Carla Diratz & The Archers of Sorrow
Blue Stitches
Discus 169CD
Available formats: CD/DL


Carla sings from a deep well of experience. There is such gravity in her voice. Captivating. The blues is expressed and also deconstructed here. Take the journey. – Dereck Higgins

Carla Diratz – voice, keyboard
Martin Archer – saxophones, clarinets, keyboards, electronics
Nick Robinson – guitars
Adam Fairhall – organ, electric piano
Dave Sturt – bass guitar
Adam Fairclough – drums
Charlotte Keeffe – trumpet

Sometime in 2022 Carla commented that were she to make another album, the state of the world dictated that it would have to be a blues album. Immediately we had our brief for a new record. Each of us had out own take on this idea. Carla sent in four jazz infected pieces for voice and keys which were recorded on her phone. Nick came up with a sequence of progressive blues rock pieces for the band. And Martin came up with a few little odds and ends with his own leftfield take on the format.

All of these were realised magnificently in the studio by our wonderful band, this time round bringing in a new recruit, the great improvising musician Adam Fairhall on organ.

We hope you will enjoy our modern contribution to the progressive blues rock tradition.

On first hearing this album our friend Carl Sonnenfeld wrote:
“Carla and her heavy voice crushed rock a whisper that blows the hot the cold a whisper that sinks snake engulfs with the alligator in a swamp of New Orleans Carla and her voice flows this Mississippi river that we go up against current back to reblues as an initiative quest towards Chicago Carla and her river voice that carries all the pain and grace Carla and her voice dries like sand that hangs on to the erratic harmonica of a mad angel Carla and her old dodge vehicle voice that tracks its way on the desert red dirt From Mojave to see Captain Beefheart and Neil Young. Carla and her voodoo voice to conjure fate and communicate with old bluesmen prayers to severe echoes of bass sax in osmosis with ambient chaos Carla gives her voice to the Blues a revisited and destroyed blues a Blues that resembles Carla”

24CD - Neil Carver & Martin Archer
Carla Diratz & The Archers Of Sorrow
The Scale


Carla sings from a deep well of experience. There is such gravity in her voice. Captivating. The blues is expressed and also deconstructed here. Take the journey. – Dereck Higgins

In 2022 I wrote about Carla Diratz’s previous album: “The Scale is a dark bright thing, even at this late stage it could be my album of the year.” At the risk of repeating myself (which I dislike doing) Blue Stitches could inhabit a similar updated sentence. In the promo notes sent to reviewers, Carl Sonnenfeld cites Captain Beefheart’s influence. I wish he hadn’t come up with that cliché ‘cause I know what’s going to happen… all that superficial nostalgia for Trout Mask Replica gets scagged into the this Carla Diratz session needlessly. Blue Stitches is a different thing. The fact is Nick Robinson’s guitar runs its own signals, Adam Fairhall’s keyboards conjure a spaceship travelling a universe unknown to the old Magic Band. The Beefheart idea of production was to gather his cohorts together in a specific location… and stay there. He ‘taught’ the tunes like being on bootcamp. Fifty years later Blue Stiches was sewn globally, digitally. Vocals sent on a phone. At least three different locations used to hem the finished garment. Archer dubbing and playing horn charts Van Vliet’s soprano sax would have mashed. Here, Charlotte Keeffe’s trumpet is as articulate as the songs she supports. In other words I’d urge your ears to unpick these sound stitches on their own terms. (I have a complete set of the Good Captain. He’s special, but let’s not confuse the decades or the darkness.) Carla Diratz has a voice like cooked almonds and a vocabulary as rich as a lexicon. Try this from the first track …only a few drops of that Holy-water had me believe in the oracle, had me work a miracle and transcend the cliff of my unspoken words of love (Drops of Remembrances). Thirteen tracks later, the closing cut… friends they say don’t you see? He is right there! I want a rendezvous avec vous I’m in despair you’re nowhere! (You’re Nowhere) A simple stitch made pin-prick sharp; and it’s sung into a phone and sent to Sheffield recognising the bullseye. This album was recorded in 2023 – a terrible year in Europe, America, Israel/Gaza, Ukraine, Yemen (the list goes on…) and the coming twelve months still has the dogs of war hunting in packs. This is not 1969, it’s a different borderline. Carla Diratz & The Archers Of Sorrow, Blue Stitches – the title forces me to break open the postage, my ears instruct me to hear. Well done Diratz, and all who sail with her. – Steve Day, February 2024.

Listened to this fine album by Carla Diratz on the road today. Raw emotion and powerful performances. A winning combination! – Jack Porcello WAYO FM

A Stylistic shift from previous albums released on the quirky Sheffield Discus label but instantly recognisable with that Carla Diratz rasp. It’s less jazz more blues, showing her versatility. But it’s the voice that evokes the strongest of feeling. It knows how to sticks its claws in and have you in its grasp. You don’t hear this type of voice often. One that grabs you by the throat and makes you stand bolt upright and pay attention. But it’s not just the sandpaper baritone voice, but Carla’s uncanny ability to create just the right mood, with an album wielding a sort of Tom Waits style dark cabaret vibe. A cocktail of heady exoticism. A kind of artistry that’s full of mystique. Raw, visceral but not your conventional blues album. Lyrically there may be bourbon and stinky cigars, and even a nod to Hendrix in some phrasing, but with an atmosphere more ‘smoky French bistrot’ than ‘Night Hawks at the Diner’. A French voice sung in English, that sounds like she gargles with ‘la fee verte’ (the green fairy) more potent than the best barrel aged bourbon. Carla pays little attention to what the mainstream ear thinks someone should sound like either. Her left of centre vocals will stop you in your tracks, immerse you, a sort of nourishingly moody sort of vibe. She could shatter glass with that voice. Her band, The Archers of Sorrow, know exactly how to work with it too. 13 tracks ( unlucky for nobody) sound like theatre pieces with sonic passages that make Carla’s vocal delivery shine. Instrumentation from both brass, rhythm section, electronics and piano, that knows when to be bold or subtle to showcase ‘that voice’. There’s a song called Free Delivery which has a strong bluesy vibe and the Archers of Sorrow judge it perfectly and let rip at the end in an impressive, cacophonous free finale. They certainly know how to mess with the blues, just don’t mess with Ms Diratz. A compelling and sophisticated lady, a Tom Waits like story teller, a get together with Charles Bukowski, but definitely in Paris’s more murky side of town. Squeaky clean is not her forte. If you want safe go elsewhere. This is dark, dingy and oh so atmospheric and it’ll leave you wanting more. To quote aptly from one of her songs, ‘Kill the fear’ she says. Quite. – Paula Mcadam, FB commentary.

There are numerous idiosyncratic singers in the world of popular music, jazz, blues, and so on — singers who you identify the instant you hear them; Roger Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Robert Wyatt, David Surkamp… and on the female side you have Dagmar Krause, Sonja Kristina, Renate Knaup, Urszula Dudziak, and both lists go on the more I think about it, but that second group should certainly include French singer Carla Diratz, for there is absolutely nobody else who sounds quite like her. To date she has mostly appeared on recordings by others (Dave Newhouse, Manna/Mirage, Nick Prol, Eclectic Maybe Band, and others), but she has released several of her own as well, the first that came to my attention was 2017’s Diratz; in 2021 she released the debut album with her group The Archers of Sorrow titled The Scale; now three years later comes the follow-up, Blue Stitches, an amazing album that seems to have a little bit of everything: jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop, and more, all imbued with Diratz’ interesting lyrics and unique vocals. So who are the players in the Archers of Sorrows? If you guessed Martin Archer you would be off to a good start — he plays saxes, clarinet, organ, electric piano, harmonica and more, track depending. Guitarist Nick Robinson, bassist Dave Sturt, drummer Adam Fairclough, organist Adam Fairhall, and trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe appear on most of the album’s thirteen cuts. The compositions involve Robinson, Diratz, and Archer with Diratz responsible for all the lyrics with the exception of the gentle “I’m a Drifter” written by Travis Edmonson. Beginning with the rocker “Drops of Remembrances,” the album eases along from strength to strength, taking in elements of jazz, blues, rock, folk, a veritable showcase of different styles all connected by Diratz’ voice. Other standouts include the bluesy “Recalling the Fear,” the exotic “Free Delivery,” the tasty jazz bit “Journey Within,” and the extended jazz romp “Places I’ve Been.” There really isn’t a bad song on here anywhere, and it’s one of those “the more you listen to it, the better it gets” albums. – Peter Thelen, EXPOSÉ

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