By Jimmy Preston
Web Content Contributor
*KTSW consists of and respects varying opinions within its staff. Opinion articles do not reflect the opinion of KTSW as a whole.
If music was currency, with Julie Nolen‘s new album, “Songs of Dignity and Grit” in my hand, I’d be rich. I could buy happiness, I’d buy the world a Coke, I’d cure malaria, I’d even buy Bernie Sanders the presidency. I guess what I’m saying is, this album is priceless. It’s packed with hits and a soulful energy that command you out of your chair and compel you to dance like everyone is watching.
If you missed the CD release party at the Saxon Pub on January 28th, it’s going to be OK. She’s playing there again on February 17th. What you did miss was and exemplification of the hard work that Julie has put into her craft, the band was tight, the set was true, and the fans were more like family. Fellow singer-songwriter and good friend, Mandy Rowden, took in the show, and was seen later at the merchandise table stealing a CD.
“’Songs of Dignity and Grit’ puts a spotlight on Julie’s writing and does it in damn fine fashion,” said Rowden, “Her producer, Dan Barrett, compliments her killer vocals to a tee.”
The album is a tribute to Nolen’s roots. The title track, “Dignity and Grit,” is dedicated to her grandparents (both sets,) and to the path they laid through their hard work as West-Texas cotton farmers. Work that hardened the hands of her grandfathers and an everlasting love from her grandmothers which helped the men endure the toil. The album is equally a tribute to hell raising. “Trouble Junkie” conjures up images of pulling off to the side of the road at a roadside carnival, crashing the gate with your “partner in crime,” hopping from ride to ride, diving in the fun house, winning the ring toss, stealing some cotton candy and dashing through the gates to peel off in a late model convertible, leaving the security guards in a cloud of dust.
When Nolen visited KTSW for an episode of 100 Proof Radio on February 2, she relived the process of producing the record. A successful crowd funding campaign garnered enough flow to get the album produced and pressed. The recording process was captained by Rubicon Studios producer, Daniel Barrett. Barrett’s masterful mix delivers Nolen’s, “Dignity and Grit” with grace and grunge.
Julie Nolen sings the songs your heart needs right now. In the politically correct world we live in, Nolen’s down to earth approach to not giving a sh** produces songs that awaken your soul. If you aren’t careful, she may even make a troublemaker out of you.