Upcoming Performances

  • Aug 25
    Monroe Farmers Market,  Monroe
     
  • Aug 26
    Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow Farmers Market,  Sleepy Hollow
     
 
If you don't like great music, don't buy this CD. This CD is the real deal, and I highly recommend it. It’s currently being worn out in my CD player and my friends' CD players. If you're a fan of "classic rock, neo-Folk" music, you should definitely have this CD, baby. (sorry) More importantly, if you're not a big fan of that genre, you should really give this CD a listen because, seriously, you’ll soon be a fan. The music on Jules and the Family screams honesty, sincerity, and frankness while at the same time impelling a really, really fun vibe. Make sense? No? Give it a listen. You’ll see what I mean.
I meet Julie for lunch at a small café down the street from my apartment. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that we’ve been friends for 6 years. That means that there’s a lot of small talk and gossip before the interview gets going. When it does get going, however, when I finally break out the paper and pen and prepare to take notes, I’m surprised. “You’re going into reporter mode!” she says. “I’m so shy!” Odd for a woman who voluntarily picks up a guitar and plays for a crowd full of people, often by herself, almost every weekend. One who has fronted her own band for the past 4 years. But maybe that’s just it. The guitar is like a security blanket and now, without it, she’s naked. Or maybe it’s just something to say because it’s odd to have a friend start grilling you about where you see your musical life going over the next six months. Jules first picked up that security blanket the summer before ninth grade. “I was looking to hang out with dudes with long hair,” she says. Then she confesses, “I also wanted to learn how to play [Extreme’s] ‘More Than Words’. I never learned it.” What she did learn was [Pink Floyd’s] ‘Comfortably Numb’ from Dennis Voyez, a Westchester local who was “playing guitar to pick up chicks. “ Jules recalls that he was a great musician with a passion for Metallica. “He knew them all.” Around 18, she started writing her own music. By the end of college, she had about 10 songs finished, but she didn’t know what to do with them. “I just thought you had to get a band to play out,” she says. There weren’t a lot of singer/songwriters out yet. She remembers Jewel and that’s it. Her brother played the local Westchester scene, but he always had a band. So she sat on her songs for a while until a trip to Greece in 2001 finally pushed her to get moving on them. THE BAND Jonathan “JL” Lloyd was a friend from Yorktown, where Jules grew up. “He’s been playing guitar longer than I’ve been alive,” she jokes. “He’s in his late 30s now, so he was listening to the songs I love as classic rock when they were just rock.” Jules and JL started working together. Soon JL brought in John Madden on drums and Marc Osborn on Bass. JL, John and Marc had all worked together before, as part of Liquid Boy 7, the Westchester band fronted by Jay Gisser, currently working on his solo career. “Jay kicked Johnny out of the band and Mark and JL quit over it 5 years ago,” Jules tells me. “Marc knows his music theory better than anybody else,” Jules tells me. “He has the most technical prowess.” He’s a studio musician and he’s starting to expand into digital music. Marc’s background is in Jazz piano and he wanted to learn bass, so he joined the band and picked it up. “He’s a talented musician,” Jules says. “I want him to come down to the city and start playing in those piano bars down here.” John Madden comes from a big musical Irish family. Growing up, Van Morrison showed up at their house for one Thanksgiving dinner. His sister, Joni founded "Cherish The Ladies", a Celtic band. “She’s an idol of mine,” Jules says. “You see her out there having fun, communicating with the audience … she’s a true entertainer. She’s fucking amazing.” John’s no slouch either. “He has the greatest ear for rhythm,” Jules says. “He wrote the greatest song any of us will ever hope to play.” She’s talking about “Dolores", a song on their first album. “Dolores” is the tale of an elderly woman whose family is preparing her to die. The song’s simple folk tune belies some of the haunting words of this tale. “I am a color too beautiful to look away,” Jules recites with a sigh. “I am flattered and honored that he would want Jules and the Family to play that song, that he would want us to put it on the album. Every time he wants to play it, I’m flattered. I don’t feel that I do that song justice. I feel nervous playing the song.” John’s other big project right now: He’s a new dad. James is about 5 weeks old now. “John was made to be a dad,” Jules says. “He comes from a big Irish party all the time.” The band is working on their second album right now and Jules says to expect changes from the band and from their sound. “The first album was more blue-sy, midtempo classic rock,” she says. “This second album will be more … neo-folk, I guess is the word for it.” The biggest changes have come in how that music is written. With the exception of “Dolores", Jules wrote all the songs on their first album. “We had to do that if we wanted to stay together. It’s hard because they’re not my babies any more. It’s teaching me humility.” She continues, “Marc comes up with chord changes I would never think of. He has that jazz background that I don’t have and I’m sure that’s coming through.” It’s all part of the compromise Jules is learning to be part of a band instead of a solo artist. “I’ve never been part of a successful group project in 12 years of grade school,” she says. Sure it’s easier to yell, but, “The finished project is going to be better than anything you can come up with yourself.” “It used to be my way or no way.” She laughs. “The guys will tell you that’s still true, but it’s not. You have to compromise or the band breaks up. It’s my first lesson in compromise … it just feels so good.” It definitely is her biggest challenge right now though, she says, letting go of that control. So where is Jules and the Family going? “To hell in a hand basket,” she exclaims gleefully. But seriously. “We want to get to the point where we’re an original band playing original music. No covers. We want to get to the point where people buy our CDs and come to see us for us, not just because we happen to be playing at the local bar that night.” They’re focused now on getting the second album out. Originally slated for a summer release, they’re looking more towards something within the next six months. And after that? “I would love to go on tour. Sell CDs out of the trunk, meet some cool people.” A tour would take them up and down the East Coast, most likely. Jules is also considering a return to the Netherlands and Belgium, where she toured as a solo artist back in April. “I would love to take the guys over there, play a few gigs.” “Shouldn’t you be asking me what’s in my CD player? Things like that?” she asks. So I do. “Paul Weller. He had 20 hits in Europe, never heard of them here. Elvis Costello. I fucking love that guy. I always thought he was dorky and I was into Aerosmith and guys I thought were cool. He is so rock and roll to me.” “Can I approach your obsession with Brian Setzer?” I ask. “I’m so jealous. He just got married to a girl named Julie and it’s not me.” What’s behind the obsession, though? “He’s such a great performer. I saw him at the Westbury Music Fair [in Long Island] and the fact that I could get so close [to the stage], I love that.” “Audience participation is a must for us,” Jules says. “The other weekend, we were playing a wedding and this little six-year-old boy is watching us set up. So I asked him what his name was. He’s like, ‘Joey.’ I said, ‘Joey, take this,’ and gave him a shaker. ‘And shake it when we play. Really shake it.’ Joey shook that thing for like 15 songs. And his mom came up afterwards and told me they tried everything, swimming lessons, soccer lessons, you name it to get Joey out of his shell. Now they’re going to buy him a guitar. It made my day.”

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