Thursday, April 3, 2014

She's a Little Lonely and Freakishly Good

That's what she calls herself, Julie Cain, and you can't blame her for picking a bit of an outlandish name in these days of white noise.  There are seemingly ten thousand records recorded and released a week and finding the ones worth spending your time with can be a chore, if not a tremendous mental challenge.  The name could help, so Little Lonely it is and after hearing her new self-titled album, I'm finding that I really don't care.  As always, the truth is in the grooves and this album is as groovy as it comes.

There are some beautiful songs in this package--- the almost Bali Hai-ish in feel Buttonwillow;  the steeped-in-lonely The First Time You Left Me with the guitar almost crying in its cradle of reverb and echo;  Interstate Hum which caught me right off with its Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers aura (Zoe, you want to cover anything, please cover this);  the midtempo and flowing rocker, Jesus Is In My Swimming Pool, very Sarah Borges in its separation of verse and chorus.  Penny's First Available has a slight fifties feel and could as easily have ended up on a Drifters album as anywhere.

 I suppose one would have to label this Americana if for no other reason that there are so many different influences.  Country, when the pedal steel dominates.  Pop, when melody is the focus.  Folk, fifties and sixties.  Always within the range of Julie's little girl voice on certain songs, her perfectly mature voice on others.  She reminds me of an early Brenda Lee, altering said voice to fit the songs.  And, as aformentioned, the songs are outstanding.

There is a new video of Interstate Hum, by the way, an exclusive at this time, being previewed at  It's pretty cool.  So is the ezine, one of the first to hop on the Little Lonely bandwagon.  What can I say?  They obviously have taste.

I swear to God, musicians are an untrusting lot.  More than a few albums have included hidden or secret tracks and I would not be surprised to find them included just for writers, for we are a lazy lot and famed for needle-dropping (a term used for listening to the first five or ten seconds of a track rather than all the way through).  So musicians and producers set traps.  On this album, it is set visibly as the album-ender.  Old US 40 is, oddly, a recording of ambient sounds recorded on, I assume, Old US 40.  Ambient sounds.  Wind.  Thunder in the distance.  No music.  No vocal.  I picture Julie sitting by her computer rubbing her hands in delicious anticipation of the review which mentions it as an actual song.  Devious.  Very devious.

I know the big dream is the major label deal, even in an industry imploding on itself.  This album is as good as anything the major labels have put out in the past fifty years.  Excellent production by Sean Hoffman and a crew of sidemen perfect for the job.  And Julie is certainly no slouch herself.  She writes like a pro, sings like an angel and has a sense of humor about life.  As far as I'm concerned, she is already a star.  She doesn't need a major label.  She just needs to be heard.

That sense of humor?  Watch this.  Cracks me up every time.

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

(Frank Gutch Jr. writes and has written for numerous magazines and websites, presently including this blog, his own website and the prestigious Don't Believe A Word I Say site put together by musician and music pundit Bob Segarini, out of Toronto. He specializes in the Indies, having fought hand-to-hand combat with major record labels for decades (talk about zombies). He believes music should be the core of the music business, though business it mostly be, and denies the accepted reality in the stead of the artistic one. Seldom does he receive pay for articles and/or reviews and believes that there is no place for negatives in a world in which one cannot keep up with the positives. He is, in a sense, a lost soul in a sea of music, drowning, but drowning gratefully.)

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