Julie Christensen – 11 From Kevin: Songs of Kevin Gordon
With a distinctive style cultivated in the same musical soil as Bonnie Bramlett, her daughter Bekka, Christine Collister & Little Feat female vocalist Shaun Murphy — Julie Christensen is gifted with a similar smoky stylistic vocal tone. Whiskey smooth with ¼ soul, ¼ chanteuse, ¼ alt-country & ¼ your mama’s late-night lullaby voice.
Heavenly, that’s what “Crowville,” asserts as Julie navigates its expressive terrain. Each song has its own signature. Some are fluorescent, & some candlelight warm. The instrumentation gumbo infused in the slow sliding southern glimmer of “Fire At the End of the World,” cracks under your ass like well-worn expensive old leather. This is a delicious tune.
What’s obvious here is that singer-songwriter Kevin Gordon’s 11 songs (as well as his own Tilt & Shine LP) shimmer with the warm vocal intonation & phrasing of Julie Christensen (former Divine Horsemen & Flesh Eaters). They’re a winning combination & her interpretation of each possesses its own incipient coolness.
“Gloryland” is a prodding impeccable rocker with seductive vocals, chiming guitars that weave their varied notes that stick as unique as there are varied spider web silks. The drums drive thick with a militaristic density. Heavy stuff. A humid tune that hangs in the air. Great video.
Not everything works perfectly. While the song “Heart’s Not In It/Down to the Well,” itself is fine — it’s typical. The first part drags in an old-fashioned country style. Julie’s version is sung well, but it doesn’t seem to have urgency. That is until she brilliantly shifts over to “Down to the Well.” Here Julie starts to excite, ignite & tantalize. This I love. This is Julie Christensen full-throttle.
11 From Kevin: Songs of Kevin Gordon (Drops Jan 21-Wire Bird Records) was produced by Julie (electric guitar) with Brett Ryan Stewart (piano). All of the alt-country songs were written by singer-songwriter Kevin Gordon.
“Gatling Gun,” is quite imaginative. Wonderful melody supported by sparkling Julie vocals. Simply superb. “Following a Sign,” is a beauty melodically, lyrically & vocally with light Spanish trumpets (Brent Moyers).
The musicians recorded remotely: Gregory Boaz (electric/acoustic bass). All acoustic/electric guitars & leads by Sergio Webb (also dobro/banjo) with Chris Tench (Chris adds vibey atmospheric guitar & 12-string). Chris Benelli (drums/percussion), & Irakli Gabriel (vintage pump organ).
“Goodnight Brownie Ford,” is a jewel as well. Karen Hammack (piano) follows the guitars, hollow drums & arrangement with fluidity. Julie, of course, is the frame around it all. Julie always sounds skillful, with lots of emotionalisms – the luster never a cheap shine but an exemplary finish.
With eyes closed, Ms. Christensen is delightful to listen to.
Image courtesy of Michael Kelly & black dress image by Jeff Fasano. The 52-minute CD is available @ https://stonecupid.com/
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