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Archive for the ‘Julia Jacklin’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JULIA JACKLIN-Live at the Newport Folk Festival (2017).

I saw Julia Jacklin open for First Aid Kit and while I was looking for music by her I found this, her first show at Newport Folk Festival.

This show is a good representation of her live show, except that with when I saw her, she threw in a couple more upbeat songs–this set is a bit monotonous.  Or maybe that’s what an 11M crowd needs.

It’s often a sparse crowd that turns up to see an 11 a.m. set at a music festival — but not so at the Newport Folk Festival. When Julia Jacklin took the stage on Saturday morning, she seemed shocked to be faced with a tent full of attentive onlookers. (If it were any other festival, she pointed out, she’d probably be playing to an audience of four — and four hung-over people, at that.)

She played nine songs, several of which she played when I saw her.

“Hay Plain” is a slow meandering song  it takes almost 4 minutes before the full band kicks in, but when they do it really elevates the song.  ““Lead Light” she played when I saw her.  It has a kind of old school swing to it, almost 50s rock and roll.  The song build and stops several times.

“Cold Caller” is another slow-mover.  Midway through there’s a really cool–and to my mind, much needed–wicked guitar solo.  The backing vocals on “Motherland” mid way through the song perk things up.  She lets her vocals linger more on this one which shows of the power more.

“LA Dream” it is indeed dreamy and sweet and is mostly just her guitar.  “Eastwick” is a cool song that grows faster and louder in a rather slow and deliberate manner. “Coming Of Age” and “Pool Party” are slow brooding song.  “Pool Party” sounds familiar but defies what’s expected from a song with a title like that.

For the last song, “Don’t Let The Kids Win” the band left and it was just her on stage with her guitar.  The lyrics are so good and so well-delivered, it’s a real high point.

So, overall I find her songs to be pretty but a little flat.  She just not quite my thing.  But every time the rest of the band stepped up, the songs were much more fun for me (even when they werent “fun” songs).

To read some lyrics and what it was like to see her in person, check out this post.  That plaid skirt must be a trademark.

[READ: October 1, 2018] “When We Were Happy We Had Other Names”

This story is about death.

It opens in a funeral home, as the director is meeting with the protagonists Jiayu and her husband Chris.  The story is set in the States–Jiayu thinks about how much stranger living in the States would have been for her if it were fifty years earlier–but that’s doesn’t directly impact the story, exactly.

The gut punch of the story comes as we realize–it is mostly alluded to–that their son Evan has killed himself.  Their daughter Naomi is off at college and while she does come home for the funeral, she also cuts off a lot of access to her.

Jiayu and Chris spent a lot of time with grief–they asked if they had done something wrong–Evan had seemed so happy.  But things did have to move along.  Would they buy pumpkins for the holiday?  Christmas trees?  Would anyone notice or care if they didn’t?

But thinking about death was an all-consuming act for Jaiyu.  She wound up creating a spreadsheet of all of the people she knew or had met who have died.  She entered birth and death year as well as cause of death.  She wanted to test her memory, so she didn’t look up anything.  By remembering each person it would prevent them from become generically dead. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 8, 2018] Julia Jacklin

I had heard about Julia Jacklin from NPR, so I was intrigued to see her live.  Jacklin is Australian, but you can’t really tell from her singing voice (or her speaking voice, really).  Although the way she enunciates “buh sket ball” makes her sound conspicuously non-American.  I had heard a song called “Don’t Let the Kids Win” which contains that basketball.  The title is amusing and I knew she was lyrically dense, so Iassumed there’d be amusing lines throughout the show.  But indeed, no.

Jacklin is not a partier, but nor is she a downer either.  She is thoughtful and inquisitive.  Her music, even live, is fairly spare–except when it’s not–and she sings pretty quietly–except when she doesn’t.

She was charming and funny–delightful in an opening act.  She played a quick six songs and that was that.

“Lead Light” has a kind of old school swing to it, almost 50s rock and roll.  I enjoyed the way the song built and stopped several times.

Her band, three Canadian guys, Harry (lead guitar) Eddie (bass) and Ian (drums) kept perfect accompaniment and backing vocals. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACKJULIA JACKLIN-Tiny Desk Concert #622 (May 22, 2017).

I’d never heard of Julia Jacklin, an Australian singer-songwriter.  But I found her music to be almost painfully slow and laconic–very much like Cowboy Junkies.  It’s quite pretty, but I need a little more pep.

The blurb notes:

Julia Jacklin doesn’t need much accompaniment. Jacklin’s full-length debut, last year’s Don’t Let The Kids Win, knows just when and how to lean in to this simplicity, surrounding her with spare instrumentation that keeps that voice in the center of the frame.

For her Tiny Desk debut, Jacklin reproduces three of that album’s drowsily beautiful ballads with the aid of a backing band so restrained, you can read the effort to keep quiet on their faces.

That’s all very true.  Her music is slow and sometimes it’s so quiet that it’s all about her voice which is pretty (but drowsy).

“Don’t Let The Kids Win” is slow and quiet.  The guitar is so quiet you can hear her pick hitting the strings as she strums.  It’s unclear that Julia is Australian until she sings  “don’t want them growing up thinking three years olds are good at playing basketball” and her accent comes through on basketball).  The song eventually starts to grow a little louder with backing vocals by the end.  And I believe one climactic note from bassist Ben Whiteley (from Toronto)

“Lead Light” has considerably more pep.  The drums (from Ian Kehoe also from Toronto) are quiet but sound like gun shots in this quiet setting.  The song swings slowly with some pretty guitar lines from Eddie Boyd from Australia).

Never has a song sounded less like a pool party than “Pool Party.”  What’s interesting about singers who sing like this is that I love listening to lyrics, and yet when people sing so slowly like this I lose all forward momentum of the lyrics.  So even if they are good, I’m lost them after a verse.

[READ: April 4, 2017] “Northeast Regional”

I feel like the cover to Cline’s book The Girls was iconic in 2016.  I don’t know anything about the book, but that cover was everywhere.  So this is my first exposure to her writing.  And I rather liked it.

The story started a little clunky I thought–it took me a few paragraphs to get the flow.  But once it got going I couldn’t stop.

The story begins with Richard on a train.  He has been riding for close to five hours.  He is heading to his on Rowan’s school and we know that something bad has happened.  He keeps checking his phone.  He gets messages about his son, but nothing from Ana.

Richard has been divorced for 16 years.  His wife has primary and majority custody of their son Rowan who is now at a private school “out in the middle of nowhere.”

Richard has been seeing Ana (part a succession of married women) for some time (the divorce was over a decade ago).  He and Ana had a weekend planned together (it was the first time they would spend the night together), but nothing seemed to be going right.  Everything seemed significant to her, from groceries to clothes to movie choices.  Richard was in a mood; he hated the movie she chose (black and white?  He was only fifty.  Or fifty-one).

And then he got the phone call. (more…)

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