A review for The Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Karen Robinson
Julie Hoest hits the spot for a reality splash of folk music. Her voice is melodic, a blend of the young Joan Baez with the warmth of an older Nanci Griffith. A stellar guitarist as well as a lovely vocalist, her songs are introspective and uplifting.
AT DAYBREAK opens with "If It's Not You," an uptempo delight about surviving a failed relationship without regrets. Fond memories are found having *dinner for two at the* "Spanish Cafe." "Suzanne" pays homage to Hoest's sister. "Revival" seeks emotional stability, and gives the first real exposure to Ms. Hoest's innovative guitar. "Solid by the Wayside" is the saga of the woman loved but never married. A change of pace follows with a little swing on "This One's For You," an upbeat look at love lost without remorse.
"William is Well" is an impressive instrumental that beautifully showcases Ms. Hoest's finger picking talents. "Brothers and Sisters" looks back on a carefree childhood followed by "Uncover Me" a look at the vulnerability experienced as an adult. "Diamonds on the Evergreens" is a gem. An energetic guitar and lilting vocals give a soft look to the difficulties of working it out day after day. The "Long Road Ahead" gives the impression that, if not on life's highway at least on her own road, the artist hopes for a minimum of potholes for the remaining drive.
Solid instruments and soothing harmonies accompany this down to earth collection of songs. The reality based lyrics are sung with ease and settle comfortably on the ear and mind. AT DAYBREAK is a pleasurable listen rather than a challenge to understand.
Just as each listening improves your appreciation with a Baez or Griffith CD, Julie Hoest is an artist and songstress who will undoubtedly influence the movement for returning to roots acoustic music in the folk venues. AT DAYBREAK is hopefully only the beginning of her journey.