New Orleans-based singer/songwriter Julie Odell dives into her beautifully breathtaking debut album ‘Autumn Eve,’ an intimate record of personal growth and transformation embracing embraces the fullness and wonder of life.
Stream: “Cardinal Feather” – Julie Odell
An intimate record of personal growth and transformation, Julie Odell’s debut album is as beautifully breathtaking as it is utterly immersive: Charming, churning, and charged, Autumn Eve radiates with an inner and outer heat as the singer/songwriter embraces the fullness and wonder of life. From reckoning with tragedy and loss, to discovering motherhood and finding your balance through unprecedented change, Odell takes listeners on the ride of her life – literally – and leaves us inspired, exhilarated, and ready for the next adventure.
I never had a Cardinal feather until I told you
That I could breathe, then you walked with me
Straight to the mulberry
And then you painted my face with its purple
Reminded me of blood
That came straight from the forest
From which my soul was cut
I fell like the tallest timber
You were there to feel the truth
Although separated from my roots
I still grew close to you
Cause there’s so many different types of green
Already growing over me
Steadily glowing, showing its teeth
I can’t help but live intensely with every single breath
I’m so in love with life, I love with all my might
– “Cardinal Feather,” Julie Odell
Released September 30, 2022 via Frenchkiss Records, Autumn Eve has arrived just one week after the Autumn Equinox, and while this timing seems relevant, it’s really just a pleasant and unexpected coincidence of campaign timelines and label-driven marketing schedules.
“That’s the name of the gravel road I was temporarily living off of way out in the woods in an old cabin when I gave birth,” Odell says of her album’s title. “It was my most ultimate location of transformations and became the title of my birth story song, so it made sense to revolve everything else around the biggest moment in time of my life.”
Nonetheless, this record feels perfectly timed for the fall, where life’s fragility and cyclical nature are brought to the forefront through physical changes in our natural landscape that evoke emotional shifts within us all.
2022 has already been an exciting year for Julie Odell. A New Orleans based singer/songwriter, she has very quickly established herself as a thrilling musical force on the folk rock scene, with her recent singles “Caterpillar,” “Cardinal Feather,” and “Envelope” asserting her preeminent status amongst her peers and receiving universal acclaim amongst critics and fans alike. With music as dreamy and dramatic as it is edgy and raw – and burning with deep sentiment throughout – Odell is as much a storyteller as she is a weaver of vast, vivid landscapes of sound. Her first studio album puts these talents on full display through eight enchanting tracks, each of which proves a powerful world unto itself.
“The main thread is transformation,” Odell tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s a collection of lessons I’ve learned over the past decade through tragedy, simple sweet moments, near death experiences, becoming a mother, being uprooted by hurricanes, working on farms, etc. What I had in mind going into it was much smaller than what it became, honestly. I thought we’d just go in and slap the songs down for fun, but then it all the sudden got very serious and so much time was put into it which I wasn’t expecting. My band was so thoughtful when pushing dynamics and once we tapped into that we just kept pushing it until there was nowhere else to go. Once we had all the basic layers down it was just a playground for stacking vocals and adding sparkle wherever we wanted. A real full length, full sound record. Who’d a thunk it!”
“I feel like all my best qualities come out when I’m storytelling,” she adds. “It gives me so much satisfaction to tell one where people are hanging on every word and I can be animated and throw myself on the floor or roll around in the dirt and act like an idiot if it helps the storyline come across more clearly. I think this record ended up with that same in your face, intimate, wild ride, tangible feel that I lean on so much and I’m really happy it turned out that way.”
From the opening moments of “St. Fin Barre” and the rip-roaring drive and buoyant bounce of “Envelope,” to the smoldering upheaval of “Moments Later,” the controlled chaos and fervor of “Cardinal Feather,” and the gentle, delicate grace of “Space,” Autumn Eve truly captures and conveys a spirit of perseverance through tumult and staying power through pain.
I want to draw, I want to paint
Don’t wanna feel no pain, what I’ve lost I’ll gain
Wanna take a turn, show that I have learned
That I’ve always been wrong, but I won’t before long
Cause that’s the way that life goes right?
Ya can’t be wrong for your whole life
You can simply get stuck
In the darkness and muck
And you’re just shit out of luck
Could that possibly be the case?
Can you stop making the same mistakes?
Can you stop constantly being afraid, and be proud of the things you make?
Will the doubt cease to occupy the space?
Will your mind allow a positive embrace?
I do believe that could be the case.
– “Space,” Julie Odell
“I love the gentleness that “Caterpillar” has in the beginning, then unexpectedly explodes into a galloping sprint race, and back to gentle for the ending,” Odell says on the topic of favorites. “¬All the drastic dynamics woven throughout the record make me feel real good. The main highlight is that I got to make it with some of my favorite people on Earth: Jonathan Arceneaux on drums, Kenny Murphy on bass, Carolina Chauffe sang harmonies on a few songs, Chad Viator engineered and played lead guitar, Adam Keil engineered drums and bass. Just a solid group of smart, silly, sweetie weirdos.”
As for lyrical highlights, Odell has quite a few:
Taking your time like a diamond, trying to prove what you’ve been mining, inside empty vows on a folded, pricey receipt from your pocket. – “People Cheering”
Green rainwater, cold on my scalp, I’ll take the pure life, with my friends help, when I had fever, they spoon-fed me honey and said a prayer. – “St. Fin Barre”
Autumn Eve, Autumn eve, the Japanese Maple sheltered me, on the snowy morning I gave birth…the bat that flew above my head to get me up out of my bed, it’s time to go outside and see your breath. – “Autumn Eve”
I’m hidden in the garden, pickin’ a good bargain, the first one that I select, I will place it upon my palate, and even if you protest, I’ll chew it without regret, the truth is that you need it, I’m sorry you can’t taste it. – “Moments Later”
This is a record of reflection for pause and reconnection; these songs allowed Odell to step out and see her life from new perspectives, and they offer the same kind of space now to those who happen upon them.
“I hope it gives listeners a place to feel and let go of anger, to feel connected through zooming in on simple gestures of kindness, to feel brave for making it through various levels of sorrow, I hope they bop around and sway, I hope they see the imagery in the lyrics and let their imaginations run all over the place,” Odell shares. “I’ve really taken away a new appreciation for the amount of work it takes to make something like this and the level of community that forms around it. It’s a miracle that we can document these sound waves and share them across the world, across all borders, and I don’t take that for granted one bit. I’m so thrilled to share it and connect.”
Harvest your most honest words
Pick them when the season ripens red
And collect all the kindest lines
Spread them like a grapevine
And winter won’t last too long
Store a bounty of joyful song
And embrace every ember, they’re more valuable than gold
With all those layers of timber that wrap around your bones
You should know
Autumn eve, autumn eve, autumn eve, autumn eve
Autumn eve, autumn eve the Japanese maple sheltered me
On the snowy morning I gave birth
The bat that flew above my head to get me up out of my bed
It’s time to go outside and see your breath
And mother nature called on you to be a mother raise your baby right
Mother nature called on you to be a mother raise your baby right
– “Autumn Eve,” Julie Odell
Whether you’re a new mother like Odell, or simply a fan of the folk and folk rock genres, this album promises to light a bright fire within. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Julie Odell’s Autumn Eve with Atwood Magazine as she goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut album!
Stream: ‘Autumn Eve’ – Julie Odell
:: Inside Autumn Eve ::
St. Fin Barre
I found myself living in Ireland unexpectedly and completely fell in love with the country and the people. I was mesmerized by the multi layers of history around every corner and how music was being played in every pub by people of all ages. It just felt like coming home. And then I had it ripped out from underneath my feet out of nowhere and had to go back to the states. I was deeply in love on many levels and suddenly heartbroken for a land and people I had only known for a few months, and flying back to the states felt devastating. This song is just a hyper focused set of memories I have from my time there.
I received a letter in the mail checking in to see how I was doing, expressing love and friendship and I was inspired to write this song. It’s so nice to have such a simple, sweet, and genuine gesture show up in my mailbox. So I wanted to write a song that makes a huge deal about it.
I was gifted a branch of chrysalises from my dad who had a hobby of raising and protecting monarchs and gulf fritillaries. I watched them hatch and come back later to lay eggs on the milkweed and passion flower vines. My whole porch was a first hand witness arena for viewing an entire cycle of life. Birth, death, renewal, transformation within one body. I was a new mom and was able to completely relate to the process of transforming your body for an entirely different existence where you inevitably see things with new perspective and purpose.
I wrote this on the levee in New Orleans overlooking the Mississippi River. Staring into the current and thinking about the amount of life it’s given and taken and feeling the weight of that thought. I was also going through a strange situation with someone who was acting out in a blind rage of greed and felt afraid of them, but also felt pity for them. And then slowly saw that greed rip apart their life and their family and then they were gone. It almost felt like having an outer body experience and I watched everything unfold in slow motion.
I was traveling a lot. Not far, but far enough for me to see landscapes change just enough to feel far away I guess. I just wanted to grow my own food and learn about health through rest and finding peace in the dirt. I felt happiness in solitude and fought the urge to doubt my decisions while working on an apple farm in South Carolina. It helped me realize that one day after I put in enough work that I’ll have just enough to be happy and can live the quiet, calm, sweet life that I envision for myself and my family.
Cardinal Feather was born out of a panic attack. It’s about finding support in the dark times and finding the strength within to be gentle with yourself. It’s about accepting help when you need it and not being ashamed for needing it. It can be hard to feel seen when you can’t even really recognize yourself in moments of extreme anxiety and confusion. I’m thankful for the people who have stuck around after all the moments like this that I’ve had, along with so many others.
A simple stream of thought, a journal entry, about learning that mistakes are stepping stones and failure can be a gift.
This is my birth story. I had my baby in a massive blizzard while all the the power was out on January 22, 2016. Autumn Eve was the road I lived on in an old cabin in the woods on the cusp of a national forest.
The lyrics mention key moments leading up to her birth, reassurance in the isolating feelings and fears during pregnancy, and accepting the expectation that motherhood would be nothing I ever expected it to be. The responsibility of carving a steady, magical path for this new human is my main job in life now, and realizing the heaviness of that was scary, but finally holding her and being mesmerized by her tiny body and the power of my own body was incredible. And now we get to be enchanted by all the tiny details of the world together.
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? © Olivia Perillo
:: Stream Julie Odell ::