Hello June – Artifacts
Another female vocalist with a nice distinctive style. I’ve had a good run these two months since almost all my female artists all have an abundance of originality & creativity.
Hello June is a group comprised of Sarah Rudy (guitar/lead vocals) who not only has superb warm Bohemian-style vocals she has a unique look that dictates her showcase. She doesn’t seem to follow the pack.
This 2nd effort is their first in 5 years was produced by Roger Alan Nichols the 11-cut, 41-minute Artifacts (Drops Oct 6–31 Tigers Records) doesn’t have anything new or challenging but what it does feature is a set of well-recorded, compelling tunes that are both warmly vocalized & tightly played.
The West Virginia group known as Hello June explores songs that are emotional, with varied feelings, with leaps of faith, death, birth, despair & hope. Despite being recorded in Nashville, their musical oeuvre trespasses through a territory once treaded by groups like the Blue Nile & the Prayer Boat.
Subtle, expressive, thick with pastel charms & moody passages. Sarah has that inherent vocal ambiance that floats through the ears rather than penetrates. Lines like “You called me pretty under street lights/I caught you lookin’ now we can’t look away.” The musicians play with that same intricate precision with sensibility. Typical of those bands mentioned who paint their tales with bold brush stroke images & add atmospherics.
With a more percussive attack & a rockier fleetness “Faded Blue,” is imbued with some heat & showcases Sarah’s rocky side. Nice work. Some have written that the band is new wave, but I don’t hear that at all. Sarah’s voice really isn’t new wave-styled. It’s far closer to Americana-roots music, the ballads are solid & there’s little in the way of new wave hocus-pocus theatrics. The music doesn’t have generous doses of electronics, synths, mellotrons & crafty craziness (New Muzik, The Brains, Deaf School, The Tubes, The Cars, etc.)
“No Easy Answer,” comes closer to early 70s Fleetwood Mac just before Buckingham-Nicks. That lite California melodic pop that sparkles with voices & dirty-toned guitars. Attractive then, attractive now.
I like this Sarah Rudy sound – her voice seems to have experience & wisdom in the tone. Her delivery is often sophisticated. Her superb cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads,” is sung a little dourer than Denver. However, what she’s interpreting is another soul’s feelings – someone who’s not so happy but sad & homesick & this is a powerfully re-invented tune. Very impressive.
Highlights – “Sometimes,” “Honey I Promise,” “Napkin,” “23,” “Soft Love,” “No Easy Answer” & “Take Me Home Country Roads.”
Musicians – Paul Niehaus (pedal steel), Caleb Crosby (drums/percussion) & Nicholas (guitar).
Cover image by Rafael Barker. CD @ https://www.wearehellojune.com/