Julia Carroll
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Julia Carroll

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Julia receives a 2006 ASCAPlus award! This awards program, reserved solely for ASCAP writer members, grants awards to talents in the early-mid stages of their careers. - juliacarroll.com



May 4, 2007
by Jim Reed, Connect Savannah


This Saturday evening, three regional artists will present their original material in just such a format at The Sentient Bean, a family-oriented, smoke and alcohol-free coffeehouse and restaurant that has distinguished itself as one of the few locations in town that’s both interested in (and geared toward) regularly presenting original, contemporary acoustic music.

Billed as an “In-The-Round” showcase, the show features Lauren Lapointe, Julia Carroll and Jason Bible — each of whom enjoys some measure of local notoriety.

Lapointe is a familiar face at The Bean, having gigged there occasionally for the past few years (she even organized and hosted an Open Mic Night there for a while, as well as an Acoustic Showcase which found up-and-coming locals sharing bills with celebrated national touring acts). The Savannah native —by way of Canada— has released two independent CDs of first-person balladry and folk, and is nearing completion on a third collection of her own material.

Carroll attended high school in Savannah, but now divides her time between here and Atlanta, where she’s working diligently to establish herself in that city’s songwriter scene (which begat such icons as the Indigo Girls, Michelle Malone, Shawn Mullins and John Mayer). The openly gay artist dubs her aggressive style of rock-tinged playing and (sometimes) controversial subject matter “HardFolk.”

Bible is best known as the frontman of popular local roots-rock bar band The Train Wrecks. He caught the songwriting bug early, and absorbed inspiration from his Fort Worth, Texas upbringing, as well as from musical heroes such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Jeff Buckley. One can hear aspects of rural blues, dustbowl Americana and hopped-up rockabilly in his work.

It’s a strange amalgam of artists, but organizer Lapointe says that’s the idea.

“I wanted to get together with some of my favorite local songwriters and swap songs,” she explains. “I asked Jason and Julia because I love their music and thought we’d have an interesting blend of different musical styles. I’ve shared the stage with both of them in the past and knew we’d have a really fun evening.”

Bible says that while he’s never heard Carroll’s music, he has heard plenty of complimentary things about her work from Lapointe —whom he has gigged with in the past— and he’s stoked to be included in this particular triple bill. However, despite his years of playing the coffeehouse, bar and restaurant circuit, he’s new to the notion of playing “in-the-round.”

“This will be my first time doing something like this,” he confides — adding, “Other than just sitting and playing with people around the house.”

“It’s kinda weird, ‘cause when you’re doing a full set of your own, it sometimes takes a couple of songs to ‘get that channel open’ between you and the audience. Here, you play one song and stop! It’ll definitely be fun, though. Lauren says she’s had a great time doing these kinds of shows in the past, and she’s always really enthusiastic about doing shows in general. She’s got a lot of energy and her sense of humor is fun to be around, so I’m sure it’ll be a great night.”

Out of deference to the unusual nature of this show, Bible says he’ll be avoiding most of his older material, as well as songs of his popularized by The Train Wrecks, to play a batch of newer songs that he’s rarely —if ever— sung in public before.

For her part, Carroll says she’s never played a song-swapping show with more than one other artist.

“I guess that’s more of a song-line, as opposed to ‘in-the-round,”’ she chuckles.

Carroll, who has not played a Savannah show in many months (opting instead to devote her energy towards breaking into such celebrated listening rooms as Eddie’s Attic in Decatur) is especially enthused to be returning to The Sentient Bean.

“That’s a great space,” she gushes.

“There’s plenty of room to move around on stage, and the room is divided so that the music area and the food and coffee area have a nice buffer from one another. I like that. As for crowd response, I’ve always felt well-received there.”

Lapointe concurs that this venue is one of the best in the area for her genre.

“The Bean has become a really great listening room for acoustic music,” she adds. “I love the folks who go there because they’re diverse and open to anything. They’re very supportive of original music and don’t necessarily want to be in a smoky bar at midnight in order to hear it. It’s a nice complement to other venues in town.”

Still, she says that while it’s great to have a place as comfortable as The Bean to come home to, she’s extremely excited to be touring at last — something she’s only attempted with gusto for the past few months, despite occasional road trips in the past.

“I really enjoy it! I love the challenge of walking into a room where no one knows you (or your music) and winning them over. You get to meet and make connections with incredible people — not just audience members but other musicians as well. It’s all about getting out of your comfort zone which is so important as a musician, and as a person, too.”

Carroll says that after spending a good amount of time playing in different markets, as a singer/songwriter, she can both appreciate what Savannah has going for it, and notice more of its shortcomings.

“While Eddie’s Attic is the premier acoustic venue for the Atlanta area (and much of the South), quite a few of the artists who pass through there have actually played at The Bean, too. I guess the main difference is that Eddie’s is far more saturated with that sort of acoustic-based music — in a good way of course — while I think Savannah could stand to have a bit more than it currently does.

“That’s what’s so nice about showcases like this one — for Savannah, they’re few and far between (or so it seems), but when they do occur, I’m always pleased with the turnouts. Obviously, there is a demand for the type of singer/songwriter music this showcase features, and it’s a shame there’s not more, because there’s definitely a listening audience. And they come to the shows with eager ears and open minds.”



The Sentient Bean Coffeehouse at 13 E. Park Ave. presents an evening of local Songwriters In The Round Saturday evening at 8 pm. This acoustic concert is open to ALL-AGES and is free with a suggested donation to the performers of $5. Call the Bean at 232-4447.




http://www.connectsavannah.com/show_article.php?article_id=2305 - Connect Savannah Newspaper


“Self-described as 'hard folk,' this emerging songwriter is already making waves...Great songs with
biting personal and social critique, delivered with genuine conviction and sheer tenacity. Lyrics and fingers flying...”

- The Crimson Moon, Dahlonega, GA


*****

“Julia Carroll's use of poetry and melody results in a series of solid, confident compositions.”

- DeDe Vogt (Atlanta based musician, recording artist, & sound engineer)


*****

[featured in press release within the context of an upcoming show]

“...Julia Carroll is the youngest to step foot on the stage but don’t let
her age fool you. Her lyrics are witty, humorous, and detailed like a seasoned writer which is joined by her percussive guitar style that will keep you on the edge of your seat and her fan base continues to grow with every appearance. She is know best by her motto 'Folk Me Hard' and her debut CD "2 Cents" shouts out about affecting positive change with heart felt messages and skilfully played guitar.”

- Vicki Blankenship, CEO of Indiegrrl


*****

"A quick unsolicited testimonial. I've played Julia Carroll on my "General Eclectic" show. I think this is an artist with something to say and a new way of saying it. I think this is someone with a future. Give her a listen."

- Tom Bingham, WCVF-FM


*****

“Powerful, edgy, and highly listenable acoustic folk from this Atlanta-based singer songwriter…”

- Pete Harris, Harris Radio (harrisradio.com)


*****

“…clearly a talented lyricist. [‘2 Cents’ is] a powerful collection of well-written, heartfelt songs.”

- Amy Lotsberg, producer of Collected Sounds: A Guide to Women In Music (collectedsounds.com)


*****

“…one of the tough and passionate young singer songwriter musicians that will make you stop, think, and wonder what in the hell you are doing floating along in the mainstream music scene…”

- The Beltane Papers
- *****


Julia Carroll has angst and it boils up in her music. The Gainesville resident by way of Savannah and Midtown Atlanta, is a singer, guitarist and songwriter who rapidly spills her frustrations about pretension, pettiness and apathy in her debut CD "2¢."

Her lyrics lean unabashedly toward the political and social left, where she has found a small, tight circle of kindred souls in North Georgia. The independent musician plans to celebrate the release of her CD Oct. 9 at the Crimson Moon, a Dahlonega venue where she says she has found "like-minded people."


Carroll described her style as "hard folk," which she defines as "hard and dark undertones, layered with lighter instrumentation (including but not limited to, acoustic guitar), while combining intense and passionate lyrics composed by, about and for the folk."

Lyrics in her "Girls Like Us" wittingly convey her disdain for cattiness and feminine trickery: "I really dug your hair until I saw down to your roots, intrigued by you talk you almost had me sold until what you had to say sank deep within myself."

In "SpiralStuck" she decries stodgy self-serving ideals: "stuck in a box like no one else matters, stuck in a hole as far into the ground, stuck in a a bed that you made now is quicksand and faster and faster you are going down."

Carroll said her song, "People Act," most overtly relates her angst. "People put on a face to be politically correct and do the right thing. People do things (to be politically correct) with good intentions, but don't really feel it."

"I write about things I struggle with...things that do frustrate me," said Carroll, who delivers lyrics with quick-fire phrasing backed with simple guitar chording.

"I play with a lot of passion. I play very fast. I want people to leave the show thinking they saw more than this girl playing guitar. I want them to step outside their own little lives and think about issues," said Carroll, whose musical experiences range from high school clarinet and sax to heavy metal bass and drums.

She added that she strives to empower listeners, whether it's motivating them to register to vote, pick up a guitar to sing their truths or honestly express their views. "I want (listeners) to feel they can make a difference and they are not powerless," she said.


- The Times - Gainesville - GA


ATLANTA, Ga. – For local independent artist Julia Carroll, music is about more than entertaining a crowd or selling albums – it’s about affecting positive change.

“I never fully realized, until recently, how important my role could be – and is – as an independent artist,” Carroll says. “Music is the only thing I’ve ever really known, but I didn’t know how or why I wanted to put that knowledge to use. It’s all coming together now, and I’m putting the activism first.”

Carroll has a grassroots philosophy when it comes to her art, and it’s clear from the lyrics in her debut album “2 Cents” (released in 2004) that her music carries a heartfelt message. She sings with powerful emotion about everything from love and friendship, to manipulation and an often self-serving society. With lyrics like that, an artist is bound to alienate themselves from certain listening audiences, but that seems just fine with Carroll. “I realize that in the eyes of the mainstream I’m sometimes viewed as controversial. But so what? It doesn’t bother me… to the contrary, in fact. Hopefully my lyrics spark conversations between folks, like-minded or not. To me, that’s the idea of being an activist artist - to shed light on alternative views to issues. And if I’m preaching to the choir all the time, what’s the point?”

A self-described “hard folk” artist, Carroll defines her style as “acoustic folk with an edge.” One music reviewer says of her sophomore release “Migrating South” (Oct. 2006), “This release really brings out Carroll's own style, which is a little more rock than folk. Her voice is perfect [for this style]; it's tough and edgy but has a vulnerable side just like the tunes. It's not an American Idol voice, but that's a good thing!”

Carroll was influenced and deeply inspired by other artists such as Ani DiFranco, Sarah McLachlan, Patty Griffin, and the Indigo Girls. “Seeing [inspiring artists] in concert – the feeling I get at live shows – I would love to have that affect on others because it was so important to me as an individual, both when I was younger and today,” she says. “Encountering artists who are brave enough to stand up for what they believe has inspired me immensely, and I want to give that back. Even if it’s as simple as playing my music in front of a roomful of people – just being a girl with a guitar – maybe that will give another young person the courage to perform. I think this is especially important for young girls, who are all too often the ‘groupies’ and rarely the ‘group’. It’s always a surprise to me that the notion of being a girl with a guitar, excelling as a such, and expecting others to take you seriously is an idea still so foreign to some people.”

One of Carroll’s primary goals is to remain as an independent artist and maintain control of her music. “I’m going to continue to sell my records and play live shows – get myself out there. Ideally, my long-term goal would be to maintain my own record label so I don’t have to worry about working around someone else’s terms; getting my music out there my way. But that’s looking way ahead. My immediate goal is to continue playing for audiences eager for a fresh face and some hard folk.”
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The aunt’s way retro, the niece is modern folkadelic with an activist edge, but there’s no question that rock n’ roll runs in these genes.

Sandy started up the all-female tribute band The Girlfriends in 1995, bebopping with tunes from the 50’s and 60’s plus a dash of disco, and the Tybee citizen is amazed at how far women’s music has come from the girl groups of her youth. “I just wish I’d had the same kahunas Julia has when I was her age!”

Julia agrees that these days a girl and her guitar can go much further: “There are so many more resources and opportunities for women to network.”

With two albums and a recent tour of New York and Boston, this singer/songwriter has barely begun to put on mileage. She cites Ani DiFranco and Patty Griffin as heroines and recalls not-so-fond memories of Aunt Sandy’s babysitting.

“She got sung ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ a lot as a toddler,” Sandy chuckles. See Julia perform Dec. 7 at the Sentient Bean. - Skirt!


Self-proclaimed “HardFolk” artist Julia Carroll is extremely psyched about this upcoming four-way gig at one of the city’s most eclectic performance spaces.

“Recently, there’s been some serious ‘community brewing’ going on between all of us, along with several other Southern performers,” she relates. “There’s been lots of joint touring and hopefully this will be one of many showcases featuring progressive artists like us to come.”

Carroll’s an outspoken guitarist and singer who attended high school in Savannah but now divides her time between here and Atlanta, where she’s earning a following with her aggressive approach to contemporary (and at times controversial) acoustic folk-rock. She says this show is the kick-off to a weekend mini-tour of Fla., and that it’s highly likely all the musicians will wind up playing together at some point during the evening.

“I’m not sure how this will turn out, but it’s starting to sound like we’ll be ‘in-the-round.’ I also play bass with (Atlanta-based songwriter) Amy Lashley, and Corey Houlihan has been learning to play drums to my music, so there may be a full-band thing for at least some of the songs. Corey’s known as a spoken-word performer —lately she’s been getting labeled ‘homo-hop’ because her writing covers a lot of gay issues— but we recently found out she can actually sing really well, so I’m hoping she’ll bring that onstage for these shows.”

Carroll hopes this group gig will serve as an introduction to all the artists for many locals who may have yet to catch them live. “Amy’s new to the Savannah scene. She’s only played here once or twice before, and although Brennan Bray plays cello with people, she has her own solo stuff she does with a (digital) looping station, and I think she’ll bring that out.” Fri., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean – ALL-AGES. - Connect Savannah - by Jim Reed


Doria Roberts / Julia Carroll
The Crimson Moon
Dahlonega, GA
February 9, 2006


Gainesville indie “hard folker” Julia Carroll is a girl with a guitar and an attitude to match who opened the evening with songs from her indie release Two Cents. Carroll’s hyper, confrontational rap and sing style never bores. Carroll keeps the audience thinking with more than a tinge of anger in lyrics such as “the art of exclusion accelerates destruction,” whose sentiments apply to society and her social circle. Carroll’s voice is strident and stylistically resembles Ani DiFranco. Her many words, rants, and inner musings came off with the help of some interesting and manic guitar work.

The listening space near North Georgia’s campus was filled as folk singer Doria Roberts debuted at the Crimson Moon. The student-dominated crowd gave Roberts a warm reception as she played solo acoustic and electric guitar with some over-dubbed vocal background ranging from Japanese to Angela Davis. Moving seamlessly from hip-hop, rap, and beat in her set of original songs, Roberts is a storyteller of unique experiences as an African-American gay folksinger from New Jersey. Following an inner drummer that many women and men clearly relate to, Roberts opened with “Horizons,” a Japanese subway pop song displaying a versatile voice that goes from a wail to a whisper in a second. Mixing danceable folk and pop with activist sentiments, her song “Jesus is Coming” is about “bad Christians, who hate large groups of people they never met. And if you’re offended I don’t care.” The drum machine dubs added to her material while her stage moves had a riveting effect. Playing songs from her five indie albums, including her latest, Restoration, Roberts interspersed the evening with tales of the places she has traveled. “Nothing’s wrong with Dahlonega — it’s just an outside-the-perimeter thing.” Her finale, “Because,” is inspired by the press asking why she is so angry. “They don’t ask Eminem why he’s angry.” The answer, with its refrain, “Why, Why, Why?” and Davis over-dubbed squashed the question. The enthusiastic response indicated people were having a lot of fun.

-Review & photo by Katie Klemenchich

- Southeast Performer Magazine


a Review by Amy Lotsberg, Producer of Collected Sounds

-------------

I reviewed Julia Carroll's previous release, "2 Cents" and while I found it a bit harder than my normal fare, I enjoyed it. I compared her to Ani Difranco and so did one of the commenters. I still hear Ani's influence but this release really brings out Carroll's own style, which is a little more rock than folk.

The lyrics are what we think of when we think folk, that is, political at times. She's got something to say, no doubt about that. I can see how some that don't share her beliefs might not get her music, but I do (share them and get it).

The first track is a song, "Good Business" about women who own their own businesses, being one of those myself I can relate.

Carroll's voice is perfect for this style. It's tough and edgy but has a vulnerable side just like the tunes. It's not an American Idol voice, but that's a good thing!

"Six Years Down" is really good. She's good at showing lots of emotion with the crescendo/decrescendo (a.k.a. soft/loud) thing. Plus it has that very catchy chorus.

I could take each one of these songs and sing (as it were) it's praises, but that might get boring. So I'll just say that listen to these songs and really listen. Hear the words, hear the emotion and I think you'll end up liking every one.

Posted on February 25, 2007 - CollectedSounds.com


http://www.performermag.com/sep.recordedreviews.0705.php - SOUTHEAST PERFORMER MAGAZINE


Discography

2 Cents (2004) - IndiEvolution Records
Migrating South (2006) - IndiEvolution Records

Photos

Bio

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Nationally touring singer-songwriter Julia Carroll has been an active participant in the indie music scene since she began performing regularly in 2004. Subsequently, having added quite a few notches to her belt of live shows, she has been hard at work making a place for both herself and her self-described "HardFolk" music, all the while gathering a slew of devoted HardFolk listeners. She has published two full lengths records, "2 Cents" (2004) and "Migrating South" (2006), both of which were self-produced and independently released.

An entirely self-taught guitarist, Julia initially stumbled into the world of independent music at the age of fifteen as bass guitarist for a hard rock/heavy metal band. It wasn't until several years later that she began drifting away from the metal scene and toward the acoustic singer-songwriter and spoken word communities. Having written poetry for years, and longing to be more than an avid indie music listener and supporter, she opted to try her hand at putting her poems to music (via the ever predictable six string). It didn't take long for her to realize that not only did she enjoy writing as a hobby, she held a passion for performing as well.

In 2004, After a full year of writing and performing songs at various open mic events, Julia entered Atlanta's own Sound & Fury studio to begin work on her first recording project. What emerged from this collaboration with engineer DeDe Vogt was "2 Cents" - a collection of raw, provocative vocal-on-guitar tracks, produced and performed entirely by Julia. The two years that followed this debut's release were spent touring regionally and preparing for the next recording.

In spring of 2006 Julia re-entered Sound & Fury and, armed with more than enough songs for another full-length recording, commenced work on her sophomore release "Migrating South." Thanks to her loyal listening audience, who purchased numerous copies of the to-be-recorded record in advance, Julia was given the freedom to invite to the studio the talents of several Atlanta-based musicians: Linda Bolley on drums, DeDe Vogt on bass guitar, Brennan Bray on cello, and Amy Lashley on trumpet. Additionally, Julia played bass guitar, percussion, and miscellaneous instruments on several tracks. Finally, in October 2006, hard copies of "Migrating South" were released into the hands of many a hardfolk fan.

One aspect of Julia's music that sets her apart from other performers is the ever-present role that activism plays in her lyrics. Ranging from modern-day natural disasters (and other current events) to identifying as a queer individual living in the South, her HardFolk sound is unmistakably progressive, powerfully compelling, and always delivered with the grace and conviction of someone who is passionate about their work.

Over two years after her sophomore release, Julia has focused much of her efforts on live performance, collaboration with other performers, and touring outside of the southeast region. Her tour span reaches as far west as Minneapolis and New Orleans, to as far north as Maine and Ontario, touring both solo and with fellow songwriters Sean Kagalis, Amy Lashley, Corey Houlihan, and Wayne Fishell. In January of 2008, Julia co-founded the Folk&Spoke Artist Collective, an Atlanta-based outfit devoted to the support and promotion of songwriters and poets.