11 From Kevin (Songs of Kevin Gordon)
A Great Singer and a Fine Songwriter Come Together to Create Americana At Its Finest
While this is Julie Christen’s 5th solo outing and she leads and has led a couple of bands; sadly I’d not heard of her previously; but the accompanying bio certainly piqued my interest, not least because she was a backing singer for Leonard Cohen for 7 years and; more importantly to me her band, Stone Cupid includes the legendary Sergio Webb and Chris Tench on geetars!
Then; of course her choice of songwriter to pay homage to; Kevin Gordon made the album a bit of a ‘must listen’ too.
Opener, Find My Way proves that my Spidey-Senses are still in working order, as Julie has an intriguingly distinctive voice; sitting somewhere between Lucinda and a rocking Tift Merritt; which is a mighty good thing here at RMHQ. The song is as tightly wrapped as a box of fireworks; constantly threatening to break out and spoil the show; but always letting the singer steal the show.
The lights drop down for the second song, Crowville a slow haunting song which unravels a touch every time you play it.
The choice of Kevin Gordon’s songs to cover is a fascinating one; as he’s not as famous as he should be; but a cursory look at your record collection will find his name attached to several of your favourite songs; some of which appear here.
It’s always difficult, if not impossible to describe Americana Music to friends and family; but in future I may just direct them to this album; as the way Julie welds Folk and Country together on Fire at The End of the World, the epic Gatling Gun and especially the delightful Rest Your Head is truly outstanding.
The way Julie interprets Gordon’s words, and makes them sound so personal to her on Following a Sign and Hearts Not In It/Down to the Well making them sound that they surely must have been written by the woman pouring her heart out; but hey ….. she didn’t and he did …. but it’s a musical marriage made in Heaven.
As is the case with 99.9% of Americana/Roots albums, there aren’t any obvious singles here ….. but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any stand out songs ….. far, far from it!
The mean and moody Joey and Clara is a prime example as if you did hear it in the radio you would be straight onto the interweb to buy it as soon as you had wiped the final tear from your eyes.
This is immediately followed by the intense and immense Gloryland, which owes more to Prairie Wind era Neil than it does to Bruce’s song of the same name; although I can imagine him joining her on stage one night to accompany her on backing vocals ….. and the double guitars will send a shiver down your back.
Then for my actual Favourite Track, Julie drops a Blues chord or two into the Americana mix on the utterly moving and melancholy Jimmy Reed is The King of Rock & Roll, which had me holding my breath the first time I played it ….. and that’s not a good thing when you’re driving a car!
I feel a bit guilty saying that Julie Christensen has been a ‘discovery’ to me …. and hopefully you too; as she’s been in and around the scene for ‘many moons’ … but she has been a discovery and a great one too; plus listening to Kevin Gordon’s fine songs in this format has been an absolute blast – congratulations to everyone concerned.
Released 21st January 2022
Kevin Gordon http://kg.kevingordon.net/
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY