A Review of the CD
"Self Portrait #94"
by Julie Loyd

"Self Portrait #94"
by Julie Loyd

Copyright 2000
Siren Records LLC SR-001
P.O. Box #9
Peck Slip Station
New York, NY 10272-0009
http://www.julieloyd.com and

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/00
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Take a smidgen of early Joni Mitchell. Add some flashes of Dar Williams. Combine both with a heavy sprinkling of Ani DiFranco. What do you have? Julie Loyd, recognizably a talent all herself, offering interesting and very intriguingly presented material. This edgy, young singer-songwriter is arguably oblique in her lyrics, not necessarily connecting all the dots for the listener. But she paints powerful and gutsy literate canvases, full of strength, independence, anger, fierceness, connection, wholeness and doubt.

Primarily employing a percussive guitar technique, Loyd is not a maker of sweet musical melodies. She sets her thoughts, feelings and observations to musical settings that coalesce well with the material. But hers is a more poetic approach, full of stops and starts. These are not campfire tunes, either in content or delivery.

Opening with the touching "hopscotch," Loyd juxtaposes loss of self with the supposed lures and promises brought on by becoming older. She sings:

"Three girls sat on benches
as I watched them forget
how to hopscotch
gradually how to laugh
and how to breathe
I heard one girl say
I feel my childhood slipping away..."
The chorus goes:
"...you don't just lose your innocence once
but you don't have to let it go
you may not find your memories
waiting for you
when you finally return home..."
The powerful "god is" is a redefinition of spirituality, with a nice, almost wicked twist. Loyd sings:
"...but I have seen God
in the eyes of a woman
I have seen the boy on the hill
make Jill cry
and I keep thinking
if I could stand
other than on my own
I would
I would try
to push the boy with the pail
off his hill
and lean into Jill
see if something so straight
could bend
see if two crooked girls
could surrender
to gravity
some kind of truth within-
the only God there has ever been..."
The first six lines of "hope to dream" are so delicately crafted and sadly moving. Loyd sings:
"My mother once told me I had beautiful eyes
I remember thinking they were hers
and every night I close my eyes
and hope to dream about her
but if I dream, I dream of being tired
and if I dream, I dream of being undesired..."
Taking a slam at the soul-robbing dark side of the need for and production of media-created fantasies in "have it all," Loyd pulls no punches with:
"...She's only sixteen and the somebodies want her
she's only sixteen but she's got that great ass
they want her blonde hair
they want her youth and her voice
they want her innocence
and they'll have it all..."
She continues on with the female in question stating:
"...I'm just waiting for the day my words become my own
and I know someone will want to buy them from me one by one
and I'll have to pay every time I listen to them play my song..."
"not to say goodbye" uncannily depicts the fallout of a relationship. Loyd sings"
"Daddy always said
keep a quarter in your right shoe
the telephone wires can lead you home
at some point the price rose
to go home
at some point my sense of home shifted
I never quite mastered the craft of closure
a message from the city's all I can give you
I'm sorry not to say goodbye...

but my thoughts and your voice take up
even more room
than these four walls can handle
so leave
through the window
I've left it open for you
now you can't pretend that this leaving is easy
'cause I'm eight stories up
and this love
doesn't have wings anymore..."

This is a woman, her words and her guitar. The perspective she provides from her 19-year-old female vantage point shows remarkable depth. She is very briefly backed on a few of the tunes by Mark Dennison on cello, Jay Punyanitya on guitar and Lara Hamilton on flute.

Track List:

All songs written by Julie Loyd.

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