Julie Keough,
(self-produced, 2001)

Last summer, I attended a faculty concert at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, Md., a gathering of people for various traditions workshops -- music, art, craft and dance -- held every July. One of the performers was not a faculty member; she was a student whom I recognized from one of my classes. Julie Keough had a quiet, unassuming style and proceeded to sing in a voice that nearly knocked me out of my seat. I couldn't wait to get my hands on her CD Blue.

Keough has a remarkably pure voice capable of a broad range of expression. She sounds ethereal in the first track "Spin," blends fluting, delicate a cappella singing into a rich powerhouse voice in "Time Confession," projects a pop style in "She's 13 Still I Guess" and pure folk style in "In This World." The arrangements avoid artiness, although some of my favorite tracks are simply Keough's voice and her guitar. Her voice is the kind you experience through more than your sense of hearing; she has a voice that penetrates the emotions and evokes not only the songs' imagery but resonates in your own personal experience.

Most of the songs on Blue were written by Keough's producer Dave Kelly; she wrote "In This World." Keough makes the songs her own through the nuances of her vocal interpretation. Based on the artistry on Blue, one can only imagine how far she will go with her own compositions, and as far as I can tell, the sky's the limit.

If you're looking for a voice that will thrill you to the tips of your nerve endings, do what you have to and track down Blue. (Go to her website for more information.) Keough is part of the Village Ensemble at the 2002 Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, Md., but I have a strong feeling that her voice and name will be crossing state lines in the future. She's that good.

[ by Donna Scanlon ]
Rambles: 21 September 2002