Julie Larson Wakening

On her second release for Artmuse, Larson changes up the tempo, evolving from a mellow coffeehouse folkie, which characterised her last release, to a romp’n’ roll queen. Think Joan Baez meets Ani DiFranco. The West Coast songwriter has been a staple of the San Francisco Bay area local music scene for more than 12 years. Wakening finds Larson and her five-piece band (which includes former Huey Lewis & the News guitarist Tal Morris) brandishing a classic rock sound through ten turbo-charged tracks that are clearly rooted in the ’70s with their atmospheric vibe. Even the disc’s artwork echoes the Summer of Love with its choice of tie-dyed colours. The astute songwriter writes honest lyrics that appeal to a universal audience and resonate with current affairs. Songs that are personal, but also possess a political edge include "Killer Go Home,” and "No Long Be My Enemy.” Larson’s energetic flute playing adds to the songs’ fullness and classic rock sensibilities by layering on an extra element to the band’s sound that reminds one of Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson. Overall, Wakening is a reinvention of a talented songwriter who is exploring new musical territory, and taking the listener along for this revealing ride. (Artmuse)