With the release of her 2014 full-length debut, Rooms With Walls and Windows, the currently New York-based singer/songwriter Julie Byrne received attention nationally for the sort of thoughtful and personal songwriting and lyricism that nodded at the work of Joni Mitchell and others. And although it has taken two years to write and record, Byrne’s highly-anticipated and soon-to-be released full-length sophomore effort Not Even Happiness will likely further her burgeoning reputation for thoughtful and personal songwriting, and in the case of the new album, the material draws from both the commonplace aspects of life and a series of recollections of her nomadic travels. Songs on the album talk about bustling roadside diners, staring at the stars over the desert, the wildflowers of the California coast, the mysteries and frustrations of love and so on. But interestingly enough, Byrne’s new album has her subtly expanding upon her sound, pairing unusual guitar tunings and fingerpicked melodies with additional, atmospheric instrumentation and electronics; in fact, as you’ll hear on the hauntingly beautiful and hushed single “I Live Now As a Singer,” the material can nod more towards the hushed and dramatic electro pop of Majical Cloudz as Byrne’s gorgeous and tender vocals are paired with undulating and atmospheric electronics. “Follow My Voice” pairs gently fingerpicked guitar, gently atmospheric electronics and strings with Byrne’s haunting vocals. I may not frequently write about traditional singer/songwriters here; but by far Bryne is a beguiling and lovely presence, who possesses an uncanny ability to write songs that have a gentle and thoughtful heart.
You can catch Byrne live as she’ll be performing two of what I hope will be more live sets. Check out tour dates below.