The Southern historian Grady McWhinney, in his book "Cracker Culture, Celtic Ways in the Old South," goes to great lengths to describe the influence of this ancient culture on the American South of the past and present. Julee Glaub certainly could be another chapter supporting Professor McWhinney's thesis. A native of North Carolina, Julee fell in love with Celtic music and journeyed to Ireland, where she spent almost eight years collecting and learning the ballad tradition from the source. What is interesting to me as a follower of Julee's music is the profound influence her Southern origins have on her presentation and her singing, which brings a subtle but unique quality to her artistry. Julee's voice is unmistakable in a relatively vast arena of women's voices presenting similar material. Her singing can move the most veteran listener, bringing a new depth of feeling to the ballad tradition. I remember the first time I heard Julee perform. It was in an Irish gift shop on a rainy March afternoon. She began to sing a ballad, which started out in a predictable fashion, but her phrasing and ornamentation left me moved and eager for more. In writing notes for this her second album of ballads, I celebrate Julee's place in Irish song not as a native Irish singer, but rather, a Southern American with a rightful claim to interpret the music of the Celts who settled and influenced the mountains and valleys of her origin. One can hear the plaintive cry of the Rebel and the Lost Cause in her presentation of Irish modern day standards such as "Irish Ways and Irish Laws," and you'll want a drop of "white lightning" famed in the mountains of North Carolina after hearing "My Dear Irish Boy." This is not an Irish balladeer "wannabe" but an original talent with something new to say based on her won roots and culture. Listen to her and you will hear what I mean! (-Gene Hogan Bender, a voice from the audience)
Julee credits the combination of learning songs directly from traditional singers in Ireland over the years, material from the Irish Music Archives, and her experiences with the poor and working people of Dublin as her major inspirations. When Julee sings, the combination of the power that comes from having lived near the music's sources and her clear, sweet, but commanding voice stills audiences. In addition to a unique and lovely voice, Julee plays guitar, flute and bodhran in performances. (-Mardi Tuminaro, NYC Irish Arts Center)
Questions? Comments? Email Julee!