My Brightest Diamond is Shara Worden, granddaughter of an Epiphone-playing traveling evangelist, fathered by a National Accordion Champion, and mothered by a church organist. Spanish tangos, Sunday morning gospel, classical and jazz were the accompaniment to her home life. Her first song was recorded at age three and by age eight she was studying piano, performing in community musical productions and singing in her Pentecostal church choir, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she spent most of her childhood.
Her songs distill stories to their most distressing points of contact: a phone call, an injured horse, a dragonfly caught in a spider’s web. She doesn’t share all the information — just the stuff that matters. The effect is a sensational compression of time, in which an entire event is summarized in a single note. This, of course, is the essence of opera. But My Brightest Diamond is much more than that. There is also the humor one might find in an old TV episode of Wonder Woman or Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Shara’s songs reconcile all the complex emotions found in each of us: she can grieve as comfortably as she can laugh, sometimes in the same breath.
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