blues, harkens back to the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s, and she takes as her models everyone from Fats Waller to Memphis Minnie to Tony Bennett. Her songwriting mother is in there, too. Price describes her own voice as “a throwback to another time.
It’s smoky, it’s sultry, it makes you think of Jack Daniels and bars.” “The first song I ever learned was the blues,” she says. “My mother asked me, she said, ‘Do you want to do this?’ And I said, ‘Yes’um.’ I always had the blues. I love the blues. But the blues don’t make me sad.
I’ve often thought – and, of course, my mother wrote a song for me – what would have become of me if it hadn’t been for the blues? I love the blues. The pitfalls that the blues tells of, I didn’t fall in that because of the blues. It says, ‘Don’t do this,’ ‘Don’t do that.’ So I didn’t.” But ever since she was a little girl, the blues was more than an accidental lesson in social behavior. “It’s a sustenance, a warmth that engulfs me,” Price says.
“It takes me where I need to go.” It’s something she wants to share with the world. Price recalls the time when she used to bring her kittens to her choir rehearsal at church so they could hear the music. “When I was at home, they always sang with me. So I would stick them down in my purse, and they would go with me.
But one night I was at choir rehearsal, and they got out, got down under the choir stand. As the choir was singing, they were singing, too. I had to send a couple of kids down under to get the cats out. There we were in the middle of a sermon, you know, with the cats singing as loud as the choir.
And my minister told me, he said, ‘This is the last time. This is the last time.’” For Price, performing offers the chance to share her music. In a moment of silence, she reverts to her refrain, “I love the blues. You know, when I’m in a bar, and I’m singing something that’s right just for the moment, that’s working just for that moment, and people are really listening, that’s everything I need.” - The Memphis Flyer Read more on Last.fm.
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