Busking in a park in Paris isn’t that unusual, but when you’re a young teenager and you’re ‘discovered’ there, it’s a different matter. Singer-songwriter Juliette Jules hails from that city, and being discovered led to her releasing an EP, titled “Black Crow” (released May 23rd, 2014) to mark her 16th birthday. Back in 2013 in the park, Peter Karroll was astonished by what he heard and went on to become her manager and producer.
Looking enigmatically from the cover, Juliette Jules leaves the five songs here to speak for her. No gimmicks. No tricks. When the music is this good, that’s all you need.
Juliette’s mother saw to her musical education by taking her to see the likes of Patti Smith and Leonard Cohen. She has also immersed herself in literature’s finest American and European novelists. With all this swirling in her receptive mind, she set out on her own path to be a poetic troubadour.
First up is “Johnny Was”. With tinkling piano and a husky voice, it’s a song that rolls over us, as we hear the sad tale of a vagrant. A story poem with hooks. Title track “Black Crow” is beautifully languid, with melancholy strings and piano. Displaying her vocal range, it drips with sadness and longing. Juliette never overeggs the pudding, as some singers are apt to do. She is note perfect, and this is just plain gorgeous. “The Game” is a strum-along tale of a love affair ending in tears and the sting of losing out to a rival.
“Hallelujah”, much covered, of course, over the years, is the non-original song here. Juliette delivers Leonard Cohen’s classic in her typical style. I prefer the song to speak for itself in a simple way rather than be “interpreted”, so Cohen and Buckley still do it for me the most. Finally, in “To The Mountains”, Juliette is seeking her way out of darkness, recognizing that life is light and shade, but is ultimately hopeful.
This young artist has exquisite phrasing – so much so, I’d love to hear her sing jazz. “Johnny Was” and “Black Crow” are the tracks that have nestled under my skin. I can’t wait to hear what this amazing young woman does next. If she can write songs as accomplished as these already, just imagine what years of experience will deliver.
LISTEN TO THE ALBUM HERE: