American singer-songwriter Leslie diNicola has been described as ‘combining the grittiness of Janis Joplin with the vulnerability of Alison Krauss’. The only thing I’d take issue with there is that Joplin had plenty of vulnerability – it’s what made her so compelling and so unforgettable. If all she had been was a big voice, she would not have resonated with so many people.

DiNicola has that same quality – of the strong, sometimes strident voice that has vulnerability in the curves between notes, suggesting that the singer has something to hide and more to tell us, but she’s not going to just yet. Intrigue is hard to come by in a lot of recorded music – the studio environment, with a producer on hand and all the best technology, can eliminate spontaneity and happy accidents. Yet the songs on diNicola’s EP Some Greener Yard give us the sense of a girl standing alone at a microphone, singing hopefully, from her heart, and it’s both the voice and her lyrics that suggest that. It doesn’t sound like she’s about to slip up by way of singing a bum note – more that she might confess something that she didn’t mean to tell us but which we really want to know. 

While diNicola’s style is predominantly rock/blues with the odd country strain – and it suits her (although she could also venture easily into anthemic country rock/pop and not skip a beat) – it’s in the more restrained track ‘It’s Alright’ that her skill as a singer is consolidated. Here she is delicate and assured, which is an interesting balance.

Releasing a handful of songs in EP format is a great way to discover new talent. DiNicola is not completely new – she’s released an EP before – but she’s still ’emerging’. It can’t be long, surely, before she has completely emerged. 

Some Greener Yard by Leslie diNicola is out now.