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Julia Carroll is one of the tough and passionate young singer songwriter musicians that will make you stop, think, and wonder what in hell you’re doing floating along listening to the mainstream music scene.  She asks the hard questions and tackles the feminist and humanist issue as only a woman with honesty, awareness, and empathy can tackle.

 

Her musical styling “Hard Folk” blends an acoustic sound, a simple yet clear voice, and profound lyrics that are as likely to have you tapping the steering wheel as they are to have you in tears.  At times she sings rushing towards breathlessness, reeling with the urgency of her message.  Other times she’s contemplative and almost shy.  Don’t let the photo of the album cover fool you – this fresh innocent smiling young woman from Atlanta, Georgia sees and feels as deep as many older women.  Her songs aren’t light and whimsical.  They’re gritty.  There isn’t a lot of flash or theatrics to sugar coat or gloss over the issues of women in today’s world.

 

Her song The Feel of Departure tells about the chaos of spousal abuse and a woman who has had enough and pushes past the pain and fear to reclaim her freedom and self-respect.  In Double Standard Drive she writes of doubts in relationships and the influence that we allow people we love to have on our actions and insecurities.  Her lyric, “I’m so much better at preaching outward than self application, so I continue down Double Standard Drive like I’m a ruling queen” will have the listener doing a bit of self analysis.

 

In “Grains” Julia Carroll spells out for us just what it's like to make your own mark.  Here in the first and last verse are the words of the songwriter:

 “owning my own spacetaking up spacefilling my space with my stancefeet planted firmly indenting the floortwisting wood grains like I’mtwisting out a cigarettegripping the wheel, gripping my neckindenting ebony beneath my fingertipspull and push down on thegrains ‘til they bleedout the sound I desirethe sound that I need.....................................................................knocking on doors and ringing doorbellsain’t jack if just smile and stand there stomp your feet, twist the grains pull and push til you bleed on the doorsteps your stories we’ve all got a story.”  

One song on the CD is “Step Outside” where Carroll sings about “Big Brother” feeding us Real World, Survivor and Millionaire to the extent that we forget to ingest what’s really going on in the world.  Sure it’s a “semi-pleasant state” but she urges us to quit wasting our precious time and “put the remote down, and step outside”.  This reviewer suggests turning off the radio and the likes of Jessica Simpson…and embracing the indie music scene and the “Hard Folk” of Julia Carroll.

 

~review by Denise Bell

Artist: Julia Carroll

IndieEvolution Records, 2004

$12

www.juliacarroll.com

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