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WORDS: ANDY HAYWARD
Julie Baenziger’s unusual voice started to take shape in her mid-teens. Whilst at church with her sister, Julie found herself a love interest- not in God as you might expect from a ‘good-Christian girl’- but in a girl- or more precisely a girl with a fantastic voice. Too hesitant to share her true feelings, she set about trying to emulate the wonderful sound she had heard- the teen locked herself away and taught herself how to sing…
Julie Baenziger/Julie Ann Bee- or just plain old Jules to her friends- began playing bass in a band where she was spotted by publisher and producer, John Baccigaluppi. With Baccigaluppi’s help Jules developed from the shy young girl singing in her bedroom into the mature female artist that has emerged from the colony of unsigned folk musicians as the band Sea of Bees.
Now, the Sea Of Bees line-up is a very simple concept…It’s just Jules. Whether it be writing the songs, singing the words or playing the notes she’s the one doing it- and she does it extremely well on her debut album Songs for the Ravens.
Songs for the Ravens kicks off with the track ‘Gnomes’, a fantastic blend of Nancy Sinatra-styled vocals with a regimented Johnny Cash style guitar rhythm that creating a genre coined by the phrase ‘old-style’ new-folk. Drawing from the past, Baenziger manages to create a sound that is both original, and that manages to assert its own stamp on the world- her own brand of musical honey. The two styles are blended to to perfection, making Songs for the Ravens nearer an equal of the two music giants of Sinatra and Cash over a poorly executed parody.
As Songs for the Ravens progresses, every album track seems just as seemless as its predecessor- and each one is just as unique as the last. Another masterpiece we loved is ‘Skinnybone’; as harmonious as ‘Gnomes’, ‘Skinnybone’ commands a more percussion-inspired instrumental that demands uncontrollable movement from your feet. This is happy music for sure.
No doubt big things lie ahead for Sea Of Bees. Jules has a truly beautiful voice, a head buzzing with ideas, and an ability to combine elements to create and musically convey a vast array of emotions. Who knows where the future will take her… We hope it’s far.
BEST TRACK/S: Skinnybone, Gnomes, Wizbot
SOUNDS LIKE: Lykke Li, Nancy Sinatra, Bat For Lashes, I Blame Coco, Robyn
Jules is currently touring the U.K supporting John Grant. They play Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 27 March 2011. The album Songs For The Ravens is available now on Heavenly Recordings.
ILLUSTRATIONS: JULIE VERMEILLE