Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts
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Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
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"Julie Johnson & the No-Accounts"



Julie Johnson & the No-Accounts @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Julie Johnson plays flute. Doug Otto plays guitar and sings. Drew Druckery plays guitar, mandolin, and sings. Together, this trio creates a unique sound as they explore the historical folk songs of Minnesota. Otto’s warm, yet world-weary vocals can transport you back in time. Johnson expresses all kinds of emotions with her flute, whether playing a polka or a mournful tune about the death of a lumberjack. It’s not the folk music you may expect, but it’s definitely music you’ll remember. - Larry Englund, Rhythm and Grooves (blog)


"Testimonial from Jenny Weber, Director of Activities, Friendship Village in Bloomington, MN, 2011"

"Julie was simply magical on her flute and Doug has one of the most beautiful voices I've ever heard. They were on time and the program was well attended." - N/A


"Old, weird Minnesota: Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts Let Their Flute-Folk Freak Flag Fly"

What are the first words that pop into your head when you hear the phrase "folk music"? Jangly acoustic guitars? Yup, good. Warbling falsettos? Got it, sure. Searing, supersonic jazz/classical fusion flute solos? What's that? No? Not at all? WTF?

That's exactly the reaction Julie Johnson wants you to have.

I'm sitting slouched in a wonderfully tacky rocking chair in the studio of Julie Johnson & the No-Accounts in northeast Minneapolis's bunker-esque Thorp Building. Julie and her fellow No-Accounts (a.k.a. Doug Otto and Drew Druckery) are politely sitting across from me, dwarfed by the 30-foot-tall white brick walls that surround us. Oh, sure, they look the part of your typical folkies; Drew has the obligatory round-framed glasses, and both he and Doug both sport scraggly, unkempt beards. Julie's got the horn-rimmed glasses and the retiring, hyper-accommodating demeanor. But muck around a bit into the psyches of these accomplished local musicians (all of them graduated from Augsburg College with degrees in music and have performed extensively with a variety of local groups), and you dig up a serious restlessness, a curiosity that shames most other self-proclaimed "experimental" bands out there.

The proof can be found on their debut album, The Banks of the Little Auplaine, which takes its name from an old north woods "shanty boy" (read: lumberjack) song, "The Little Auplaine." Almost all of the songs on the album are adaptations of indigenous Minnesota folks tunes from the late 1800s and early 1900s, including Iron Range mining songs, French Canadian voyageur songs, Scandinavian hymns, logging songs, and polkas. However, Johnson, who received a 2009 Subito Grant from the American Composers Forum to write the album, has refused to enslave herself to simply parroting the songs exactly as they were once performed. Rather, she has taken extensive artistic license and given them a new life that is not quite 19th-century, nor 21st. They are both and they are neither...and that is exactly what sucks you in.

"The arrangements I write are totally creating a new song. We're not doing it exactly how they were done in the least bit. We are creating a new world for these songs," Johnson claims.

Originally from Baudette, Minnesota, a town of 1,100 on the Canadian border that is known as the Walleye Capital of the World (and is the proud home of "Willie the Walleye"), Johnson explains that the inspiration for the album came not from her far north upbringing, but rather from the Delta blues of the deep South.

"We were playing this amazing, rich, soulful music that is indigenous to the South, but there are a lot of bands that do that. That's when we were like, 'Well, we are all from this region, let's just see if there's music from here that has that same kind of soulful feel to it and turn it into something new,'" she says.

And it is largely thanks to Johnson's flute that this new creature has been born. On her Facebook page, Johnson claims she brings her flute "to places where, she's been told, the flute doesn't belong." And on first listen, her flute does seem to stand out conspicuously among the expected guitars and mandolins. But rather than grating on you like some annoying, uninvited party guest, Johnson's flute acts more as a clever and whimsical social butterfly. It flits about, at times breathy and seductive, and at others spastic and poster-child ADHD—no more so than on "The Panther," one of two original pieces Johnson wrote for the album.

"What I think is so cool about this band is everybody is willing to try new things with their vocals and instruments, and we all improvise very easily and actively. There is so much room to go crazy with it," Johnson says. "It's genre-bending all over the place. There's so many different styles, it's going to appeal to a lot of different people."

"I just love the fact that we're all over the place," Druckery concurs. "It's really pushed me a lot in my playing. I've had to work my ass off."

The result of all this ass-kicking hard work is an enigma that is equally somber, soulful, and transcendent. Like all good folk music, The Banks of the Little Auplaine is unsettlingly intimate. It is as open and stark as a northern Minnesota winter, demanding of contemplation, and rewards you with a beauty so honest it hurts.

"I think there is something about this music that really, really speaks to people. There's that old soul kind of feeling to it," Johnson says. "Wherever we play this stuff, people really seem to gravitate to it." - City Pages; Review by Michael L. Walsh, July 20, 2011


"The Go Round + White Whales + Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts at Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis 9.25.11"

Show opener Julie Johnson deserves special mention for her flute. I’ll admit, when she pulled it out I had an involuntary flashback to my middle school flute quintet’s performance of “Greensleeves,” which was not pleasant. However, the No-Accounts’ interpretation of traditional folk ultimately won me over, with Doug Otto’s lingering vocals and, yes, Johnson’s mad flute skills. Girlfriend’s mighty dexterous. - We Heart Music


"The Go Round + White Whales + Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts at Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis 9.25.11"

Show opener Julie Johnson deserves special mention for her flute. I’ll admit, when she pulled it out I had an involuntary flashback to my middle school flute quintet’s performance of “Greensleeves,” which was not pleasant. However, the No-Accounts’ interpretation of traditional folk ultimately won me over, with Doug Otto’s lingering vocals and, yes, Johnson’s mad flute skills. Girlfriend’s mighty dexterous. - We Heart Music


"Testimonial from Jodi Collen, Event Coordinator at Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN"

"I have worked with Julie and The No-Accounts on numerous occasions at Augsburg. Most recently, they played at two of our Welcome Back events for returning students. Both during and after the event, I received numerous compliments from members of the campus community about how great the musicians were. The music is untraditional enough that it definitely feels and sounds like something new and exciting (unlike something that they hear over and over every single day) and it's upbeat and fun. And, when working with a group of 18-24 year old students, keeping their attention can be difficult. I know that we've succeeded when they sit and watch a group---and they definitely did that for this event. Of course, as the event planner I also appreciate working with Julie because she is flexible, shows up on time and has a great, positive attitude. She and her team are always a pleasure to work with and we return to them over and over to provide music for our events." - N/A


"Blues on a Flute!"


What a beautiful Friday afternoon at MacPhail's "First Friday" free lunchtime concert. The trio, Julie Johnson - flute, Doug Otto - guitar/vocals, and Drew Druckery - slide guitar/mandolin/vocals, played to a packed house in the sunny lobby of the new MacPhail Center on 2nd St. near 5th Ave. in downtown Minneapolis.

The 45 minute concert included music from Leadbelly, Son House, Ian Clarke, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Robert Johnson and Doug Otto. The crowd of mostly 70-and-80-somethings were smiling, hooting, clapping and tapping their feet especially to Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot". Even the people in scooters were tapping their feet and knees. The concert ended with a standing ovation.

In comparing this venue to the typical bar where blues music is normally played Julie Johnson commented, "This music should be listened to" which does not always happen in bars.

If you work in downtown Minneapolis or have days off I would recommend the MacPhail "First Friday" series. Each month features a different musical genre. There are 8-hour parking meters on the street or ramp parking at the depot. I say bring a beverage and come for a quick lunchtime music fix.
- by Roz Goldberg for Twin Cities Blues Society, March 21, 2008


"Take Note"


In January, Julie Johnson released her first CD, Arrest, a fascinating experiment in using the flute to play such nonflute-like music as blues, jazz, flamenco, and folk. A teacher at MacPhail Center for Music, Johnson is currently working on a project involving songs sung by Minnesota miners and loggers.

GREW UP: Baudette, Minnesota—on the Canadian border.

THE NEW CD: My grant project was to do a CD that had different musical styles—blues, jazz, flamenco, folk—but based around the flute, which you don’t normally hear.

BLUES AND THE FLUTE: At my first blues jam, the guy at the door wouldn’t let me get onstage. Finally he relented, mumbling something under his breath like, “Bringing a flute to a blues jam is like bringing a knife to a gunfight.” Flutists don’t play the blues, but that’s what I want to do. I want to combine it all. That’s why everything on the CD is based on folk and street music.

HER SOUND: I play the flute differently from most classically trained flutists. My sound is different—it’s a little more raw than your typical classical sound, but more focused than a typical jazz sound. It’s somewhere in between.

INFLUENCES: I get my inspiration from singers and bands. Lead Belly, Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Cash, Patty Griffin, Astor Piazzolla, Tom Waits—those are my influences.
- Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, March 2009


""Arrest" CD Review"


If you’re ready for a change of pace in your listening library, Twin Cities flutist Julie Johnson has just released an album for you. A mix of classical gems and new takes on popular idioms, “Arrest” is sure to have something interesting and unusual for every ear.

The unifying idea encompassing this eclectic mix of pieces is their roots in folk-music traditions from around the world. Johnson puts Western classical music (Reichert’s Souvenir du Para) next to tunes based on jazz (Heath’s Coltrane), blues (Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”) and folk (Johnson’s original work The Removed). In addition to getting a sense of an extended span of musical possibilities for the flute, I came away from this album with a clear idea of both the wide range of Johnson’s stylistic abilities and her passion for music from all corners of life. In the end, this very personal thread is what holds the album together and draws in the listener.

Throughout the disc, Johnson showcases a flute sound that is full of soul and intensity and she’s not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve in service to the music. To bring out the rougher, more emotional side of the pieces, Johnson treats melodies with an improvisatory rhythmic flexibility and colors her sound with pitch bends and blues notes. This gives familiar pieces like Villa-Lobos Assobio a játo and newer works like Caliendo’s Sinceritá a feeling of spontaneity and vitality that would be equally at home on a busy street corner or crowded café.

Johnson is ably assisted by many fine Twin Cities musicians. In addition to familiar combinations of flute with piano, guitar and cello, respectively, we are also treated to a blues band and an unusual, very fun trio of flute, accordion and bass on Piazzolla’s Lunfardo.

This album was created with care and deep feeling for the music; it gives the listener a special window into the heart of the performers and Johnson's fervent devotion to sharing music that speaks to the soul.

Available from:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/juliejohnson
or www.julieflute.com
- by Emily Sapa for the Upper Midwest Flute Association, January 2009


""Arrest" CD Review"


A magnificent blend of solo flute and orchestral music designed to suite any musical taste, Julie Johnson is quite the accomplished musician with a slew of professional experience under her belt. “Arrest” is the first solo album for this fluting dynamo and a very interesting collection of original composition pieces that have a flair all their own. Johnson mixes contemporary and classical styles into a fine frenzy of idiosyncratic masterpieces.

Johnson explores the intricacies of the flute in an array of whimsical tracks that are sure to be a sweet and audible treat for any listener. Despite the lovely melodies of Johnson’s instrument, the first track of “Arrest” is enough to make listeners wonder if they did indeed put in the correct CD into their IPod or CD player. A man’s voice floods through the speakers to reveal a song that is both hideous and unbearable. Not to worry with just one click to the next song all becomes well and the sensory experience can once more commence.

“The Removed” is a dream-like ode that is calm, sincere and reflective. Each song on the album is organic, genius and intriguing, yet leaves one feeling as though they have experienced a variety of styles of music on one album. “Souvenir du Para” is an uplifting track that sounds similar to “Moonlight Sonata” and reminds me of new age Irish-born vocalist, Enya. “Asobio a jato,” the eighth track is delicate duet between cello and flute, an endearing song that is fun and full of soul.

Johnson is a talent that is sure to become a greater artist than she already has become, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to hear more of her very soon. Her multitude of awards, mixed with an overall talent for shattering perceptions of what is classical music can be heard in “Arrest” along with a passion for playing the flute and the extraordinary ability to share her talent and love of music with others.

Might Like:
Yo-Yo Ma, Laurel Zucker, Vanessa-Mae, Bond, Darren Hayes, Sarah Bauhan, Philippe Allain-Dupre and Enya.
- by Tammy Reese for Rift Magazine, January 12, 2009


"Video Profile - CD Release Show"


A video profile of Julie’s CD release show on January 10, 2009, with footage of Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts’ performance of Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” By Matt Peiken for Three Minute Egg. View it at

http://3minuteegg.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/julie-johnsons-arrest/ - 3 Minute Egg, Matt Peiken, January 14, 2009


"Excerpt from a profile of Doug Otto and his band Doug Otto and The Getaways"


See the whole profile at http://www.kfai.org/node/15205

"...Heavily influenced by delta blues and classic country songs, Doug Otto plays the guitar and harmonica to accompany his singing....
Doug Otto and the Getaways perform original material with a range of influences. The blues scales and forms heavily influence the sound of Otto but the influences of classical music, simple folk songs [and] hymnal music can be felt as well."



- KFAI


""Arrest" CD Review"


A magnificent blend of solo flute and orchestral music designed to suite any musical taste, Julie Johnson is quite the accomplished musician with a slew of professional experience under her belt. “Arrest” is the first solo album for this fluting dynamo and a very interesting collection of original composition pieces that have a flair all their own. Johnson mixes contemporary and classical styles into a fine frenzy of idiosyncratic masterpieces.

Johnson explores the intricacies of the flute in an array of whimsical tracks that are sure to be a sweet and audible treat for any listener. Despite the lovely melodies of Johnson’s instrument, the first track of “Arrest” is enough to make listeners wonder if they did indeed put in the correct CD into their IPod or CD player. A man’s voice floods through the speakers to reveal a song that is both hideous and unbearable. Not to worry with just one click to the next song all becomes well and the sensory experience can once more commence.

“The Removed” is a dream-like ode that is calm, sincere and reflective. Each song on the album is organic, genius and intriguing, yet leaves one feeling as though they have experienced a variety of styles of music on one album. “Souvenir du Para” is an uplifting track that sounds similar to “Moonlight Sonata” and reminds me of new age Irish-born vocalist, Enya. “Asobio a jato,” the eighth track is delicate duet between cello and flute, an endearing song that is fun and full of soul.

Johnson is a talent that is sure to become a greater artist than she already has become, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to hear more of her very soon. Her multitude of awards, mixed with an overall talent for shattering perceptions of what is classical music can be heard in “Arrest” along with a passion for playing the flute and the extraordinary ability to share her talent and love of music with others.

Might Like:
Yo-Yo Ma, Laurel Zucker, Vanessa-Mae, Bond, Darren Hayes, Sarah Bauhan, Philippe Allain-Dupre and Enya.
- by Tammy Reese for Rift Magazine, January 12, 2009


Discography

* an arrangement of "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," by Leadbelly, arranged by Julie Johnson, released on Julie Johnson's self-produced CD *Arrest* (2008)

* The Banks of The Little Auplaine, full-length debut album, self-produced, available at

Photos

Bio


Watch a video of us recording "Gary's Polka" at Wild Sound Recording Studios in Minneapolis: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1857699562510


THE MUSIC


Based in Minneapolis, Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts is made up of Julie Johnson on flute and bass flute, Doug Otto on vocals and guitar, and Drew Druckrey on resonator guitar, vocals, and mandolin. We each bring the influence of jazz, classical, and hymns to our versions of traditional songs. We play the Delta blues tunes and traditional Southern standards that drew us to roots musicartists like Leadbelly, Howlin Wolf, and Skip Jamesbut also roots music from our own region, the Upper Midwest.


Along with originals, our set list includes a version of Leadbellys In the Pines influenced by music from Carmen; an arrangement for vocals, flute, mandolin, and bass clarinet of Bob Dylans little-known Winterlude; an old North Woods shanty boy (logging camp) song, The Little Auplaine; as well as polkas, waltzes, Mtis jigs, and a pioneer hymn from The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook.


Our versions of these Minnesota tunes (written primarily by band founder Julie Johnson, but developed by all three members of the band) cross back and forth between song and composition, popular and chamber music. Were influenced by many artists, including Skip James, Gillian Welch, Astor Piazzolla, Patty Griffin, Villa-Lobos, Bartok, and Robert Johnson.


Michael Walsh at City Pages speaks to our drive to experiment in a profile and review of our debut album, The Banks of The Little Auplaine, released in spring 2011. Describing the searing, supersonic jazz/classical fusion flute solos and a serious restlessness, a curiosity that shames most other self-proclaimed experimental bands out there, he calls our album unsettlingly intimate demanding of contemplation, and reward[ing] you with a beauty so honest it hurts.


HISTORY


The three of us share a connection to Augsburg Colleges music program, with its musically diverse faculty, and weve been collaborating for several years. Formed in the summer of 2009, Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts have played at The Cowles Center for Dance and The Performing Arts, The Kitty Kat Club, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Amsterdam Bar, Studio Z, The Black Dog Caf, MacPhail Center for Music, The Red Stag, The Fine Line Music Caf, Lees Liquor Lounge, St. Pauls History Theatre, and other bars, clubs, and festivals. In summer 2011 we were featured on the KFAI House Party at the 331 Club in Minneapolis, and played in the libraries, schools, and community centers of Western Minnesota on a tour supported by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. In 2010, the band made the stand-by list for the Austin, Texas music festival South by Southwest. Julie Johnson has played with groups as varied as the Minnesota Chorale and the Texas blues singer Dede Priest, while Doug Otto (of Doug Otto & The Getaways) and Druckrey (of The Jason Dixon Line), both veterans of the Augsburg College Choir, have also played together in bands such as The North Country Bandits.


Johnson featured Otto and Druckrey on Arrest, her 2008 album of compositions based on folk and street music from around the world, which received praise from Rift Magazine, 3-Minute Egg, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, and the Take Note feature at Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, which called Arrest a fascinating experiment in using the flute to play such nonflute-like music as blues, jazz, flamenco, and folk. Said Tammy Reese at Rift, Johnson mixes contemporary and classical styles into a fine frenzy of idiosyncratic masterpieces . a talent that is sure to become a greater artist than she already has become.


DEBUT ALBUM: The Banks of The Little Auplaine


With help from a grant from The American Composers Forum, as well as a residency at the Lanesboro Arts Center, Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts premiered our first full recording of composition/songs based on Minnesota folk music at the Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis on April 1 & 2nd, 2011. The album is available on CD Baby at


Band Members