Julie Roberts

Julie Roberts

4.8 19
by Julie Roberts
     
 

Newcomer Julie Roberts is a soulful southern songstress whose classic, down-home country voice comes with a rather pronounced blues edge and attitude, alternately evoking Allison Moorer and Trisha Yearwood. Given that, producer Brent Rowan steps back and lets Roberts wail and moan in front of a tightSee more details below

Overview

Newcomer Julie Roberts is a soulful southern songstress whose classic, down-home country voice comes with a rather pronounced blues edge and attitude, alternately evoking Allison Moorer and Trisha Yearwood. Given that, producer Brent Rowan steps back and lets Roberts wail and moan in front of a tight little ensemble of musicians who make sure this debut album is honky-tonk friendly in its up-tempo moments and tenderhearted, but not sentimental, in its thoughtful passages. Right off the bat Roberts digs into the gritty country blues of "You Ain't Down Home," drawling her way through an unabashed tribute to the simple life, whereas on the churning "Break Down Here," she employs an affecting world-weariness that makes her sound seasoned beyond her years. A lilting accordion line and insistently strummed acoustic guitar establish a vaguely Irish ambiance on the sweet-natured "Pot of Gold," and Roberts brings it home with a measured, straightforward expression from the soul of a woman luxuriating in being loved. "Wake Up Older," a rare bird in being both a drinkin' song and a breakup song, finds Roberts rousing herself from a whiskey fog and moaning the twist of fate that's cost her both her man and her bottle of Jim Beam, truly a dire predicament worthy of the exclamatory choruses and pounding drums. Most impressive of all is her smart reading of Julie Miller's searing ballad of lost love, "I Can't Get Over You." A weeping pedal steel line arises, the band stays low key, and Roberts simply sings, from the depths of a broken heart, never overplaying her angst into bathos. It's a beautiful performance, one of many on this impressive debut.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
It would have been a snap for Luke Lewis and the Mercury braintrust to craft Julie Roberts into a contemporary country songbird and smother her in gooey, soulless gloss. Instead, Roberts' eponymous debut never overdoes anything, relying on an easygoing ramble instead of running the Music City hat race. Roberts is beautiful, to be clear about it. But in her choice of song and style of singing, the South Carolina native keeps things gorgeously simple. "Aw, this old thing?" her bluesy phrasing says. But there's also a wink, like she knows just how good she is. Opener "You Ain't Down Home" takes a flashy city boy to task, and showcases Roberts' Bonnie Raitt sass. It also establishes guitarist Brent Rowan's evenhanded production, which allows for a marketable studio sheen, but lets the grit get through, too. The snare is crisp, the guitars ride shotgun, and the background vocals of Wes Hightower (and Vince Gill on a couple of tracks) are full of warmth. Delbert McClinton stops by as a supporting vocalist, too, riffing on the nothin' but each other story line in the fun country rocker "No Way Out." Roberts is great on the single "Break Down Here" -- she moves the track along with a mixture of anger and hope, and sells its desperation better than Trace Adkins did on his Comin' on Strong record. Her twangy vocals set the songs' scenes throughout the album, with support from whatever instruments are needed to make the mood work. In "Pot of Gold," an accordion lends a cheery storybook lilt to Roberts' romantic contentment. However, a few songs later she's sleeping in her makeup and talking to the bottle, hooking up with a stranger and waking up older, missing the one she really loves. There's a little of Shelby Lynne's achy resignation layered into Julie Roberts' music, even if the surface is accessible as Faith Hill. The melancholy ballad "Rain on a Tin Roof" could've exploded with keening strings and enormous, fluttering-hand singing. It never does. Rowan's quiet soloing supports Roberts and Hightower's harmony as an introspective piano mirrors the song's downpour patter -- the song's self-control is admirable, and emblematic of the offhanded determination of Julie Roberts' wonderful debut.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/25/2004
Label:
Mercury Nashville
UPC:
0602498616451
catalogNumber:
000190202
Rank:
101331

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Julie Roberts   Primary Artist,Vocals
Delbert McClinton   Background Vocals
Pat McLaughlin   Background Vocals
Eric Darken   Percussion
Shannon Forrest   Drums
Vince Gill   Background Vocals
David Hungate   Bass
Gordon Mote   Keyboards
Brent Rowan   Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Tim Lauer   Accordion,Keyboards,Pump Organ
Bryan Sutton   Acoustic Guitar,Mandocello
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Paul Overstreet   Composer
Julie Miller   Composer
Marcus Hummon   Composer
Jamie O'Hara   Composer
Gary Paczosa   Engineer
Brent Rowan   Producer,Engineer
Doug Sax   Mastering
Darrell Scott   Composer
Kent Blazy   Composer
Wendell Mobley   Composer
Jess Brown   Composer
Deanna Bryant   Composer
Lisa Carver   Composer
Robert Hadley   Mastering
Karen Naff   Art Direction
Frank Rogers   Composer
Chip Matthews   Engineer
Liz Hengber   Composer
Chris Stapleton   Composer

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