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Men &  Mascara

Men & Mascara

4.0 2
by Julie Roberts
Julie Roberts saw her 2004 self-titled debut go gold, and she can get ready for more precious metal in her trophy case once Men & Mascara gets rolling. Working with Tim McGraw's producing partner, Byron Gallimore, Roberts stays close to the rootsy country sound that serves her throaty, Trisha Yearwood-inspired vocal stylings so well,


Julie Roberts saw her 2004 self-titled debut go gold, and she can get ready for more precious metal in her trophy case once Men & Mascara gets rolling. Working with Tim McGraw's producing partner, Byron Gallimore, Roberts stays close to the rootsy country sound that serves her throaty, Trisha Yearwood-inspired vocal stylings so well, buttressing her sound with pedal steel and fiddle (the latter supplied by the formidable Aubrey Haynie). Roberts puts it to you straight: "Men and mascara always run." There's a fair share of manipulative guys and damaged but resolute gals in these songs, and Roberts powerfully expresses the conflicting emotions. One of the most effective opening gambits anyone's likely to introduce this year comes in a Roberts original, when she moans, over the dirge-like rhythm of a lone acoustic guitar and a whining fiddle, "I still love you and I don't know why," and proceeds to deal some honky-tonk blues in decrying her inability to cut loose from the man who done her wrong. In another of her four original tunes, the stomping "First to Never Know," a sturdy, guitar-fired country-rock framework supports Roberts as she spits out a merciless kiss-off to a lout before hitting the road for destinations unknown. In "Chasin' Whiskey," an edgy, churning ballad with lots of furious twang, Roberts takes to the bottle to drown the memory of a destructive but irresistible flame -- "I'll trade lonely for regret," she laments. Rich stuff here, from a singer who knows how to bring lyrics to life.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Although country stars generally do not write their own songs, the songs they choose from the Nashville publishing houses reveal something about the musical personas they are trying to project, even if all they say is, "I want to have a hit." Julie Roberts actually participated in the writing of four of the songs on her second album, not having had any creative input into its predecessor. But whether she is picking from the available demos or forging her own efforts with the help of others, it's clear what she is trying to project: heartbreak. She is the first to admit this, noting in the press biography accompanying advance copies of Men & Mascara, "I enjoy writing sad songs. If somebody brings in a happy idea, I like them if they are not too, too happy. Sometimes I'll say, 'That is just too happy for me.'" Roberts' tendency toward the dark side jibes well with her vocal quality, which has a torn, ragged, emotional edge that underscores the unhappiness in the lyrics. Her affinity for emotional turmoil is what causes the comparisons to Bonnie Raitt and Shelby Lynne instead of the sweet Faith Hill or the rowdy Gretchen Wilson, and gives her appeal beyond Nashville. And she plays to that affinity over and over on Men & Mascara, which certainly doesn't contain any songs that are too, too happy. Even when something positive is being described, as in "Smile" and "Too Damn Young," there is more than a suggestion of trouble. And the rest of the time, trouble is the main topic of conversation, as Roberts sings -- in the voices of women who are romantically obsessed -- to and about men who aren't worthy of them. "Men and mascara always run," she notes in the title song, and that's pretty much the way that the male sex is portrayed in song after song; "She was looking for love, he was looking for fun" is the song's other key line. Even realizing this, Roberts' women can't help themselves. The best they can do is to try to resist taking up with married men until they're sure they've left their wives ("A Bridge That's Burning") or try to escape a bad relationship by leaving town for parts unknown ("First to Never Know"). The only apparently worthy lover is the absent one in the heartrending album closer, "All I Want Is You," and the conditional verb tense ("Everyone says, 'Move on'/That is what you would want") suggests that he may have left the singer a widow. If all of this sounds like old-fashioned female victim music, Roberts invests these women with dignity amidst their troubles and, forced to sing powerfully over producer Byron Gallimore's aggressive arrangements and loud music mix, she gives them a toughness, no matter how dire their circumstances. The result is a Nashville country album that transcends the usual clichés to a remarkable extent.
Rolling Stone - Christian Hoard
1/2 Though Roberts sells up-tempo stuff like the clever, slightly trite single "Girl Next Door," she's best on ballads with sweeping choruses and deep, romantic undertow.
Boston Globe - Stuart Munro
Roberts's singing is more developed, sounds even bluesier, and hearkens back to predecessors.... Roberts has taken a huge step forward with this record.
Atlanta Journal Constitution - Shane Harrison
[Grade: B+] "Men & Mascara"...is one of the best country songs of the year.
Chicago Tribune - Chrissie Dickinson
The twentysomething Roberts may be young, but she's got the blues-drenched vocal chops, artistic intelligence and rootsy production to bring these dramatic tunes to life.
Hartford Courant - Thomas Kintner
An assortment of first-rate tunes that are as well crafted as they are lively.

Product Details

Release Date:
Mercury Nashville


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Julie Roberts   Primary Artist
Chip Davis   Background Vocals
Mark Casstevens   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo
Paul Franklin   Dobro,Steel Guitar,Slide Guitar
David Hungate   Bass
Paul Leim   Drums
B. James Lowry   Acoustic Guitar,Resonator
Steve Nathan   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Keyboards,Wurlitzer
Lonnie Wilson   Percussion,Drums
Glenn Worf   Bass Guitar
Aubrey Haynie   Fiddle,Mandolin
Russell Terrell   Background Vocals
Lisa Cochran   Background Vocals
Lisa Gregg   Background Vocals
Marty Slayton   Background Vocals
Hillary Lindsey   Background Vocals
Tom Bukavac   Electric Guitar
Jeff King   Electric Guitar

Technical Credits

Byron Gallimore   Producer
Julian King   Engineer
James Stroud   Producer
Lonnie Wilson   Loop
Chuck Ainlay   Engineer
Julie Roberts   Composer
Carson Chamberlain   Composer
Chris Lindsey   Composer
Aimee Mayo   Composer
Rivers Rutherford   Composer
Robin Lee Bruce   Composer
Erik Lutkins   Engineer
Marvin Green   Composer
Karen Naff   Art Direction
Roxie Dean   Composer
Mickey Jack Cones   Composer
Hillary Lindsey   Composer
Jesse Chrisman   Engineer
Sara Lesher   Engineer
Tony Mullins   Composer
Dak Goodman   Composer
Kris Misevski   Composer
Marti Dodson   Composer
Pat Buzzard   Composer
Chris Stapleton   Composer
Arlis Albritton   Composer

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Men & Mascara 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album like her first hits so many heart strings so close to home. Every song seems to have at least on lyric that connects to me, my life, my truths. I haven't taken it out of my car cd player since i bought it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
She has a trememdous voice that has been wasted on the sophomoric, double-entendre lyrics that have succeeded in dumbing down country music in the last 30 years. I listened to this CD twice, gave it to my teenage daughter, and filed Julie Roberts in the category of commercial country artists that look and sound too much alike. This is a disappointment when comparing this CD to the her first CD. I think I will stick with Lucinda Williams and the like.