Juni Ata – Some Songs EP (Flying On Fire Records)
Jesse Daniel Edwards, recording under the moniker Juni Ata, is just the latest in a long line of talented musicians who was raised in a religiously repressive home that forbade popular music. He didn’t hear his first Dylan song until he was in his early 20’s; a hell of a confession for an Americana/folk artist. As a result (or maybe despite,) the influences on his latest, the four-track Some Songs EP, are fairly expansive featuring lush arrangements that cover the full folk to Americana spectrum, never tacking too close to one genre.
The EP opens on “Someone Else’s Rising Sun,” a song that beautifully highlights his idiosyncratic vocal delivery that simply adds to his charm. It’s followed by the organ-soaked “California Girl,” the EP’s stand out track spotlighting Edwards’ knack for writing character-driven songs. A minute-and-a-half piano ballad (“Interlude”) divides the record, which closes on “This House Comes With A Ghost,” a bittersweet song and “Halfway To Huntsville,” a stark, slow burn track with piano, organ and little else.
Edwards fills out the songs with guest vocals from fellow Nashville musicians Sierra Ferrell, Lauren Farrah and Madi Dia. The EP is an impressive follow up to his 2020 debut album Saudad, a solid, but slightly uneven collection of songs. Though written and recorded just a year or two later, the tracks on this latest EP hint at a promise for what’s to come, boasting some of his best songwriting so far.