Julie Odell

REVIEW: Julie Odell “Autumn Eve”


Julie Odell — Autumn Eve

Change is a favorite topic for songwriters, and New Orleans-based singer-songwriter Julie Odell has found a very definite line of demarcation in her life – the birth of her daughter in 2016. What was once mundane can become paramount (and, I suppose, vice-versa) when one becomes responsible for the survival of another human being. This major life shift gave Odell reason to look back at all manner of life changes. On Autumn Eve, Odell makes effective use of dynamics and tempo shifts to represent both the upheaval and the happiness that come with life’s defining moments.

Autumn Eve begins with “St. Fin Barre” as Odell looks back at time she spent in Ireland, in both lovely memories (from the music to the sound of the rain) and the pain of having to leave – “And within an instant it was all taken away from me/And the sting of packing up my things.” The music crescendos and crashes as she finds herself back in New Orleans, content to be home but missing a chunk of her soul. Odell follows up on that aborted journey with “Envelope.” Set on a punchy rhythm guitar line, the song recalls the simplest of gestures – a friend checking in after life’s turbulence subsides – and reminds Odell one of of life’s basics – “To be a human being/In love with simple things.”

Odell tackles the idea of metamorphosis head-on with a lesson dating all the way back to grade-school biology. “Caterpillar” recalls the simple chrysalis-and-milkweed cycle of life from crawling to flying and, with tremulous vocals and grand tempo changes, applies that process of change to our own lives – “Sacrifice who you are for them/Shed your skin so they can begin/To see what love truly means.” Personal chaos – and the growth that comes from it – is all over “Cardinal Feather,” a frenetic-paced recall of a panic attack that results in a new (and unexpected) inner toughness – “Steadily glowing, showing its teeth/No weapon shall prosper while aiming at me.”

Autumn Eve’s central lesson springs from its title track, which closes the album. The mini-epic flashes back to the blizzardy winter night that Odell welcomes her daughter to the world. Filled with rolling guitars and dramatic musical interludes, the song isn’t so much about that one night, but all of the unexpected changes that came with Odell finding a new partner in life – “I waited for that field to bloom, to fill the air with sweet perfume/To tell my darling daughter all her worth.”
Amidst a sea of fear and new expectations, Odell reminds us that, sometimes, the real changes in life only become clear in retrospect.

Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Moments Later” – In which Odell, an excellent guitar player, chooses the piano instead to remind us of the constantly changing world right outside our window, if we’d only take the time to enjoy the trip.

Autumn Eve was produced by Chad Viator and Julie Odell, recorded by Viator, Adam Keil and Carson Thielan, mixed by Viator and mastered by Clay Jones. All songs were written by Odell. Additional musicians on the album include Viator (guitar, organ, synth), Kenny Murphy (bass), Jonathan Arceneaux (drums, tambourine), Carolina Chauffe (harmony vocals) and Ben Usie (shakers).

Go here to order Autumn Eve (out September 30): https://shop.frenchkissrecords.com/collections/julie-odell

Check out tour dates here: https://www.julieodellmusic.com/tour

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