A Review of the Julie Felix CD
"Bright Shadows"

"Bright Shadows"
by Julie Felix

(Remarkable Records: RR900)

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 4/06

What was I doing in 1989? Was I in an alcoholic stupor or a marijuana haze? No, you'd need to go back a full 15 years more for that.

So I guess that it must have been WORLD EVENTS that took my attention that year: the San Francisco earthquake, and the POLITICAL earthquake that saw the Warsaw Pact countries pull themselves free from the mighty Soviet Union.

Whatever I was doing, the release that year (in cassette form only) of an album by Julie Felix called “Bright Shadows” clearly slipped by under my radar. My loss.

Now a full 17 years later, we see it re-released as a CD, with 4 bonus tracks. And this release invites the question: what took you so long Julie?

This CD is such an interesting affair. And let me explain to you why (and here, I am not sure that Julie will agree with me, but I know she wants honest reviews not slavering puff-jobs).

Look, all these songs are self-penned. And it is not hyperbolic to say that a couple of them are written in her own blood: that is to say that she on occasion bares her soul in this album. And these songs have decent melodies and the lyrics scan and use rhythm and rhyme. But that said, the truth is that if you are after Julie singing ACE songs, do not come looking here: there is no room at this inn for you.

I suggest you go instead to her release a year ago of “The Rainbow Collection”. But hey, do not wilfully misunderstand me: this “Bright Shadows” album is in its way every bit the equal of that one. It is just that it works on a whole different level.

This is a magic carpet ride that takes you after a brief stop for re-fuelling in Oslo (!) to the Greek island of Lesbos, and basically leaves you there for the duration. And if you allow the CD to work its magic on you and NOT look for (the absent) dazzling wordplay and unforgettable hooks, then you will come away rewarded.

I just lay back and listened to the waves of the Aegean Sea as they lulled me off to sleep. And with Julie's voice working on my unconscious, I soon started to dream.

Dream of Paddy Leigh Fermor and Lawrence Durrell. But pretty soon they were replaced by the late great Henry Miller (gosh! I guess he is not the pin-up boy of the modern day Sapphists on Lesbos) and his masterpiece “The Colossus of Maroussi”, as that book took over my dream time. And then Ms Felix's fine voice would wake me from my dreams.

And this happened on about 6 nights in succession. But do NOT conclude I was sleeping from lack of stimulation. Quite the contrary.

Whether it was the sound of the waves that did it, I know not. But as they top and tail every track, they are the likely suspect. For they make you so RELAXED.

Some 14 years or so ago, I used to tune into a satellite TV station that all night long (and I kid you not, I promise!) just beamed pictures of California beaches and the waves lapping in. There would be occasional joggers and people walking their dogs, but no conversation (on Venice Beach or Santa Monica Beach, or wherever), just the wonderfully soothing sound of the waves lapping the beaches. And I would sleep all night with that on my TV at the foot of the bed.

And then the station disappeared from the satellite schedules, and to be honest I have never slept as well since. But maybe this CD of Julie's will remedy matters. Ha!

No, let me be perfectly serious here. This is an album that if you surrender yourself to it, you will find it will work for you on two levels.

First the GEOGRAPHICAL/LITERARY one I have alluded to: I think here of matters Hellenic, and of my own visits to the Greek islands,

But secondly, if you open yourself to it, it will take you on a magic carpet ride on a route that takes in the following: (1) the need to be truthful to one another (especially to oneself!); (2) the need to tell people you love them (before it is too late because what we all do is jammed into a race between ourselves and the undertaker); and (3) talking of mortality, above all this journey Julie takes us on makes us realise that Life is a massive gift to us all, is very transient and is not to be abused (nor is this earth that Mother Nature gave us).

So if you will lie back and allow this album to work its spell on you, then I suggest you buy it.

And ensure you do NOT ask for your money back if it sends you to sleep: but rather thank Ms. Felix for putting you out, like the master-hypnotist she is.

Dai Woosnam

Grimsby, England

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