An original cross-genre journey through Americana and Folk Music that is a fresh take on a bygone era that is intimate, alluring, and hauntingly beautiful.
All songs except “The Fox” written by Julie Amici, Dean Mueller, Alan Jones
Liner notes for Yellow Roses by Julie Amici – written by Rich Delgrosso
This is the long awaited debut recording of Julie Amici and Dean Mueller, a popular jazz/roots duo from Portland, OR. and it opens a door for them as they explore a new direction, creating music that crosses over into the americana/folk realm. They began their performing/songwriting collaboration in 2014, and since then they have received local acclaim, garnering nominations from the Cascade Blues Association for Best New Act and Best Traditional Act. They were also selected in June of 2017 to represent the CBA in the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.
Now, with the support and guidance of a long-time friend and mentor, Alan Jones, they have created what I believe is a collection of sonic paintings they describe as “a fresh take on a bygone era that is intimate, alluring, and hauntingly beautiful.” Each song is a stop on a journey of reminiscence; a trip back to Julie’s mid-western roots, waxing nostalgic for a simpler, more comfortable time spent under the “Lilac Tree.” “I was a just a child, and a child I remain”
The title song “Yellow Roses” is a soft memory dream where she recalls a time past when her grandmother planted a yellow rose tree that now blossoms as the singer has grown. It’s a beautiful connection to her family and to her roots. Another flower, “Blackeyed Susan”, is dark and mysterious; a joining of two lovers that does not end well. It is reminiscent of an old mountain ballad, with the haunting, rolling rhythm of Gavin Duffy’s banjo that places the music in it’s time.
“Lady of the Mountain- Song for Kathleen” paints yet another vision. This time one of the passing of a loved one whose spirit rises higher with each chorus. It slowly unfolds with Gavin’s delicate banjo arpeggios and Jenny Estrin’s flowing violin lines weaving in and out. The accompaniment behind the chorus builds to crescendo up to the sky until the end.
The ensemble kicks it up on a more modern country song, “Put Me Down,” that is Amici’s subtle rebuke of those who try to characterize and pigeonhole her music. Jones makes it dance on percussion, Alan Hagar adds a taste of the road house with his slide on electric guitar and Gavin’s mandolin rollicks like an old standup piano. “Someday soon you will see, lookout Nashville Tennessee.”
“The Fox” is the only cover in this collection, an english folk chestnut and It adds to the pastoral vision of this project, rooting it in the country, rural tradition. I like a recording project that is cohesive with a theme. Each song is a chapter in a life. The diverse mix of grooves and arrangements on this project spotlights their many facets, and should garner them cross-over appeal.
Having known these two for their growling the blues or emoting a seductive Nina Simone, or the heart ache of Patsy Cline, it is a treat to experience them now through these original pieces and this original theme. I am already looking forward to hearing the sequel as their journey continues.
Producer & Recording Engineer: Alan Jones
Executive producer & Assistant Producer: Dean Mueller
Recorded at Rain Cave Studio
Engineering & Mastering @ The Rye Room by Matt Greco
Site contributors: Ginger & Brigham Edwards @ North Fork 53
Photography: Trav Williams, Broken Banjo Photography
CD Design: Alexander Shaia